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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 184


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

  • Reply 2 of 184
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 184
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    [QUOTE]...and lack of user-upgradable RAM...[/QUOTE]

    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.
  • Reply 4 of 184

    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.

  • Reply 5 of 184
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,086member


    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.  

  • Reply 6 of 184

    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.

  • Reply 7 of 184
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member

    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.
  • Reply 8 of 184
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,589member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 184
    Low repairability? Did not see that coming. :)
  • Reply 10 of 184

    Quote:

    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.

  • Reply 11 of 184
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    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?
  • Reply 12 of 184


    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… image


     


    image

  • Reply 13 of 184
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Especially when it is fully repairable by an trained technicians.
    IFixit doesn't make money off that though do they?
  • Reply 14 of 184
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,741member


    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. 

  • Reply 15 of 184


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


     


    image

  • Reply 16 of 184
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member


    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.

  • Reply 17 of 184
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,584member

    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.
  • Reply 18 of 184
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 184
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    quadra 610 wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 184


    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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