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Apple investigates tamper-resistant hardware, iPod motion controls

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
New patent applications revealed this week show Apple has worked on new methods to discourage users from opening its hardware and voiding its warranty, as well as extending additional accelerometer controls to iPod playback.

Tamper-resistant label detects device openings

Apple's patent application notes that it is in the best interest of an electronics manufacturer to be able to know when a device has been "compromised" and opened, thus voiding its warranty. Unauthorized tampering with an electronic device can destroy it, and without evidence of such tampering, a manufacturer may be obligated to support its warranty. Apple's technology, the company said, could save manufacturers "substantial costs."

"Unfortunately, many users nevertheless open their electronic devices to attempt to repair, reverse engineer or even hack various things within the device," the application reads. "Of course, one drawback to such unauthorized access is that one or more internal items may be destroyed or compromised, thus limiting the ability of the manufacturer or provider to provide effective servicing of the device."

The filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describes a specialized label that attaches to multiple locations inside of a device. Disassembling of the hardware would rip, damage or affect the label, which could then be detected by the manufacturer.

Such labels could be U-shaped or zigzagged, and could be made from paper, plastic, or a metallic foil.

"In the event that the user nevertheless does fully or substantially open the electronic device, then the label tears or otherwise becomes damaged," it reads. "Although such damage may be noticed by the user after opening the device, any repair or replacement of the torn or damaged label would ordinarily be difficult after the fact. In the event that the electronic device is ever exchanged, returned for repairs or otherwise provided back to the manufacturer or other authorized party, then the device can be checked to see if it has ever been opened since its initial issuance."



As they have become smaller and more advanced, Apple's portable devices in particular have become more and more difficult to disassemble. In its teardown of the new fifth-generation iPod nano, iFixit noted that the use of glue made the media player easy to put together, but difficult to take apart.

"We wish Apple would a little effort into making iPods repairable, instead of forcing people to throw them away when they break," the solutions provider said. "Recent iPods have become increasingly difficult to successfully repair."

iPod accelerometer controls

Apple could be bringing accelerometer controls to the iPhone, iPod touch, and potentially other iPods in the future, according to a new patent application.

Accelerometer control has already played a part in many games for the iPhone and iPod touch. Apple also introduced an accelerometer to the iPod nano in 2008, allowing users to rotate for cover flow view and shake to shuffle songs.

But the new patent application describes actively controlling the iPod media playback solely through the accelerometer, by moving and shaking the device. Users could scroll through songs, flip through the cover flow mode, and select content for playback all through physical motion.



"The physical stimuli can take any form, including an acceleration event, such as a flicking motion," the application reads. "The present invention can utilize an accelerometer to detect and measure the acceleration event, and even determine the direction and magnitude of the acceleration event."

post #2 of 44
It was introduced in the Nano in 2008, not 2004.
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post #3 of 44
Understandable if people are shoving in unsupported 3rd party hardware into Apple hardware, and then turning around and demanding Apple take responsibility for any ensuing damage while still under warranty.
post #4 of 44
Seriously...

Just how much CONTROL does Apple feel they need to have over items purchased by consumers?

If someone buys a device and then decides to do whatever they choose with said item, it's their business, as well as their assumption of liability should something go awry.
"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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post #5 of 44
Oh Apple.. You should just make the HD in the imac user upgradeable like the laptops.. then we won't have to open 'er up.
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post #6 of 44
There have long been case sensors available for desktop PCs that sound an alarm if the case is opened. Why not develop a simple circuit or sensor that is disrupted when the ipod/iphone device is opened? Then the ipod/iphone could report any tampering on screen without having to even open the device to see if it was compromised.

If Apple really wants to be anal about it, they could even design the circuit to disable the device if an intrusion is detected.
post #7 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Seriously...

Just how much CONTROL does Apple feel they need to have over items purchased by consumers?

If someone buys a device and then decides to do whatever they choose with said item, it's their business, as well as their assumption of liability should something go awry.

None of this new tamper detection will prevent compulsive tinkerers from doing their thing. It will simply be easier for Apple to tell when any such tampering takes place, and then be able to refuse warranty coverage.

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post #8 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Seriously...

Just how much CONTROL does Apple feel they need to have over items purchased by consumers?

If someone buys a device and then decides to do whatever they choose with said item, it's their business, as well as there assumption of liability should something go awry.

seriously... YOU get over it...

Just as you said. "If someone buys a device and then decides to do whatever they choose with said item, it's their business."

Right up to the point you crack said item up and tinker with its insides, you're on your own. It naive and ignorant to assume that ANY manufacturer, Apple or otherwise, should have to clean up their mess for being too curious.

I can't even begin to count how many times I've read and seen over the years about people trying to return purchased items they knowingly broke in some fashion and claim stupidity about how it happened.

In the long run, I think this is better for consumers since companies won't have to spend so much money on replacing / fixing items that frankly, should never have been done under "warranty". Less cost for them will hopefully trickle down to us in cheaper prices.

The only thing I could see with this is the "sensor" become damaged during the initial assembly phase and leaving the facility that way. The consumer has no way of knowing that their shiny new toy technically would be considered void the moment they open the packaging.
post #9 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Seriously...

Just how much CONTROL does Apple feel they need to have over items purchased by consumers?

If someone buys a device and then decides to do whatever they choose with said item, it's their business, as well as their assumption of liability should something go awry.

MacGyver has spoken!
If they are stupid enough to shell out the money to break it fine... just don't come crying to Apple to fix it. I don't see what getting inside of the device and messing around with it unless your trying to change a battery or something.
Like little kids... got to break stuff open to see what's inside he he... .
post #10 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Seriously...

Just how much CONTROL does Apple feel they need to have over items purchased by consumers?

If someone buys a device and then decides to do whatever they choose with said item, it's their business, as well as their assumption of liability should something go awry.

This does nothing to take control from the end-user in terms of opening or altering the device. It only allows Apple to detect when the device has been opened. I don't like this as I enjoy opening many of my Apple devices and this could compromise warranty support, but I don't have any good reason to be upset about it. Apple's concern outlined in the patent application is reasonable. I imagine many complicated devices, such as the iPhone, are damaged when opened in such a scenario.
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post #11 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielSW View Post

None of this new tamper detection will prevent compulsive tinkerers from doing their thing. It will simply be easier for Apple to tell when any such tampering takes place, and then be able to refuse warranty coverage.

Exactly. This is a liability reduction measure and should save money for the company.

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post #12 of 44
The excerpt from the patent app doesn't say how Apple determines if the item has been opened without actually opening it. So how do they distinguish between the consumer doing it and the repair center doing it? Not that I doubt they have a method, I'm just curious.

Like the Band-Aid package that says "Guaranteed sterile until opened", how do you prove it?
post #13 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Seriously...If someone buys a device and then decides to do whatever they choose with said item, it's their business, as well as their assumption of liability should something go awry.

seriously...you answered your own post.
post #14 of 44
Funny...I've had so many friends with iPhones upgrade to 3.0 and then think their handset was damaged when they went running and "shake to shuffle" went crazy. The default setting should be OFF....The possibilites are interesting but at the current state I think the headphones are the best way to control...
post #15 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by elffir View Post

The excerpt from the patent app doesn't say how Apple determines if the item has been opened without actually opening it. So how do they distinguish between the consumer doing it and the repair center doing it? Not that I doubt they have a method, I'm just curious.

Like the Band-Aid package that says "Guaranteed sterile until opened", how do you prove it?

I was wondering that myself, but I can think of a few ways, specifically with a conductive material that once broken, sets a flag in nvram that the case has been cracked.
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post #16 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by elffir View Post

The excerpt from the patent app doesn't say how Apple determines if the item has been opened without actually opening it. So how do they distinguish between the consumer doing it and the repair center doing it? Not that I doubt they have a method, I'm just curious.

Like the Band-Aid package that says "Guaranteed sterile until opened", how do you prove it?

Good point!

Besides, someone said what if the 'sensor' is already damaged when leaving the fabs.... I think it's a legitimate issue... How would we know??
post #17 of 44
Hey I have a novel idea...

How about making it EASIER for users to open up and service there electronics not harder...

How about designing things so that users can actually service them without inadvertently damaging them...

Seriously this pisses me off. I am more than skilled and capable enough replace a faulty power supply (did it last week in fact) or replace hard drives or memory modules or fans...

Maybe Apple should just encase all there products in carbonite and render them un-servicable by anyone ever....
post #18 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by jb510 View Post

Hey I have a novel idea...

How about making it EASIER for users to open up and service there electronics not harder...

How about designing things so that users can actually service them without inadvertently damaging them...

Seriously this pisses me off. I am more than skilled and capable enough replace a faulty power supply (did it last week in fact) or replace hard drives or memory modules or fans...

Maybe Apple should just encase all there products in carbonite and render them un-servicable by anyone ever....

I take it you didn't read any of the comments above? They aren't mailing harder unless you want to go back to cell phones from the 80's (corded handset anyone? due to minituration.

They only want to know when you open them and void your warranty. Really, why would you open them before your warranty was out? They will replace the thing for free for any defects.
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post #19 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

seriously... YOU get over it...

Just as you said. "If someone buys a device and then decides to do whatever they choose with said item, it's their business."

Right up to the point you crack said item up and tinker with its insides, you're on your own. It naive and ignorant to assume that ANY manufacturer, Apple or otherwise, should have to clean up their mess for being too curious.

I can't even begin to count how many times I've read and seen over the years about people trying to return purchased items they knowingly broke in some fashion and claim stupidity about how it happened.

In the long run, I think this is better for consumers since companies won't have to spend so much money on replacing / fixing items that frankly, should never have been done under "warranty". Less cost for them will hopefully trickle down to us in cheaper prices.

The only thing I could see with this is the "sensor" become damaged during the initial assembly phase and leaving the facility that way. The consumer has no way of knowing that their shiny new toy technically would be considered void the moment they open the packaging.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newrigel View Post

MacGyver has spoken!
If they are stupid enough to shell out the money to break it fine... just don't come crying to Apple to fix it. I don't see what getting inside of the device and messing around with it unless your trying to change a battery or something.
Like little kids... got to break stuff open to see what's inside he he... .

Quote:
Originally Posted by mac_dog View Post

seriously...you answered your own post.

The OP made a perfectly reasonable point in response to the article. WTF is up with you petty drama queens polluting this board with your catty bulls**t? GROW UP
post #20 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Seriously...

Just how much CONTROL does Apple feel they need to have over items purchased by consumers?

If someone buys a device and then decides to do whatever they choose with said item, it's their business, as well as their assumption of liability should something go awry.

apple doesn't care if you mess with it, they just want to know when they're _NOT_ obligated to fix it if you screw up.

FTA
Unauthorized tampering with an electronic device can destroy it, and without evidence of such tampering, a manufacturer may be obligated to support its warranty. Apple's technology, the company said, could save manufacturers "substantial costs."

apple's not the first to do this either - i have some electronics that have "warranty void if broken" stickers over the screws

this tamper evidence thing sounds like the stickers on VHS tapes back in the day. void if removed. I guess they wanted to keep people from unscrewing the case and touching the tape.

@jb510, I doubt they're talking about things where it's _plausible_ to service yourself, like Mac Pros - the optical drive died on my dual G5 tower a few years back, I used apple care to replace it. they OFFERED to cross ship me a replacement and asked if I was comfortable doing the work myself. I said no problem as long as it didn't void the warranty.. they said NO, they prefer to cross ship where possible because it's cheaper and faster for every one.

this patent is for smaller devices "with no user serviceable parts inside" -
post #21 of 44
Quote:
Apple has worked on new methods to discourage users from opening its hardware and voiding its warranty

umm...when you buy something, it's your hardware, not apple's.

i'm not sure why tech companies bother with this stuff anymore. only technically savvy people even bother opening up their hardware, especially apple users. apple's core market would probably think most of their models, especially ipods and iphones, can't even be opened up.

when something breaks, most people just buy another one. it's no wonder - a tech savvy person like me saved $200 by repairing my own macbook. if it was a slightly more major repair 90+% of users would simply buy a new computer. why bother with anti-tampering measures?

i mean i'm not really on the side saying this is unfair - after all, if you are under warranty, there's no reason to bother opening up your device. but i think apple is wasting time and money on a patent that will probably be denied anyway (since most are).
post #22 of 44
So NOBODY in this thread who thinks this is a good idea has EVER opened up their Mac and added RAM or a hard drive or a PCI card? I could open and close my Mac Pro 20 times a day and such behavior would not void my warranty, nor should it. People will scream - well that's MADE to be that way, and that's the point. If a company wants to make a device service friendly for the end-user they can. A phone could be just as easy to open up to add storage, memory, or modify the cosmetic appearance. I'm not saying that Apple should make the iPhone easy to upgrade, but arguing that the simple act of opening a device should void the warranty seems a bit draconian when other devices (more complex and more expensive) manufactured by the same company invite the user to upgrade. Would everyone feel the same if their hard drive or RAM in their Macs needed to be brought into an Apple store to be upgraded? Its a dual standard, but one that I completely understand, since Apple would make far less money if end users could upgrade memory or RAM on their own rather than having to buy a new iPhone.

And of course, this is just a patent application, so who knows whether it would ever see the light of day.
post #23 of 44
Resolved: A company should be able to take any step necessary to prevent repair under warranty on warranty breached devices as long as the customer is not limited in normal use of the device and as long as the device is not crippled thereby.

Sure it's YOUR hardware. But Apple is simply stating that their warranty covers normal use of the device. That does not include opening it yourself. In order for Apple to determine whether or not the device has died by normal use; they simply made a seal to determine whether the warranty conditions have been breached. You may open your device but don't expect Apple to cover the damages you possibly could have inflicted. There is no good reason for one to open ones iPhone during the warranty period. This is a good precaution against dishonest customers and for honest customers.
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post #24 of 44
Water sensors are fine. Tamper-proof stuff is fine.

But I'l be damned if I can't change my own RAM without voiding the warranty!
post #25 of 44
This is like telling people they are not allow open the hood of your car or else you void the warranty

The problem with this is there is a federal case law (do not have it at hand right now) that says the manufacture must show what the consumer did actually caused the failure. Yes they may know you opened up but they does not mean you broke it.

So they can try to say you voided the warranty, but the law prohibit them from doing that but they know you would have to fight them and it will cost you to prove you're not at fault.
post #26 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by pixelcruncher View Post

So NOBODY in this thread who thinks this is a good idea has EVER opened up their Mac and added RAM or a hard drive or a PCI card? I could open and close my Mac Pro 20 times a day and such behavior would not void my warranty, nor should it. ...

This is totally Apples and Oranges.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pixelcruncher View Post

... A phone could be just as easy to open up to add storage, memory, or modify the cosmetic appearance. ...

I don't get how you're smart enough to service your own hardware, but dumb enough to make a statement like this.

In the first place there is nothing to service on a phone, in the second place your hypothetical phone that can have storage added or batteries swapped or whatever would be the size of a hat. In a few years the average phone will be slightly bigger than the current iPod nano and probably a lot thinner. The idea of servicing it like it's an old XT is just silly.
post #27 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Such labels could be U-shaped or zigzagged, and could be made from paper, plastic, or a metallic foil.

"In the event that the user nevertheless does fully or substantially open the electronic device, then the label tears or otherwise becomes damaged," it reads.

Does Apple think they can patent glueing paper to a device? The patent office is really brain dead if they approve it.
post #28 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Seriously...

Just how much CONTROL does Apple feel they need to have over items purchased by consumers?

If someone buys a device and then decides to do whatever they choose with said item, it's their business, as well as their assumption of liability should something go awry.

That's EXACTLY the point with this patent. If the customer ruins something, they can't send it back under warranty and get free repairs - the customer assumes the liability. Apple doesn't give a hoot if you open your device - just don't try to get Apple to repair your damage for free.
post #29 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Exactly. This is a liability reduction measure and should save money for the company.

I'm sure the main focus of this technology will be handheld units like the iPhone and iPod line, but there will be a great temptation in Cupertino to extend it to consumer Macs like the MacBook, Mac mini and iMac.

Actually they already use technology to detect liquid spills on notebooks. Unfortunately the sensors can be tripped by humid climates.

That's why I'm scared that Apple will put sensors in all their hardware making it impossible to do anything but add RAM without violating your warranty.

What's messed up is that RAM is considered a user serviceable part yet the hard drive is not. Ever seen the damage caused by an improperly seated DIMM? Failing to correctly install a hard drive can't do much harm, but Apple has made it so just getting to the hard drive can be a complex and risky activity.

Finally a reduction in warranty claims would help Apple be more profitable, but because they make such a big deal about their gross margins, retail prices will remain the same.
post #30 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

That's EXACTLY the point with this patent. If the customer ruins something, they can't send it back under warranty and get free repairs - the customer assumes the liability. Apple doesn't give a hoot if you open your device - just don't try to get Apple to repair your damage for free.

What they're saying is that once you open it up, even if you don't mess it up, they'll refuse to fix it should something else go wrong in the future.
post #31 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

This is totally Apples and Oranges.

I don't get how you're smart enough to service your own hardware, but dumb enough to make a statement like this.

Love the personal insults, I'm guessing you don't "get" a lot of things. My argument stands. There's nothing about opening a device like the iPhone that should hypothetically void the manufacturer's warranty and free the manufacturer from the obligation that the parts inside the device are free from defect. If a part in the iPhone is defective, its defective, whether the case has been opened or not. What part of "opening a case" (like users can on other Apple devices), makes it OK for Apple to have sold the owner defective hardware?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

your hypothetical phone that can have storage added or batteries swapped or whatever would be the size of a hat.

A HYPOTHETICAL phone that has an interchangeable battery and can a microSD card? That would be amazing. Oh wait, they've been around for YEARS.
post #32 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boogerman2000 View Post

The OP made a perfectly reasonable point in response to the article. WTF is up with you petty drama queens polluting this board with your catty bulls**t? GROW UP

Amen to that!!!
post #33 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by lopsided View Post

If Apple really wants to be anal about it, they could even design the circuit to disable the device if an intrusion is detected.

How about a design where it's impossible to open the case without breaking the motherboard in half?

Or maybe Apple would be classier than that. Upon opening, have the device self-destruct in a cool cloud of smoke, spygear-style.

Personally, I still miss the days of the Apple II, with seven open expansion slots just begging to be tinkered with...
post #34 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by sippincider View Post

How about a design where it's impossible to open the case without breaking the motherboard in half?

Or maybe Apple would be classier than that. Upon opening, have the device self-destruct in a cool cloud of smoke, spygear-style.

Personally, I still miss the days of the Apple II, with seven open expansion slots just begging to be tinkered with...

The iPhone itself isn't all that difficult to take apart. Two screws on either side of the speaker. There's video's all over youtube on how to replace your battery for a buck or two. I wouldn't bother while it was under warranty though.

Same with the Mac Mini. I thought that one was about on par with pretty much any standard PC, except for the weirdness with the putty knife to get it open

I can see Apples point though. If folks want to crack the case for whatever reason, more power to them but don't expect a free ride for voiding your warranty.
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post #35 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

[...] But the new patent application describes actively controlling the iPod media playback solely through the accelerometer, by moving and shaking the device. Users could scroll through songs, flip through the cover flow mode, and select content for playback all through physical motion.
"The physical stimuli can take any form, including an acceleration event, such as a flicking motion," the application reads. "The present invention can utilize an accelerometer to detect and measure the acceleration event, and even determine the direction and magnitude of the acceleration event."

so, they can change the iPod's name to iYoYo.
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post #36 of 44
Easy, get certified.
post #37 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by jb510 View Post

Hey I have a novel idea...

How about making it EASIER for users to open up and service there electronics not harder...

How about designing things so that users can actually service them without inadvertently damaging them...

Seriously this pisses me off. I am more than skilled and capable enough replace a faulty power supply (did it last week in fact) or replace hard drives or memory modules or fans...

Maybe Apple should just encase all there products in carbonite and render them un-servicable by anyone ever....

Man... I'm all for that for sure! Plus while their at it lock down OS X so the hackintosh cheapskate crackers loose too!
Just go to work and earn enough money to buy the things you ENVY he he!
I don't see Apple locking anything down actually (except iPhone, iPod touch etc.) and there are TONS of tutorials to replace the broken screens (most likely the main reason) if it's past warranty. If your competent enough then go for it but if your not and you break it your on your own... it's just like every other product out there... I don't see the big issue here.
post #38 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by akhomerun View Post

umm...when you buy something, it's your hardware, not apple's.

i'm not sure why tech companies bother with this stuff anymore. only technically savvy people even bother opening up their hardware, especially apple users.

Or reverse engineers!
post #39 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boogerman2000 View Post

The OP made a perfectly reasonable point in response to the article. WTF is up with you petty drama queens polluting this board with your catty bulls**t? GROW UP

No, he didn't, and insulting people just makes YOU look stupid. This isn't about Apple "control" (seriously, people around here have real issues over that), it's about Apple making sure people like the OP don't open up and break their products, then rip off Apple by claiming under the warranty.
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post #40 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

seriously... YOU get over it...

Just as you said. "If someone buys a device and then decides to do whatever they choose with said item, it's their business."

Right up to the point you crack said item up and tinker with its insides, you're on your own. It naive and ignorant to assume that ANY manufacturer, Apple or otherwise, should have to clean up their mess for being too curious.

I can't even begin to count how many times I've read and seen over the years about people trying to return purchased items they knowingly broke in some fashion and claim stupidity about how it happened.

In the long run, I think this is better for consumers since companies won't have to spend so much money on replacing / fixing items that frankly, should never have been done under "warranty". Less cost for them will hopefully trickle down to us in cheaper prices.

The only thing I could see with this is the "sensor" become damaged during the initial assembly phase and leaving the facility that way. The consumer has no way of knowing that their shiny new toy technically would be considered void the moment they open the packaging.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newrigel View Post

MacGyver has spoken!
If they are stupid enough to shell out the money to break it fine... just don't come crying to Apple to fix it. I don't see what getting inside of the device and messing around with it unless your trying to change a battery or something.
Like little kids... got to break stuff open to see what's inside he he... .

Quote:
Originally Posted by mac_dog View Post

seriously...you answered your own post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by knightlie View Post

No, he didn't, and insulting people just makes YOU look stupid. This isn't about Apple "control" (seriously, people around here have real issues over that), it's about Apple making sure people like the OP don't open up and break their products, then rip off Apple by claiming under the warranty.

First of all, I never stated wether I agreed with the OP, did I? Apple needs to be careful when it comes to their perceived "control" over their products. We already know that they have a fairly well established reputation OUTSIDE these Apple boards as a company that likes to keep a tight reign on how customers can and cannot use their products. I personally don't have a problem with the 'tamper resistant" label, but it does seem highlight the fact that Apple doesn't want their customers tampering with their products for any reason, let alone protection from false claims of malfunction. Now, as for insulting people; did take the time to read those responses that my original comments were directed to?? Were those sentiments at all reasonable to you? I simply called those people out for being the churlish vultures that they are and I will continue to do so as I see fit. You included
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