The flathead is unapologetically utilitarian. Which makes sense, because of all the drivers, it’s apparently the oldest—dating back to the Middle Ages. It’s gone by many names over the years: the standard, the common blade, the flat-blade, the slot-head, the straight, the flat-tip, and, of course, the “flat-head.” Learn more about the history of bits on our blog!
As fixers, we pride ourselves on teaching consumers how to make their tech last as long as possible. But recently, we had the chance to do something a little different. Two of us teardown engineers headed to MD&M West in Anaheim, the “World’s Largest Annual Medtech Event,” to talk about manufacturing with real-life manufacturers.
If you’ve read Lance Ulanoff’s new Mashable article about Right to Repair, you know one thing for sure: Ulanoff thinks you’re too stupid to fix your own phone. Ulanoff argues that ordinary people (and third-party shops) shouldn’t be allowed to attempt consumer electronics repair. He thinks it’s possibly dangerous, and definitely too difficult to be practical. “Right-to-Repair? What a ridiculous thing to say,” Ulanoff scoffs. The only ridiculous thing here is Ulanoff’s argument.
The dominos keep tumbling. Last week, two more states—Illinois and Tennessee—introduced Right to Repair legislation, bringing the total number of states considering pro-repair laws this year to eight (up from three last year). But don’t break out the victory dance; it’s gonna be a bumpy ride from bill to law. According to Motherboard, Apple is gearing up to oppose the legislation in at least one state.
If you too love repair, we’d like to celebrate it with you this Valentine’s Day. We’re gonna give you a chance to snag up to $100 in iFixit Store credit so you can treat yourself to something you love and maybe even fix something for your valentine! Enter for a chance to win by snapping a photo of your repair and then tagging your posts with the hashtag #iFixitLovesRepair between now and February 28th.
2017 could be a very good year for repair. More US states than ever are proposing Right to Repair legislation this year. So far, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Nebraska, Kansas, and Wyoming have all introduced versions of the pro-repair bill in their legislatures—and more states could follow suit. If passed, the laws would make it easier for consumers and independently-owned repair shops to fix far more products.
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.