Is it legal?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Rsrchr123, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. Rsrchr123 macrumors regular

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    #1
    I was very disappointed to see the news report today that Apple has been changing the screws on the iPhone 4 when it is brought into service. Even as I type this, I still can't believe they are doing that. I'm sure there are plenty of folks on here who will support it but my point is to not start a war of words.

    Rather, I'd like to know, is it legal for them to do that? How can a company make a permanent modification to something that you own without your permission? I mean I just can't believe the nerve to do something like that.

    They had two people on CNBC this afternoon discussing it - one opposed to the change, the other in favor of it. The girl in favor of it was from CNET (surprise) and framed the move in the context of preventing people from getting hurt by changing their batteries, which she claimed can later explode.
    Yet I had my car battery changed 3 years ago. When my car was returned to me, the hood was not welded shut.

    To me, this is Apple taking their desire to "parent" us to the nth degree. I have two parents, fortunately, and I do not desire Steve to be a surrogate. I hope someone challenges the legality of this because I don't see how it can pass muster. I'll say this in conclusion: I mused aloud a few years ago, in jest, that I wondered if Apple would ever require users to bring their machines in for regular servicing. While I still think this is unlikely, they are taking other scary steps. And, it's all about money and control. Outside of my iPhone 3G, I will not be ceding any more of my money and control to Apple.
     
  2. Apple OC macrumors 68040

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    #2
    totally legal ... if it was not ... Apple would not be doing it.
     
  3. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    It's legal, but it's sneaky. I would get mad and ask for a replacement. My device, my screws.
     
  4. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    How is it legal?

    You own the iphone hardware.....which means you own the screws

    Taking the screws without your permission and replacing them is akin to taking my car for an oil change to find out they changed my tires without my consent in addition for no reason but to ensure any removal of said tires will only be able to be done by them

    Just because they are doing it, does not make it legal
     
  5. saving107 macrumors 603

    saving107

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    #5
  6. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    No, that is not the same. They are swapping both phillips and torx heads for a new design where tools aren't readily availiable....unlike torx/phillips drivers you can buy anywhere
     
  7. saving107 macrumors 603

    saving107

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    #7
    From the posted link above:

    http://www.9to5mac.com/36308/serviced-iphone-4-units-get-torx-screws-why
     
  8. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    I wonder about the legality of it, I mean you own the device, they are repairing it under warranty, its not as though the new screws improve the device for you, rather they secure it for Apple. If I own something, I ought to have the right to do whatever I want with it and that should include dissembling it if I want to. Also, if I take something in for warranty repair, it should come back to me the same or repaired, the replacing of the screws is altering the condition of how it was brought in and if that doesn't improve the condition, I don't see how they can legally get away with it. I would be like getting a car from a dealer and one day after you take in for repairs there is a lock on the hood that only the dealer can open, so you have to take it back to the dealer for repairs, yet you own the car and should be able to take it to whomever you want for repairs or work on it yourself.

    I don't think they should be allowed to do it and certainly not without the customer's consent or prior knowledge.
     
  9. scaredpoet, Jan 21, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011

    scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    Yes, it is highly doubtful that the action of typing would be likely to change one's opinion in and of itself.

    For starters, the modification isn't permanent. In fact, iFixit is already selling a kit with a screwdriver that is a close (but not quite perfect) match with the new screws, and a set of the original type screws to replace them with.

    Apple is relying on security by obscurity, but this is short-lived. The screws are industry standard, it's just a standard so new that for the time buying, the screwdrivers are hard to come by.

    And yes, it's legal.


    In all fairness, neither is your iPhone.

    You're welcome to that opinion. However, you kinda already know this going into the situation. If you open up your iPhone, new screws or not, your warranty is voided. It's another in a long list of products, some made by Apple, but many not, that share a common warning: "No user-serviceable parts inside."

    Fortunately for you, there's Android. And plenty of other vendors who I'm sure are equally unhappy about the idea of users taking apart their phones.

    It's evident you're not a lawyer. The challenge you seek is unlikely because chances are, someone challenging this will lose, and waste a lot of money in the process.


    You mean like how cars that aren't welded shut require regular maintenance?

    Unlikely that Apple would ever do this. On the scale of consumer electronics, anything that requires periodic service is more trouble than it's worth, both for the potential user and the vendor.
     
  10. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

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    Wow, so I have to buy one kind of $10 screwdriver instead of some other kind of $10 screwdriver.

    Someone call the police!
     
  11. Apple OC macrumors 68040

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    My guess is they would successfully defend all lawsuits over new screws ...

    something along the lines of ... sorry these are the new screws we now use as these phones were never meant to be opened.

    Not enough for Apple to issue a recall ... but certainly within their right to install the new screws on any phone that comes across their service desk. :cool:
     
  12. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    Actually, it would be more akin to taking your car in for an oil change, and the mechanic changing the oil drain plug for a different type. Or, replacing the metal one with a rubber one. Or, when a mechanic changes out your oil filter or brake pads or other components and fails to return the used parts to you. It happens all the time. And it's perfectly legal, even if the new parts require a special socket or tool that you might not have at home. The only real difference is that most car owners don't even know what happened, because they never do their own maintenance, and don't even know what an oil drain plug or filter is, let alone have they bothered to see what's changed about them.


    Or, consider the automatic transmission on most modern vehicles, in which the manual states that the transmission fluid is part of a "closed system" and the level is not to be checked by the user. There's a procedure of checking the level, but it's only provided to dealership mechanics who have the tools to check it.

    Using cars as a metaphor for this is a really bad idea, considering it's the auto industry that pioneered these techniques way before Apple thought of using them.

    And again, yes, the practices are entirely legal.
     
  13. pintnight macrumors 6502

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    #13
  14. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

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    Scaredpoet, how do you know the practices are legal? Has anyone ever challenged them? What law applies to what Apple is doing?
     
  15. alangrehan macrumors regular

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    #16
    It's just a screw....

    If you want an iPhone repaired you shouldn't be doing it yourself.... you should be getting Apple or an Apple certified repairer to do it...

    The screws will be no problem for someone who is qualified to repair an iPhone...

    I can't access certain parts in the engine compartment of my car... does it bother me... no because if it breaks and I want it repaired 'properly' the person repairing it will be able to gain access.
     
  16. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    #17
    By your reasoning, your reading this very post isn't legal, because the courts haven't PROVEN it to be legal. No one has challenged the legality of you reading it.

    Fortunately, our legal system doesn't work that way. No law applies to what Apple is doing, nor have any laws been passed that prohibit it. That's what makes it legal.
     
  17. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    So by your logic, the simple fact that there is no law prohibiting them from doing it, and thus they do it and get away with it, makes it legal?

    I seriously hope someone challenges this then.
     
  18. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    #19
    Exactly, and there will be plenty of sites offering the special screwdriver for iPhone screws.

    This is much to do about nothing.
     
  19. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    #20
    I believe that's what I said. And it's not just my logic. That's how it works.

    I still don't think you get it, but, whatever. :rolleyes:
     
  20. nosser macrumors regular

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    #21
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    What's the big deal about buying a $10 screwdriver lol. If you feel it's such a big deal don't let apple service your phone. How many people are complaining just to complain versus how many people actually need to open their own phone? If you're buying replacement backs then obviously just buy the $10 tool. This is such a small thing to worry about.
     
  21. Rsrchr123 thread starter macrumors regular

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    There are no real damages here - I get that. At best, a court could issue injunctive relief. That is to say, they could bar Apple from doing this from the date of the injunction forward.

    I'm not a lawyer (thankfully). I would think something like that could be successful. Apple goofed by not putting in those screws from the beginning. No problem if they did that. Doing it after the fact is problematic.

    This whole thing is about money. It's not enough for them to sell us products that we willingly pay a premium for. I consider the profits they get from the required maintenance to be ill-gotten. We can go on with stupid analogies all day, and most of the ones I've heard don't make sense, but it's like this to me: If I buy a new car X, for example, it's covered under the usual 3 year/36K warranty (unless that has changed recently). In most cases, if I had a problem within that time frame, I'd take it to a X dealership because it would be covered. But what if my battery died and X dealership's price to replace it was say 10% more than a battery I could get at AutoZone. I'm within my rights as the owner of that car to replace the battery as long as I feel comfortable doing it. Yet if I took the car in for a new alternator, and unbeknownst to me a new policy is in effect at X that they install a cover over all the batteries that can only be removed by an authorized X dealer, the public would be in an uproar. People would rightfully question what happens when you need emergency roadside service, for instance.

    Yet when Apple does something like this, people just say "oh, that's okay."

    Oh and FYI...the girl from CNET said she's had to get her Macbook battery replaced several times. Yet when I was in the Apple store looking at their laptops right after they sealed in the battery, they said one of the reasons why it didn't matter they were sealed in was due to the fact that you wouldn't need to replace them because they last so long. It's not just one case here. Batteries come and go, some last longer than others, but to my original point, it's all about money and extending the revenue stream.
     
  22. Rsrchr123 thread starter macrumors regular

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    I'll add this too: I heard a guy from a major PC manufacturer once say that in his opinion, the only reason why Gates made more money and had more success was that his systems were open. Apple claims to be in favor of open standards when they support HTML5 over Flash. We can debate all day whether Android will supplant iPhone but most analyst opinions are that Google is posing some sort of challenge to Apple. It makes me wonder if they haven't learned from the past and if history is due to repeat itself.
     
  23. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

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    #24
    How in the world would this be illegal? All Apple has done is replace the screws with screws that have a slightly different head. That's not a big enough change to warrant it being illegal.

    If they were replacing the processor with a slower one, then yeah, it would probably break some kind of law. But the screw head is a tiny, minor change that no court in any country would even hear the case. :rolleyes:
     
  24. seajay96 macrumors 6502

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    #25
    seriously people? this is what gets you up in arms?

    Show me a law that requires a servicing company to put the exact screws back in. In fact, show me a law that restricts a company to just phillips or torx screws...

    AFAIK, this is a design change in all of the iPhones, so Apple is simply complying with their own design specs.

    It's not going to prevent anyone from opening their iPhone. It might delay it a little, but anyone who really wants to open up their phone will figure it out.
     

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