Is repairability a swing factor for you when you shop for gadgets?

Is repairability a swing factor for you when you shop for gadgets?
iFixit’s latest teardown of the iPad revealed an unconvenient truth for Apple and its design. It’s nothing new - the iPhone and the iPad suck at repairability. From the simple action of changing the dead battery to more complicated manipulations like replacing a shattered display, the iPad is probably the worst gadget to break. It’s your cash spent for a fragile, but what’s more important - hard to repair product.

This prompted repair masters from iFixit to act - the new iPad and iPad 2 got repairability scores of only 2. That’s the lowest repairability score and it means that basically all repair work on the iPad is so complicated, that even Apple would simply replace your old iPad with a new one if say there’s something wrong with the battery. iFixit rightly blamed Apple that it could have done a better job. Even if that means sacrificing a point of an inch to make an easier to repair though a hair thicker. 

Shortsighted Apple apologists cried foul, arguing that Cupertino is doing this as an intentional genius marketing trick forcing users to upgrade every two years. Which of course could be true  from a corporate stand point - the OG iPhone was probably among the first smartphones with a non-replaceable user battery. But the implications of having such disposable gadgets are terrible for the user who doesn’t need to upgrade in 2 years. They are also terrible because of the long-term effects for people in developing countries which strongly rely on used gadgets.

If you can’t easily replace the battery or change the screen on an iDevice that means that it has a very short lifespan equal to that of its battery. For the iPhone that’s 500 cycles and for the iPad - 1,000. This means that active users will get 3 to 4 years life of their iPad, after which the gadget has to go to the junkyard. At the same time, you can easily see 10 year old and older devices flood underdeveloped countries and giving them access to the wonders of technology, even though with a huge delay.

We strongly recommend you check out iFixit’s brilliant defence of the importance of repairability in gadgets and are curious to see what’s your current attitude when you’re buying gadgets. Are you thinking whether this very cutting-edge product you’re about to get will still be fully functional after you choose to desert it for the next state-of-the-art gizmo? Could your kids or parents use it, or is it just going to the junkyard and you don’t care? Don’t hesitate to give us your honest opinions in the poll below and let us know whether this realization could somehow affect your purchase habits.

source: iFixit

Is repairability a factor for you when you buy a gadget?

Yes, I want to know my kids/parents/friends will be able to use gadgets after me.
63.21%
No, I don't really care.
36.79%

Related phones

iPad 3
  • Display 9.7 inches
    1536 x 2048 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP (Single camera)
    0.3 MP VGA front
  • Hardware Apple A5X, 1GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB,
  • Battery 11560 mAh
  • OS iOS 9.x

FEATURED VIDEO

38 Comments

41. zaryab_hussain77

Posts: 104; Member since: Jun 30, 2011

got my galaxy s2.....after opening the box i realized that it was defective.......and got a big scratch inside the screen....now i am thinking of trying htc one x after release but i will never waste my fathers money by buying iphone.

40. ceejei14

Posts: 10; Member since: Feb 29, 2012

I take care of my gadgets very seriously. But i feel like if it gets broken and subject for repair, the quality of the gadget might be compromised. So if that happens, i prepare myself to look and buy for a new one or a better model.

39. TheRetroReplay

Posts: 256; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Not really, I'm careful with my stuff, plus I get insurance just incase. And when I hand it off to someone else after an upgrade, its no longer my problem.

38. warriorbeats

Posts: 21; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

NO NOT AT ALL!!! If im paying that much money for a product i expect it not to need any repairs for at least 2 years. Than i'll just buy the next best product.

22. PAPINYC

Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

Apple doesn't want you to upgrade every 2 years (or so), they just want you to buy a brand new iDud every 2 years (or so); doesn't matter if it's the super-absorbent tAmpAd or the iWiFi only FaceTiming™ iPhone. That's really the main reason Apple sCare is "Limited Only Service Repair" plan; Apple knows what will break and what will die first, they've designed it that way and they count on their mindless herd to not know any better. In the end, it's all about their on-going iScAm.

29. stealthd unregistered

You realize you just basically said "they don't want you to upgrade every 2 years, they just want you to upgrade every 2 years" right?

32. MobileCaseReview

Posts: 242; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I was just thinking the same thing Stealth. I was like wait a minute, am I reading this wrong?

18. Hildy

Posts: 35; Member since: Nov 23, 2011

In general, I don't repair most components. However, I do expect to have devices long enough that the batteries need replacing. Plus, as one who is old enough to remember laptops, I would often carry a spare battery in case the installed battery got low. Therefore I look for devices with user replaceable batteries.

16. Captain_Doug

Posts: 1037; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I'd rather have a more sturdy phone than one that fixes easier. It's better to not break the device in the first place. I'd much rather invest $15-30 in a case upfront than $150-200 for insurance over the course of two years just to end up paying a deductible IF you end up using it or $100 to fiz a screen. I've fixed a few screens myself as well and an hour of my time and $30 is still not worth it. Get a case. Get a screen protector.

20. lvnmsamsng

Posts: 4; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

You got that right Captain! Invest in some protection/accessories and save on the repairing.

12. JonBjSig

Posts: 176; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

I'd like it to be easy to repair in case it broke for some reason, I replaced the display of my tablet when it broke.

10. drtech

Posts: 135; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

Personally I don't care. I get Apple care and any issue I have is taken care of quickly and painlessly by Apple.

14. iamcc

Posts: 1319; Member since: Oct 07, 2011

Okay Mr.ApplePR

17. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Good for you,you pay apple for what is the legal free right of a 2 year warranty. Congradulations!

25. MobileCaseReview

Posts: 242; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

2 year warranty's don't cover user damage such as water or dropped phones. Most of the time it covers hardware malfunctions or manufacturer defects. Which is why companies like ascurian offer their insurance services to carriers. Apple care is the the same type of insurance.

37. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Water damage is indeed the ultimate enemy of phones,and the main problem is people think its okay to answer their phone in the rain for instance then complain when their phone Is 'somehow water damaged'! It Will be interesting to see how apple much apple still charges for its apple care when it incorporates the likes of liquipel into their phones

27. drtech

Posts: 135; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

Who gives a 2 year warranty? Not one company does free.

28. stealthd unregistered

There is no "legal free right" to a 2 year warranty.

36. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Just checking it there it does seem Americans dont have that legal right,its an Eu Law and directive and as such all phones in Europe come with a 2 year warranty except of course the iphone which apple only supplies one year with (you have to buy the second year) and the resulting problems from the iphones short warranty i have highighted.

6. maier9900

Posts: 272; Member since: Dec 17, 2011

It's because they're no experts when it comes to repairing an apple product. And no consumer should be able to repair their gadgets unless they know what they're doing... How many people know how to repair their cars ( not a lot ) they take it to a mechanic shop. How many people know how to fix their broken tv ( not a lot ) they take it to a tv repair shop. This story is ridiculous...makes no sense that the consumers' phones have to be easy to repair. Just take it back and voila, you either get an exchange or they'll repair it for you.

13. wumberpeb

Posts: 453; Member since: Mar 14, 2011

That review was written by people who's entire career is based on taking things apart, so how are they not qualified? Their website doesn't say, but i'm sure they've got an entire industry of other brands and devices as a comparison, so if they rate it a 2 in terms of repair ability, how can you say they're not knowledgeable in Apple repair? Does it matter that they haven't worn an Apple Genius uniform and replaced a bad speakerphone? Some folks were born to take things apart, and it doesn't take specific training to start to understand any mechanical or electrical object. Some work for iFixit, because I'm sure as hell not THAT good.... Also, consumers should not have to know how to repair their own devices. There's trained staff for that. However, Apple has designed some of their products to be so unfixable that something relatively simple to fix on an HTC Evo is an extreme undertaking on an iPhone (just an example). So they're forcing you to buy the extra AppleCare because after one year, with one year left on your 2 yr contract, should anything important break like an earpiece, its a lengthy and expensive repair. Making a device more repairable either makes the repair less expensive out of warranty OR it doesn't force the consumer's hand into purchasing extended service contracts for fear or having a DOA product at the 18 month mark

5. 7thspaceman

Posts: 1597; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

wow Apple I know you want to make your devices durable but in truth Some people drop Ipads some times rethink your device construction technology

30. christianqwerty

Posts: 467; Member since: May 05, 2011

You just have to take care of your phone. I still have a first generation iPhone and a blackberry curve that runs perfectly. On the other hand, I had a Samsung focus that I didn't take care of, the screen is totally shattered an parts of glass have fallen out, but since the screen is built in with the digitizer or something, it cost 190$ to fix the screen.

4. rhinoceros

Posts: 33; Member since: Mar 01, 2012

HAS always been a huge weakness for apple devices but doesn't stop the sheep. Carriers aren't allowed to trouble shoot their devices and they are never easy fixes. Hence their need to warranty swap for even minimal issues. Not great customer service but only option. Then after swapping you are sent to your carrier to swap esn numbers. Work at a Verizon near an apple store and you'll learn quick their customer service is trash because the so called geniuses constantly drop ball

8. MobileCaseReview

Posts: 242; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Apple devices are just as simple to fix as Samsung devices. Not complicated to change parts or change batteries. If you follow simple DIY's its cake for any smart phone. Most are built similarly in terms of engineering. Just saying. Also, I've had the same experience with VZW in the past, and the same goes for service at AT&T. Every store is different and has different facets of people. The same applies to all companies who offer customer service. With that being said, one store does not define the rest of the company. In other words, if the VZW store near me offers crap service, does that mean your store offers it too?

33. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

@MobileCaseReview: iFixit would disagree with you. Granted, I've taken apart my sister's ipod touch 3 times to replace defective or damaged screens, but it's still pretty dumb how it's set up

9. drtech

Posts: 135; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

Apple always has the highest customer satisfaction ratings

23. JeffdaBeat unregistered

So...none of that is true... Carriers are allowed to trouble shoot problems and will often try to do so if there is a software problem. Hardware issues are a different story, but are often handled the same way that the carrier would handle any other phone. For example, when I worked for AT&T, we had to call our warranty department and the customer would be mailed a phone. If they had an iPhone, we could send them to the local Apple Store. In the case that there was no Apple Store, there would still be a mailed replacement done by Apple. So at the very least, you got your phone at the same time anyone else would. At the most, you got it before. The only company I know that repairs phone is Sprint. Both Verizon and AT&T have moved far from repairing the phones themselves, instead offering insurance through Asurion. If you get your phone fixed or swapped in the Apple Store, Apple also switches the service over so you don't have to go back to your carrier to reactivate your phone. Plus, we are talking about repairability. Most folks who carry a smartphone don't know how to set up their email let alone fix their phone. So this is a non-issue for most.

3. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

I personally do, not much tho but I give my stuff away, I want it to operate properly

2. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Ive very careful with my phones and all the phones Ive had had have a two year warranty anyhow so repair hasnt been an issue really. But from day to day experience instore however it is quite evident how apples one year warranty cause so much grief for Ifans as a large percentage of iphones have the inherent trait of going faulty after the one year warranty has expired,problems like home button stops working,speaker/Mic failures and not turning back on following itunes syncs being the biggest culprits to name a few. Repairs ouside apple one year warranty are very expensive and seeing as most customers are in 18 or 24 month contracts upgrades are often not an option. Looking at this buyers should be very savy as to what warranties are in phones and what repair factors are and companies which only offer basic warranties for high expense products should be thought over

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless