For a while now I've been in communication with Brett Mosley, the guy who started "BuyMyTronics.com." Brett's a huge EcoGeek...he basically buys broken electronics, fixes them, and then sells them on EBay. It's like recycling, but way better, because the gadgets get to keep living. He's recently expanded his business to cover iPhones, Zunes, and gaming systems, and is about to expand even further into cell phones and laptops.
But Brett is upset, and that makes me upset. Apparently, the sixth generation iPods and the current iPod Nano have been designed to be 100% unfixable. According to Brett,
The new generations of iPods and the iPhone are not designed to be opened. Because the Nano, iPhone and generation 6 "Classic" bodies are metal to metal the body gets completely trashed upon opening. In the Nanos and Shuffles, parts are actually soldered together, eliminating the possiblility of simple repair. So, for me, it will be harder to fix these, increasing repair costs and diminishing their resale value after they have been repaired.
All of this kinda flies in the face of Apple's new green image. So I thought maybe they were just trying to get people to send them back to Apple for proprietary repairs. I asked Brett if Apple maybe had special tools that allowed the to repair these metal-to-metal devices:
Besides charging you hundreds to fix it (which makes it more economical for most to just get a new one) they probably have to give it a whole new body whenever they open one. I don’t know how they could make a repair without trashing the body.
Kinda the opposite of green there. We need to hear more from Apple, obviously, but it's hard to imagine, in the midst of their "green-up" why Apple would switch to bodies that are impossible to open for repairs. Brett's answer: "Looks...Pure Looks." And as Apple has always been known, and commended, for its design, this doesn't seem too hard to accept. He also surmises that they might be trying to discourage the market in repairs and mods that fuel his and many other businesses.
But it comes down to the fact that, when choosing between extending the life of their gadgets and making things look pretty, Apple is landing on the side of pretty.
Making these models more difficult to repair is invariably un-green in the long run. By reducing their future re-use, value and lifespan, Apple is basically saying, "These gadgets are no use after two years, so send them back to us for recycling, and buy a new one."
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