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Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:22 PM

Apple's new 'Assembled in USA' iMac a bear to upgrade, repair

Apple's 21.5-inch iMac, which went on sale in the US last Friday, has revealed two of its secrets: first, that it's a collosal pain to get inside should you want to upgrade its RAM or its hard drives; and second, that at least some of the units currently on store shelves are labeled as being "Assembled in USA".

The new iMac – the smaller of the two über-skinny models announced along with the iPad mini and other Cupertinian kit on October 23 – has been duly torn apart by the tools 'n' parts 'n' repair-advice folks at iFixit. Not only did they discover how frustratingly difficult it is to upgrade, but they also noticed that on its back it proudly proclaims that it was assembled in the good ol' US of A.

iFixit was not alone in its discovery. The same provenance was reported by Fortune. It should also be noted that the same "Assembled in USA" notification has been mentioned in Apple's discussion forums as appearing, for example, on a Mac mini in 2006, a Mac Pro in 2007, and an iMac in 2011.

...
"Assembled in USA" or not, Apple's latest all-in-one-desktop is certainly not designed to be disassembled in USA – or anywhere else, for that matter – except by one of Apple's own repair techs.

As iFixit sums up the latest iMac, "Hackers, tinkerers, and repairers be forewarned: get last year's model if you'd like to alter your machine in any way."

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/12/03/apple_21_point_5_inch_imac_teardown/

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:56 PM

1. I can't change the battery on my new MacBook

big freaking deal

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Response to dlwickham (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:42 AM

5. ...until it dies. You know Li-ion batteries run about three years, right?

It's no problem, I suppose, if you don't mind upgrading regularly, but it's ridiculous not to have a replaceable battery on a laptop. And before you call me a fanboy, our family has all iPhones, two iPads and a Mac mini. We also have windows machines. Each has their advantages.

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Response to kysrsoze (Reply #5)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:34 PM

14. my last Macbook was about 5 years old before I changed the battery

then the computer decided to start sucking the life out of the battery; the battery would last roughly 1 and a half to maybe 2 hours on a full charge

I put it out of its misery and bought my new one

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:56 PM

2. Most all in one computers are a pain to take apart

It's one of the reasons I don't own one. I like being able to make my own changes to my computers.

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Response to mythology (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 05:43 AM

8. I took the backs off of two different new HP All-In-One models last week

They were both a snap, with only two screws to remove on one model and five on the other. Everything inside was easily accessible as well. It was quite surprising after what I've been through with other models just to get access for hardware test purposes.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:00 AM

3. Most people can't change the battery in their key fob

So methinks this is a non-issue- 98 % of population----

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:24 AM

4. It's unfortunate, but this is the direction the industry is headed.

It's not just Apple iMacs. Tablet designs in general, the MS Surface, Ultrabooks, the Air...they're all doing it. The computer industry is transitioning computers from old-school upgradeable and repairable tech into devices that you just throw away and replace when they break, like your TV or cellphone.

The era of the user-repairable computer is coming to an end. Perhaps you haven't heard, but Intel has announced that there will be no LGA package for their upcoming Broadwell processor. Want to upgrade your CPU? You'll need to buy a whole new motherboard, because from here on out processors will only be available if they're soldered to the motherboard (barring a magical revival at AMD, which is itself teetering on the edge of bankruptcy). Since most mobos already come with sound and video onboard, we've finally reached the point where most computers will simply be a "board in a box". Sure, you can still swap your hard drive, and you can play with your RAM, but virtually all of the "tinkering" is gone. You'll pick a case, choose a single board to go in it, and you'll have a functional computer.

For those of us who remember the old days of juggling jumpers to set IRQ's and DMA's to get everything to cohabitate nicely, or (gasp) plugging DIPPS directly into our motherboard sockets whenever we wanted to add another few dozen K of ram, this is just the culmination of a 20+ year transformation of computers from "magical machines" that could only be built by skilled technicians into generic one-board boxes that are structurally no different than the $10 throwaway radios you can buy at Walmart (albeit with slightly more expensive board components).

The era of "hackers, tinkerers, and repairers" is over.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:54 AM

6. It's becoming the era of people who can't do anything for themselves...

and they bask in their ignorance while accepting high maintenance costs and planned obsolescence. I'm still part Luddite, and made my 10-year old, twice-upgraded P4 tower into a hard-wired media server and backup drive host, and set it up to have the Mac log into it to control it.

At least with this new Intel chip, you can still upgrade the drive and RAM. Whenever I've upgraded, i have typically typically ended up buying a new MOBO anyway - not a big issue, IMO. I hate being locked into an appliance though, which is why we opted for a Mac Mini over a new iMac this time around, because you can easily upgrade the HD and the RAM. We'll likely continue to buy Windows laptops, as they all play together with Macs and I think Macbooks are a complete ripoff.

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Response to kysrsoze (Reply #6)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 06:32 AM

9. +1. why is it "so what?" when you can't even change the battery on something you

 

supposedly own?

we *know* things don't have to be designed that way -- they're designed that way to force people to spend more money and waste more resources.

planned obsolescence redux.

which is one way you can tell that these people either don't believe in or don't care about climate change, the environment, or much else but cash.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:48 AM

7. There will still be LGA options.

Just more limited. Intel's Haswell processors will still be LGA, and will be just as fast if not faster than the Broadwell line.

Better for Intel's bottom line as they now can pass on costs to motherboard manufacturers and worse for consumers. Notwithstanding though, there will still be an LGA option available. So all's not lost for those of us who like to build our own computers from the ground up.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 09:49 AM

10. Personal computing has recapitulated the evolution of consumer electronics

Once upon a time audio systems consisted of separate turntables, tape decks, tuners, preamps, power amps, speakers, etc., each of which might have been hand-built by the consumer from a kit. Only at the very high end of the audo market can you still get individual components.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 10:13 AM

12. They learned from car manufacturers.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 09:54 AM

11. If you are buying a computer so you can customize it, that's probably not the machine for you

I'm not sure I understand the outrage, but far be it from me to stand in the way of a good outrage.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 10:18 AM

13. How many mac users try and modify their already exceptional equipment??? Sour grapes much.

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