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iFixit dings new 21.5-inch iMac for low repairability as shipping times increase

post #1 of 180
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In its customary teardown of the newest Apple products, repair firm iFixit gave the 21.5-inch iMac a "repairability score" of three out of a possible ten, citing a hard to replace display and lack of easily-upgradable RAM, while the Online Apple Store sees ship-by dates pushed back to over a week.

Teardown Complete
Completed 21.5-inch iMac teardown. | Source: iFixit


After the iMac rolled out to customers worldwide on Friday, iFixit took an in-depth look at Apple's redesigned all-in-one and found the unit to be "an exercise in disappointment"as far as repairability is concerned.

The firm's first major complaint was the new display that is now glued to the iMac's chassis rather than being attached by screws and covered by a removable magnetic front glass, as is the case with legacy models. While the screen is the identical to the one used last year, Apple used a lamination process to bond the front glass to the display, allowing less reflectance and deeper color saturation, though the strategy only allows for the use of glue to attach it to the computer's thin body.

Teardown Screen
The iMac's massive heat sink and attached CPU socket.


Second on the list of complaints is the lack of upgradability. While users can change or replace the hard drive, RAM and CPU, they will have to remove the screen and logic board to do so as all integral components are located on the back side of the board. It should be noted that in its review of the 27-inch version, CNet mentioned that the larger-screened machine has an access port for RAM replacement.

There was some good news, however, as the redesigned iMac now uses dual-microphone technology for better FaceTime call audio, as well as a more robust ribbon cable for the built-in camera. Also of note is that the large central heat sink, which only uses a single fan to keep internal temperatures within operational limits, is attached to a spring-loaded Intel socket carrying the CPU, meaning the processor is somewhat easy to replace.

Shipping Times


Less than a day after brick-and-mortar Apple Stores and authorized resellers started sales of the 21.5-inch iMac, the standard 21.5-inch iMac is shows a lead time of seven to ten business days, up from the one to three days quoted when the company activated orders through its online storefront late Friday.

The apparent supply shortage for the smaller iMac echoes the soon-to-be-released 27-inch model, which is experiencing similar delays as orders are now expected to to go out in three weeks to a month.

iMac Shipping Delay
Source: Apple


CEO Tim Cook warned during Apple's quarterly conference call in October that thee would be a significant supply shortage for all iMac models, however the reason for the dealy remains unknown.
post #2 of 180

How dare Apple not consult iFixit on the ease of repair and upgradability before designing their products.

post #3 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In its customary teardown of the newest Apple products, repair firm iFixit gave the 21.5-inch iMac a "repairability score" of three out of a possible ten, citing a hard to replace display and lack of user-upgradable RAM, while the Online Apple Store sees ship-by dates pushed back to over a week..

Well, duh. Is there anyone on the planet who didn't already know this?

Apple chose a design tradeoff. A system that's thinner, lighter, more rigid, and more reliable instead of one that's more easily repairable (presumably based on the fact that very few Mac owners ever upgrade their computers while everyone benefits from greater reliability and less resources used).

If you're not happy with that tradeoff, buy something else.
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post #4 of 180
Quote:
...and lack of user-upgradable RAM...

That is incorrect. The RAM is upgradable by the user, it's the access to the RAM that makes it difficult. This may seem like splitting hairs but when so many of Apple's products now have soldered RAM it's an important distinction.

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post #5 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post

How dare Apple not consult iFixit on the ease of repair and upgradability before designing their products.

 

Especially when it is fully repairable by an trained technicians.

post #6 of 180

I just stopped in an Apple store to buy a 21.5" iMac and they were out (of course), but they said they get a shipment every morning (except Sundays) and that they could get anywhere between 10 and 30 each day.  

post #7 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


That is incorrect. The RAM is upgradable by the user, it's the access to the RAM that makes it difficult. This may seem like splitting hairs but when so many of Apple's products now have soldered RAM it's an important distinction.


That's like saying you can fill your own gas in the tank of the car but first of all you have to remove the tank.

 

Distinction... yes... but irrelevant in the end.

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post #8 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post


That's like saying you can fill your own gas in the tank of the car but first of all you have to remove the tank.

Distinction... yes... but irrelevant in the end.

No, it's not irrelevant. There is a clear distinction between user-accessible and user-replaceable when the subject clearly referred to RAM and not to gaining access to the RAM. Access to the fuel tank for refueling your car is user-accessible but your fuel tank is not user replaceable and it's still to suggest that these terms are interchangeable.
Edited by SolipsismX - 12/1/12 at 4:52pm

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post #9 of 180
My guess is that records will show that barely anyone with an 21" iMac ever upgrades RAM. The 27" in all likelyhood is more often used in a professional context and so upgrades happen more frequently.
post #10 of 180
Low repairability? Did not see that coming. 1smile.gif

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post #11 of 180
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Originally Posted by paxman View Post

My guess is that records will show that barely anyone with an 21" iMac ever upgrades RAM. The 27" in all likelyhood is more often used in a professional context and so upgrades happen more frequently.

 

Even in a professional context, users seldom upgrade.

 

I work in the computer industry and find "professionals" with MacBook Pros still using the base 2GB of memory that came with the laptop.

 

Even more surprising when some of them make a living on Photoshop which hs a direct performance impact on systems low on memory.

post #12 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Even in a professional context, users seldom upgrade.

I work in the computer industry and find "professionals" with MacBook Pros still using the base 2GB of memory that came with the laptop.

Even more surprising when some of them make a living on Photoshop which hs a direct performance impact on systems low on memory.

Exactly. I believe there was actually a report on this some time ago - and the number of people who ever upgrade their computers is actually quite small. So why make all the compromises necessary to add a capability that's not going to be used?
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post #13 of 180
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Even more surprising when some of them make a living on Photoshop which hs a direct performance impact on systems low on memory.

 

Wonder if they leave the slider at its original setting, too… lol.gif

 

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post #14 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Especially when it is fully repairable by an trained technicians.
IFixit doesn't make money off that though do they?
post #15 of 180

You can't repair an iPad easily, either. 

 

Yet it has had the highest customer satisfaction rating of all tablets from Day 1. 

 

Guess where Mac satisfaction ratings are (for all Macs compared to PCs - easily repairable or not): #1.

 

iFixit likes to take shit apart and f around with it. When they can't really do that they get pissed. Perhaps iFixit needs to just deal with it and pay attention to the numbers. This Mac, too, will emerge as tops in satisfaction in its class, not to mention that it too, is a Mac. 

 

The key questions being: how often will it need to be serviced? How easy will it be for a customer to get it replaced?  You can be 99% sure Apple has these bases covered. 

post #16 of 180

I assume iFixit would give this case a 10/10, as each component has its own compartment where it can be removed at will…

 

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post #17 of 180

In other news, iShipit, who makes money shipping Macs, dings the new iMac for weighing over 16 ounces. iPaintit warns shoppers that the machine is tricky to paint. iSinkit decries the lack of waterproofing, and iEatit bemoans the lack of fruits and vegetables used in construction.

 

But only iFixit gets the free press.

 

Meanwhile, 10 of 10 iMacs Apple tries to fix... somehow get fixed.

post #18 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post


That's like saying you can fill your own gas in the tank of the car but first of all you have to remove the tank.

Distinction... yes... but irrelevant in the end.

No it's not! For the person that is familiar with working under the hood and loves to tinker, just as with past iMacs, it can be done without too much effort saving you a few hundred bucks on the upgrade. His point is an important one.
post #19 of 180
Well it is expected it be not that interchangeable, but there is if you have to many problems with the ram, go for it built in,yet I don't see a reason why to. If there are problems with it try a difference.
post #20 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

You can't repair an iPad easily, either. 

Yet it has had the highest customer satisfaction rating of all tablets from Day 1. 

Guess where Mac satisfaction ratings are (for all Macs compared to PCs - easily repairable or not): #1.

iFixit likes to take shit apart and f around with it. When they can't really do that they get pissed. Perhaps iFixit needs to just deal with it and pay attention to the numbers. This Mac, too, will emerge as tops in satisfaction in its class, not to mention that it too, is a Mac. 

The key questions being: how often will it need to be serviced? How easy will it be for a customer to get it replaced?  You can be 99% sure Apple has these bases covered. 
Why doesn't iFixit just take apart PC's? Would be much happier I think.
post #21 of 180
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post
Why doesn't iFixit just take apart PC's? Would be much happier I think.

 

They got their start as a "Mac DIY instructions" site, and then they started selling parts…

 

And then they branched out into DIY for everything, apparently. I think it's more a tribute to their roots than anything else that they even stick with the Mac stuff, but they're sure not giving a very kind tribute.

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post #22 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

That is incorrect. The RAM is upgradable by the user, it's the access to the RAM that makes it difficult. This may seem like splitting hairs but when so many of Apple's products now have soldered RAM it's an important distinction.

Yes and no. The ram on the 21.5 is listed as non user serviceable which makes doing it a warranty void. The ram on the 27 that it ships with is soldered and non serviceable but there are two slots that are okay for users to fill themselves

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post #23 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Especially when it is fully repairable by an trained technicians.
That's the catch. It isn't that they can't be repaired. It's that Joe Schmoo can't do it himself. Apple isn't required to concern themselves with such tampering and doesn't. Same as with their iDevices

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post #24 of 180

Oh wow, this iMac was assembled in USA!! Production does happen in USA afterall.

3rd pic of Step 3
http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iMac+Intel+21.5-Inch+EMC+2544+Teardown/11936/1

post #25 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

IFixit doesn't make money off that though do they?

Ding ding they can't make money off these so they suck

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post #26 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

 

Even in a professional context, users seldom upgrade.

 

I work in the computer industry and find "professionals" with MacBook Pros still using the base 2GB of memory that came with the laptop.

 

Even more surprising when some of them make a living on Photoshop which hs a direct performance impact on systems low on memory.

 

I did max RAM upgrade on every single Mac I've ever owned.

 

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post #27 of 180
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Originally Posted by gabberattack View Post

I did max RAM upgrade on every single Mac I've ever owned.

So? How does that refute the statement that the other poster believes that few people upgrade? Couldn't you be one of the few?
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post #28 of 180
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Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I assume iFixit would give this case a 10/10, as each component has its own compartment where it can be removed at will…

 

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The heck is THIS thing?

post #29 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post


The heck is THIS thing?

 

If that was a part of my working environment, it would be covered with dust everywhere.

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post #30 of 180
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Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post


No it's not! For the person that is familiar with working under the hood and loves to tinker, just as with past iMacs, it can be done without too much effort saving you a few hundred bucks on the upgrade. His point is an important one.

Without too much effort?

 

Really?

 

And you know this how?

 

To me it sounds like it's quite a bit harder to get at than past iMacs.

 

... and good luck with your warranty.

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post #31 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


Yes and no. The ram on the 21.5 is listed as non user serviceable which makes doing it a warranty void. The ram on the 27 that it ships with is soldered and non serviceable but there are two slots that are okay for users to fill themselves

 

The tech specs say that all 4 slots on the 27 are user-accessible.  That means no soldered RAM.  All 4 slots can be filled or re-filled by the user.

post #32 of 180
I wish Apple will stop using glue... The ipad 3 and 4 and now the imacs. At least the mini is better, so maybe its a good sign. Anyway, one more reason to justify the apple care on my new imac
post #33 of 180
Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post
The heck is THIS thing?

 

The "Thermaltake Level 10".

 

Originally an experiment, it's now an entire line of absolute crap. Matches the usability, spelling, and image quality on their website, at least.

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post #34 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

The ram on the 21.5 is listed as non user serviceable which makes doing it a warranty void.
Do you have a source for this claim? I haven't looked at the warranty for these new machines, but frankly I'd be rather surprised if they claim can't replace the RAM, which is why I'm incredulous of your claim.
post #35 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post


That's like saying you can fill your own gas in the tank of the car but first of all you have to remove the tank.

Distinction... yes... but irrelevant in the end.

Upgrading the memory might need to be done once in a computer's lifetime. Refilling a gas tank, generally at least once a month. I think the metaphor should match the condition at hand better rate of necessity than that. Maybe a non-user-upgradeable gas tank from standard capacity to high capacity.

Also, most users shouldn't be working on their cars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post


The heck is THIS thing?

I'm aware of that case, it just looks like it is an homage to a particular architecturally famous building.
post #36 of 180
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post
I'm aware of that case, it just looks like it is an homage to a particular architecturally famous building.

 

It has a handle! On the bottom! Horizontally!

 

Innovation!

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post #37 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

You can't repair an iPad easily, either. 

Yet it has had the highest customer satisfaction rating of all tablets from Day 1. 

Guess where Mac satisfaction ratings are (for all Macs compared to PCs - easily repairable or not): #1.

iFixit likes to take shit apart and f around with it. When they can't really do that they get pissed. Perhaps iFixit needs to just deal with it and pay attention to the numbers. This Mac, too, will emerge as tops in satisfaction in its class, not to mention that it too, is a Mac. 

The key questions being: how often will it need to be serviced? How easy will it be for a customer to get it replaced?  You can be 99% sure Apple has these bases covered. 

Umm- you don't have any idea how Ifixit makes their money- do you?

They are a website that tears things apart and make money on easily upgradeable or repairable items- so they sell the tools or aftermarket parts for repair. And they make $.

Why the hate today for Ifixit? They have the best teardowns and photos of anybody on the web and do a fantastic job of documenting and explaining parts used. I think they're great. I also don't expect them to give something that can't be repaired easy yourself high repair ability scores. Wth do people want? They aren't hating- they're just giving an honest assessment of self-repair on an apple product.

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post #38 of 180
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post
They aren't hating- they're just giving an honest assessment of self-repair on an apple product.

 

They're biased by virtue of the fact that they sell parts for the things. Their ratings shouldn't be seen as unexpected, they should just be seen within that context.

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post #39 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Ding ding they can't make money off these so they suck
Again- the point Ifixit is making is they suck for self-repairability. That's true. Nothing more- nothing less. That's what that webpage asses- self-repair. They don't asses design. Or performance. Or anything else. Why get mad that a webpage does and assigns a value for exactly what they're supposed to assign a value for?

Just because they say something "bad" about apple (when in reality- they are just saying something about apple. I mean- Who the hell would want to repair their own stuff anyway?). But that doesn't mean what they are saying isnt dead on.
You guys are nuts sometimes... Lol

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post #40 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

It has a handle! On the bottom! Horizontally!

Innovation!

I didn't notice that.

It's somewhat like this, I thought there was one that fits better.
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