Manufacturers are pushing the envelope to smarten up our products—whether those products need to be smart or not. Just because we can connect things to the Internet doesn’t mean we should. After visiting CES, it taught me that I don’t enjoy shouting at my appliances by a first name: “Alexa, brew my coffee,” “Alexa, buy me detergent,” “Alexa, bake the salmon.” It makes me feel like a lazy overlord—and I’m still not convinced of its wider usefulness. All the same, CES featured just that, and tons of other Alexa-powered products.
Over 3 million men and women work in America’s repair and maintenance industry. Maybe I don’t have a lot of faith in politics, but I think those 3 million people have more tangible impact on our lives than the squabbling politicians in Washington. And yet, a copyright law written by Washington insiders nearly two decades ago is threatening the livelihoods of those 3 million people.
This week marks a decade since Steve Jobs walked onto a MacWorld stage and announced Apple’s newest product: the iPhone. What a presentation it was—the iPhone was a game changer. While Apple can’t take sole credit for the invention of the smartphone, modern phones owe a ton to that first little device.
On a crisp Ohio morning in late November, Michael Oberdick climbed into his car and settled in for a long ride. A very long ride. Over the next 12 days, Michael would cross 13 states and drive 2,000-plus miles through the American Midwest. But this wasn’t your typical road trip. Instead of stopping to see the sights, Michael stopped to see repair shops. His goal: meet as many people in the electronics repair community as possible.
Every year, we disassemble a lot of new phones at iFixit. In 2016, we took apart everything from the iPhone 7 to the (now recalled) Note7. After every teardown, we assign the phones a repairability score based on ease-of-disassembly. Check out how a few of this year’s more notable phones did on our teardown table.
Apple AirPods are finally here. Eager to see what’s inside, we ripped them open like expectant children on Christmas morning. The inside is a series of little boards and interconnected by origami-folded ribbon cables, soldered together into one hot mess. And the charging case isn’t any better. All in all, accessing any component—including the batteries in the case and in the ‘Pods—is impossible without total destruction.
This year, iFixit did teardowns of a lot of virtual reality headsets (and accessories). So, how’d the Oculus Rift CV1, the PSVR, and the HTC Vive stack up against each other? Check out our VR year-end review—and decide for yourself who made the best VR headset of 2016.
It was just after midnight when the fire alarms at San Luis Obispo High School started going off. The school’s computer lab was engulfed in flames. Firefighters smothered the flames, but everything in the lab was destroyed. Amid the wreckage of melted computers and scorched chairs, a half dozen robots lie cremated. The robotics team had been working on them for months. All of it—up in smoke.
I’ve collected a lot of clothes over the years, but I don’t wear them all. Recently, I dug the un-wearables out of my closet and decided to take action. But what to do with all of them? Turns out, there’s plenty you can do with your old clothes—from repair to upcycling to recycling. In the spirit of making things last, here’s a handy how-to on keeping your clothes out of the trash.
Making clothes that look good is easy. Making clothes that are durable, eco-friendly, socially responsible, and still look good … now, that’s hard. But it’s also worth it. Just ask Vaude. The German outdoor apparel outfitter is trying to remake the way we make and repair clothes. And we’re partnering with Vaude to help them do it.
When the Oculus Rift shipped way back in March, it was missing something the competition already had: VR controllers. Well, they’re missing no more—the Oculus Touch controllers are finally here, and we got our grubby paws all over them. Be sure to check out the teardown!