back to article Apple's new 'Assembled in USA' iMac a bear to upgrade, repair

Apple's 21.5-inch iMac, which went on sale in the US last Friday, has revealed two of its secrets: first, that it's a collosal pain to get inside should you want to upgrade its RAM or its hard drives; and second, that at least some of the units currently on store shelves are labeled as being "Assembled in USA". The new iMac – …


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  1. Annihilator Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    it's not a "simple 'screwdriver' operation.

    Nope, it's a screwdriver and gluegun operation from the sounds of that teardown - is that enough?

    1. Silverburn

      Re: Easy

      It's way more than enough.

      I really like imacs, but there's no way I'm getting one now. Apple, you just lost an until-now happy and loyal upgrader.

      Glue? FFS. Seriously would it really have affected the look of the *REAR* of the case that much to have recessed screws on the back? Seriously Apple, it would not have affected the cosmetics of the bit you look at for 99.999% of it's life, but would have made access FAR easier for upgrading.

      Ive's I admire your anal attention to form, but FFS don't forget the function part next time, eh?

      1. P Saunders

        iMac is really just a notebook PC

        without the portability.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Easy

        Apple will upgrade it for you - I've heard memory is a little pricey but they recently replaced a hard drive in my friends macbook pro for about £20-30 more than the part itself cost - did all the work - reinstalled the OS and explained how to recover their data using TimeMachine.

        1. Silverburn

          @ AC

          Macbook Pro != new imac. No glue for a start.

        2. Captain Underpants
          Thumb Down

          Re: Easy

          @AC 7:57

          That's only of use to any bugger if your friend was allowed to supply the drive himself, rather than buy one at a substantial markup from Apple. Given their ludicrous pricing on SSD upgrades I wouldn't go holding my breath.

          And no, on a desktop, I don't consider it reasonable to have to cock around this much to carry out a simple upgrade. More of Bad Apple showing here, trying to front-load the cost by making upgrades difficult or impossible :(

      3. Captain Scarlet

        Re: Easy

        @Silverburn They probably want the back to look spotless and sleek, I feel this model will be used as iCandy so expect to see it used in Home and Away sometime soon.

      4. Tom Samplonius

        Re: Easy

        "I really like imacs, but there's no way I'm getting one now. Apple, you just lost an until-now happy and loyal upgrader."

        Upgrader? Just another word for a job killing commie taking jobs from honest hard working real Americans.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Easy

        I have a mid 2010 27" iMac. I like it a lot and it serves my computer needs well. I got sick of bloody great boxes under the desk and at the time Windows was only on Vista, say no more. However, much as I like it, I'm not sure I could go there again. Apple is starting to take the piss way too much. You accept that an all-in-one will have compromises but deliberately making it difficult for anyone to service including professionals is just stupid. Maybe a mac mini next maybe a small form factor hackintosh although I'm not keen on that.

  2. Bill Neal


    Are we supposed to be shocked that Apple would demonstrate planned obsolescence in an iMac?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why change the script?

    They've made a killing selling gear you can't upgrade (an extra hundred quid for an iThing with another 32GB of storage?!), so why not pull the same stunt with their traditional customers?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Not really a problem

    What's the big deal with using guitar picks and a hair drier? Is this supposed to be a big issue?

    Paris, because even she knows how to use a hair drier - and probably has pried stickier stuff.

    1. jubtastic1

      Re: Not really a problem

      It will be a problem for 100% of my clients, which will at least keep me in a job as Apple isn't going to give those machines a new lease of life in 5 years by switching out that laptop drive for an SSD and bumping the RAM for them.

      Can't say I'm looking forward to adding a heat gun to my tools though.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not really a problem

        It's OK if you don't like heat guns or hair driers (but why?), turns out that you don't even need one, it just makes it easier.

        See the teardown video from the OWC guys showing how they open their new 21" iMac with nothing else but a single guitar pick.

        Pretty easy stuff. With some added heat it would be like going through butter.

        1. Tom 35

          Re: Not really a problem

          So how long did that take in real time? 20-30 minutes?

          It took two people to pry out the main board.

          I though having to replace the CMOS batteries on a bunch of laptops (9 screws) was a pain, that would be hell on this thing.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Standard iFixit drama

    What they first call "incredibly strong adhesive" turns out to be "double sided sticky tape."

    What a surprise coming from people who sell overpriced spare parts (their batteries cost even more than what Apple charges for the full service!)

    1. Silverburn
      Thumb Down

      Re: Standard iFixit drama

      I think you under-estimate the arse-pain this truly is.

      1. Once you've prised the two parts apart (ideally without warping, chipping or cracking the panel), you then need to clean them before fitting new tape. Once exposed to air, the old tape will have lost a significant portion of it's adhesion strength so should not be re-used. And remember one of the parts is an LCD panel...and you probably shouldn't use alchohol.

      2. Then you need source the *exact* apple double sided tape component. Why? so it matches both the physical and adhesional properties of the original. Too little adhesion? the panel falls out. Tape too wide? you can't fit the panel back in, and you're back to step 1.

      3. You then need to fit the tape in *exactly* the right way - it needs to be arrow straight. Get it "wiggly", and either the panel won't fit, or you'll see gaps round the edges. And if you want to refit it, you need to go back to step 1....

      I really, really don't like Apple right now.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Standard iFixit drama

        If it's that much of a biggie get Apple or a 3rd party company to do it. I daresay I could swap out parts on my car given the right instructions and tools but that's what garages are for.

        1. Captain Underpants

          Re: Standard iFixit drama

          Stop being dense.

          The problem here is that there is no functional benefit on a non-portable device like this to locking down access to the internals; the benefit to Apple is that by making it an absolute arse-ache to upgrade (and let's be clear here, this sounds more of a pain to get open than a15-year old consumer desktop chassis, and those things are bloody woeful) they can put consumers in a position of either frontloading their spending (with the usual Apple profit margin/price uplift) or having to pay someone else to do something that shouldn't require a third party.

          So, in effect, you're paying them to give you a less useful machine than other vendors would supply. "Creating a third party ecosystem of hardware maintenance specialists who get to pay apple £5K/annum to be accredited Apple Technicians or whatever" isn't really something that most end users would consider a good thing, especially if it means they can't fix/upgrade their own stuff.

          Don't let that stop you posting complete drivel, though...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Standard iFixit drama

      "What they first call "incredibly strong adhesive" turns out to be "double sided sticky tape.""

      Good quality double sided tape IS incredibly strong when installed on a clean substrate. In fact, all that double sided tape amounts to is a thin layer of a adhesive. Given that we're dealing here with fragile components that aren't amenable to being flexed very much, this may be a convenient manufacturing solution, but it isn't a service solution, and that reflects very poorly on Apple's "design for manufacturing" staff.

      Presumably the engineering budget has been cut in order to increase the legal budget.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's virtually an appliance not a computer. I don't remember scores of people complaining that their 16kb Speccy required a soldering iron to upgrade to 48k. Just buy the hardware spec that does what you want.

    How many people buy an iMac then upgrade it? most people struggle with an oil change in a car.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      I'm not sure iFixit is complaining so much as reporting, the main objective being consumer information.

      That said, the lack of access is more frustrating than it would be with most other computers because the Mac options are so limited, and the one you're meant to mess around inside of hasn't been properly updated in a very long time.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Silverburn

      Not many will upgrade it, true...but many will want a ram upgrade at some point, if a 5 year lifespan is typical.

      And there's the issue of hard drive replacement, if one fails. It wasn't easy in the old one, but it was at least do-able.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "How many people buy an iMac then upgrade it? most people struggle with an oil change in a car."

      Most people take their cars to a garage.

      But there are those of us who enjoy tinkering at our own bangers....

      It would be a pain in the nether regions if it turned out that the sump was welded to the engine with no plug, or the tape deck DIN was kept on to the slimline dashboard by adhesive.

    4. Chris 3

      Hmmm, I've certainly replaced RAM....

      And I've swapped out an optical drive when its died. I'm not best pleased about this turn of events and I've been using Macs for a long time.

      Personally, the x mm saved isn't worth the lack of functionality for me.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At least it's not MADE in the US

    "Ooh, an oyster mallet! Made in USA? Oh, no, thank you" - Marge Simpson

  8. Thorne

    If you wanted to tinker with your computer , why would you buy a mac?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why wouldn't you? Looks like you can tinker with it.

    2. BigAndos


      I bought an iMac after years of building my own PCs. I got seduced by the stories of how amazing they are to use. While it has proven very reliable, now it is three years bits are starting to break. Even the older 2009 generation ones are difficult to fix yourself and Apple charge a fortune for even basic repairs.

      When it finally bites the dust I shall go back to build my own I think!

  9. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Repair? How old-fashioned.

    Just chuck it and buy a new one.

    Have it picked up by my butler.

  10. Lord Zedd
    Thumb Down


    Where is your article crying about how Chromebooks can't run Windows?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Where?

      If we're going to head off topic in that direction, where's the screaming diatribe from Hakan Rentaquote about anticompetitive practice because Chromebooks won't let you completely remove Chrome and replace it with Opera?

      I always thought he was less about competition and more about kneejerk MS-hatred. Nice to see it proved.

  11. Aitor 1 Silver badge

    umm, this IS a laptop

    Really, 2 1/2 drive, mobile GPU... this really is a laptop glued behind a screen.

    And that is bad news, as laptop HDDs tend to be.. pathetic, and the same goes for mobile GPUs.

    At least it won't consumme too much lecci.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: umm, this IS a laptop

      I was thinking the same thing, it really is a laptop! In today's world, can it be considered a desktop without a desktop GPU?

      You can easily, very easily find a laptop or desktop that is on par if not better for so much cheaper. No matter how you look at it, you pay WAY too much for way too little. Does this product become obsolete immediately? I don't think even Apple fans will buy this, not if they understand anything at all about price:performance.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: umm, this IS a laptop

        "In today's world"? The gap between integrated GPUs and discrete GPUs gets smaller all the time. Especially since the graphics demands of games have been pretty much at a standstill for a half decade so they can do console ports.

        I really doubt anyone is buying iMac thinking it should have high end AMD or NVidia graphics capability. Those who buy them aren't gamers, and they aren't the types who think a computer becomes obsolete just because Intel has replaced Sandy Bridge with Ivy Bridge. I use a computer with a Q9400, and it is more than adequate for what I need to do - and for what probably at least 90% of people use their computer to do. So what if it's four years old? I could probably use it for another half decade, though I'll replace it before then so I won't have to start worrying about it failing due to age.

        The only thing I'd worry about getting an iMac is that if the LCD dies, the computer inside is pretty much useless. But if you're the type who doesn't like wires, maybe it's worth the risk.

      2. csumpi

        Re: umm, this IS a laptop

        " I don't think even Apple fans will buy this, not if they understand anything at all about price:performance. "

        Whatcha talking about? Of course they will buy it. It's thinner. (Or at least it's made to look thinner by adding a bevel at the edges. But that's beside the point.)

      3. myob

        Re: umm, this IS a laptop

        There are not that many laptops available with 22 and 27" screens. If you want a big screen, but don't want cables, clutter and so on, it is a fairly good option. As for price/performance it may not "perform" in the way you want it to, but that does not mean that it doesn't perform well in features that you obviously don't care about such as looks, size, and quiet running.

        You could not make a PC that thin, with a display as good that was as quiet in running as the mac. Thinness and quietness do not matter to everyone, but they matter to some.

        1. Mark .

          Re: umm, this IS a laptop

          "You could not make a PC that thin, with a display as good that was as quiet in running as the mac. "

          Given that Macs *are* PCs, this is complete nonsense. Certainly there are all-in-one PCs from companies other than Apple. I don't know off hand if Apple make the thinnest - if they do, it's more down them choosing not to for whatever reason, rather than it being impossible because of the semantic issue of labelling it a "PC". There are also plenty of silent PCs.

          And the obvious example would be PC laptops, which exist with far smaller volumes than this Apple all-in-one PC, as well as often being silent. As noted, the imac has laptop components anyway. So yes, it is clearly possible to make a PC of that size.

          As for cables, what powers an imac, hot air? There are two less cables (monitor to PC, and extra power cord), but that's it. The only option for zero cables is a laptop running on battery. But for the niche purposes where an all-in-one is useful (I admit there are a couple), there are various PCs to choose from, not just this one.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Less filler and more information

    Nowhere in the article is it mentioned that the (also) new 27" iMac does come with very easy access to RAM through a dedicated door on the back, placing it amongst the easiest computers to upgrade the RAM.

    It's only in the 21" that the panel needs to be removed.

    1. KjetilS

      Re: Less filler and more information

      So it's okay for this computer to be a real pita to upgrade, since Apple will happily sell you a completely different and more expensive model where it's not?

  13. Spanners Silver badge


    Presumably the "Made in the USA" is intended to be a selling point but, for at least 96% of potential customers, I suspect it will have little bearing one way or the other.

    The best "assembled in..." I can think of is for German made cars. My preconception of a German factory worker sees them wearing a white coat, having an engineering doctorate and so on. My preconception of a US factory worker dresses like Joe the plumber and thinks that Fox News is factual.

    I know, preconceptions are not necessarily accurate but they are what sell things.

    1. ZeroP

      Re: Unclear

      My first thought when I saw that mark on the iMac: "What have the Republicans done to the manufacturing class?"

    2. Silverburn

      Re: Unclear

      Given the precious nature, I'd have though "Assembled in Switzerland" would have had higher kudos.

      But that's all it is - kudos, and a warm fuzzy feeling. If it's the same robot's assembling it, the country is irrelevant.

    3. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Unclear

      The best "assembled in..." I can think of is for German made cars.

      Meanwhile in the real world, where perception is uncoloured by prejudice, the VAG cars assembled by Czechs yield consistantly superior build quality and reliability to those assembled by Germans.....

      1. Silverburn

        Re: Unclear

        Meanwhile in the real world, where perception is uncoloured by prejudice

        I could have sworn it was coloured, actually. Which is why the VW brand is still seen as "better", even though Skoda have a better reliability record.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unclear

        Another interesting observation on German cars is that the Vauxhall Insignia is designed and built in Germany, but as a general rule it does poorly in the UK consumer market, press testing consistently puts it behind the Mondeo, and most of them are bought by fleets where the buyer doesn't have to own or drive them. And the car does relatively poorly in owner surveys like JD Power.

        Not all German engineering and mnufacturing is to the same standard.

  14. dssf

    Apple May Have the Job(e)s, but,

    Does Apple have the LOBES.

    Apple will not substantially bring back jobs unless it can get away with "inshoring", hehehe. And, such a feat would make a Ferengi proud! "Once you have their money, NEVER give it back", one of the Rules of Acquisition....

    1. csumpi
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Apple May Have the Job(e)s, but,

      You should attach some of what you are consuming to your post, then we might understand and laugh with you.

      1. James O'Brien


        Oh I don't know about having anything that he consumed. I was laughing at him as I finished his post.....oh wait.

  15. banjomike
    Thumb Up

    Presumably you need to use OFFICIAL APPLE double-sided sticky tape

    not the common or garden variety.

    1. Silverburn

      Re: Presumably you need to use OFFICIAL APPLE double-sided sticky tape

      I know it's said in jest, but yes, you probably will. It will be:

      - the right length

      - the right width

      - the right adhesion strength

      - the only way to preserve your warranty

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OWC shows how it's done

    Took them 2 minutes to open it, on video...


    The Dell XPS I was messing around at work took longer to open.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OWC shows how it's done

      OWC / iFixit - completely iMpartial? One could perhaps argue that if you were in the business of selling parts / tools to facilitate the upgrade you want to make sure you get all those juicy links from other web sites and if you are also selling the parts to make it just that bit easier....

      Most people would not need to upgrade. The ones that did would probably get Apple or a 3rd party company to do it for them.

      If you feel you will need to upgrade but the right model now or something else or wait until you do want to upgrade and get Apple or a professional 3rd party company to do it.

      I know plenty of people who have simple to upgrade laptops but would not even open 1 screw on the bottom and remove / install new memory sticks.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: OWC shows how it's done

      They didn't carry on to show the bit where you have to take everything out to get at the RAM at the back though.

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Fai

      Re: This article is STUPID and WRONG

      Only on the 27" model - this is the 21.5" model.

    2. Tech1UAE

      Re: This article is STUPID and WRONG

      They're talking about the 21.5" model. Read the article again, Nitwit.

  18. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    The three fans of the previous model have been replaced by one

    Surely Apple have more fans than that?

    Someone must be buying them...

  19. Antti Roppola

    Just an appliance

    Like a number of people have said, it's just an appliance. The vast majority of people who will buy this have no interest in buying it, they will probably see some reliability benefits from a more solid homogenous design (ala potted electronics). Those people who want to be able to upgrade will buy something else. Sort of a budget halfway house between an iPad and their other desktop offerings.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sure for 'techies' this is not the machine for you but I'd suspect 95% of people who buy this would not upgrade a computer themselves anyway - even it they could / it was easier - so fairly moot.

    I (almost with the vast majority of people) don't feel the need to service my own car - but some people do.

    1. sisk

      I (almost with the vast majority of people) don't feel the need to service my own car - but some people do.

      As much as labor costs you're damn right I feel the need to service my own car. No way am I paying someone an extra $150 to do what I can do myself. Same thing with computers. Why should the consumer who's willing and able to upgrade their own RAM have to pay Apple an arm and a leg (or a kidney) to do it for them?

  21. toadwarrior

    The mentally challenged haven't figured out yet but you can't have ultra thin and visually appealing and upgrade ability. Everyone is moving this way because most people don't upgrade anything but they like small, light and pretty.

    Don't be surprised when more and more hardware companies ignore the fat dude who moans he can't avoid buying hardware by upgrading his memory.

    1. Silverburn

      Actually, you could have provided this in this model and with not much effort:

      - replace the glue process with recessed screws-from-the-back

      - and replace the double-sided tape with a conventional rubber seal

      - used the 27" MB layout, and put the ram upgrade slot on the bottom

      - remove the hardware checks in the EFI for non-apple approved RAM or Hard drives

      I suspect much of the issues are due to Ive's overly-anal focus on form and asthetics, to the point a basic function (upgrading) is forgotten.

  22. Tim Roberts 1

    This is why ....

    I'll not buy another ipad - I have the initial version which is openable by mere mortals - or one of the new iphones/ipods/ i-what-the-fucks. If I cannot change the battery or change the RAM/HD on a computer, then sorry Apple you've lost a customer and I'll go to Android more than likely. My wife uses an imac and loves it but it will be the last one we own if Apple continue with this crap. I have G5 - thank Christ the bastards did not weld the access panels on. Shit .. What am I doing? Giving them ideas ...... AAARRRRGGGHHHH

    I'm probably in the minority of glassy eyed fanbois, but dont expect too much more of my hard earned, Apple.

  23. stu 4

    fuss over nothing

    Really, in my 20 years with PCs, I've never met anyone other than a geek (like me) who has ever even opened their PC up, never mind upgraded it. Yes I used to do it all the time, but I realise I am the exception.

    They expect someone to do this sort of thing for them, either by a technician at work for work laptops, or by a specialist they take it to.

    changing batteries in a remote control is about as complex as most people want to get.

    Look at cars: do we see 'how easy is it to change the oil in the new Ford Focus? How easy can the gearbox be changed?' when a new car comes out ? do we buggery - because hardly anyone services their own cars these days.

    30 years ago, it was pretty normal for your average joe to do most car servicing tasks (I know I used to), now hardly anyone would consider it :

    1. because we have come to expect the service industry to do this sort of stuff, and a higher standard of living means we don't mind spunking out the cash for a wrench monkey.

    2. cars became more complex and harder to DIY as a side effect of technological advances, etc.

    I don't see how apple's approach differs in any way ?

    I had my mate's macbook pro fixed a few weeks back by apple: internal fan buggered, and dvd drive shafted. parts: 80 quid. labour: 30 quid. and turned around in a day. Why would anyone do it themselves ? truth is: apart from a few geeks like you and me - they wouldn't.

    1. Piro Silver badge

      Re: fuss over nothing

      You're waffling on something fierce and missing the point.

      The point is, once something DOES go, you have little hope of getting it fixed unless it's by Apple (a lot of money) and with Apple specific parts (again, a lot of money).

      Even if YOU never open your machine, there's a very clear and present advantage in the long run to having easier access and standard parts. There's no need for this tomfoolery in a DESKTOP. Laptops, yes, it's a necessity of the form factor.

      1. stu 4

        Re: fuss over nothing

        and one of my points was that: the parts are actually very reasonably priced. and that apple labour charge can only be described as extremely cheap.

        all-on-ones have always been more 'laptop' than desktop in terms of parts - that's always been the case. clue is in the name.

        1. AJ MacLeod

          Re: fuss over nothing

          Actually, the parts are generally NOT reasonably priced (hundred dollar laptop hinges, over £100 for an iMac PSU etc) . In addition, they can be exceptionally hard to actually buy (only a "genius" can tell if it's broken, and can be trusted to replace it if so), and Apple have claimed not to have a standard price list for parts. They also refuse to quote a fixed price for a well-defined job which would be completely identical on every machine, and in fact charge all sorts of different prices for the same job, depending on where you happen to be in the country or who you speak to.

          Not everyone lives within easy reach of an "Apple Store" (particularly not a proper one that actually repairs such devices rather than just flogging them) and even supposing they were Apple are in my multiple experiences such an awful company to deal with they wouldn't be blamed for not wanting to visit one. I will continue to encourage customers to spend their money with companies who produce serviceable hardware from readily available components and leave the shiny but half-rotten fruity stuff well alone...

          1. stu 4

            Re: fuss over nothing

            yes - there are parts that are expensive - bespoke PSUs will be expensive whoever makes them.

            And I am not arguing that parts are as cheap as you can get on ebay - but sony repair vs apple repair vs dell repair vs HP repair : all overcharge - apple no more than others.

            I have had around 5 macs repaired now - all were:

            1. fully investigated and tested free of charge by apple

            2. a detailed guaranteed quote of the work with breakdown in parts and labour given to me.

            3. the work completed exactly as promised.

            In all cases, in less than 2 days to repair (less than they promised).

            And in one case (my 2007 iMac - in 2011 - 3 years out of warranty), a complete new LCD screen was fitted free of charge as they said it was a known problem.

            I'm sorry you have had bad experiences dealing with Apple, but this has certainly not been my experience - along with Amazon, they have provided me with above and beyond levels of customer service over the last few years to the extend that I now find all other companies, previously considered adequate, levels of service disappointing.

            When asked what PC to buy I will continue to recommend they buy a mac.

            Too expensive ? Buy a 2nd hand mac.

            1. Mark .

              Re: fuss over nothing

              A Mac *is* a PC these days, just a brandname for one company's computer.

              I've had no trouble repairing PCs or PC parts from various companies, though to be honest this is an extremely rare thing when buying complete systems.

              The "repair things for free" seems either a myth, or very much a matter of luck. I've experienced the case where they refuse to repair something, despite us paying for the insurance (I guess it doesn't cover everything, after all, despite what some claim).

            2. Captain Underpants

              Re: fuss over nothing

              How about this then?

              I am glad you've had good experiences with Apple. That's not the norm, though, and since there's no functional advantage to be gained from making the bastard thing so difficult to open, there's no gain to the consumer (and no "oh look it's lovely and skinny" isn't a functional gain, it's at best an aesthetic gain).

              Now, if I buy a Dell Dimension or whatever and for some reason have an attack of the Galloping Dumbass and forget everything I know about hardware and tinkering, I can either go to Dell or anyone else I like and get replacement parts for upgrades. I can get anyone I like to do the installation, on the understanding that if they fumble it I may void my warranty - but then installing stuff in most desktop chassis these days isn't all that hard.

              If I buy one of these iMacs and want to upgrade anything, it's "pay Apple" or "no warranty". Which is bollocks. You can claim that Apple's prices are reasonable all you like, but it's documented by analysts that they have a profit margin of at least 25% on everything they sell, and even on the educational discount the prices they charge for SSDs are at least 200% (more like 350% for higher capacity) of any other vendor on the market. When insurance companies issuing replacement machines acknowledge that Apple charge ludicrous amounts for component upgrades like RAM, you know it's bad.

              So I'm afraid I can't agree that your anecdotal evidence somehow trumps a documented and established trend of Apple, as a company, making sure that they charge as much as they possibly can for every step along the way.

              I'm wary of recommending one brand for all - people's usage requirements vary faaaaar too much for that to be a good idea.

              1. stu 4

                Re: fuss over nothing

                'That's not the norm, though'

                says who ? apple have among the highest customer satisfaction rating* in the business. you mention my 'anecdotal' evidence (sure, it's my personal experience), but you appear to be doing the same thing (or is it just something you'd heard ?

                There isn't a consumer electronics company out there that doesn't invalidate warranties unless they are repaired by a qualified repairer (and there are approved 3rd party apple repair shops). desktop PCs have always been the strange and singular exception to this consumer electronics rule because of their componentized/standard based construction and a historical accident caused by IBM in the 80s.

                I would personally argue that that has given us one very good plus and one very bad minus:

                + cheap PCs

                - tie in to archaic standards like BIOS, IDE, PCI that should have died years ago.

                Have a look at Sony's equivalent all in one (SVL2412Z1E) and tell me how apple is really any different in support and upgradeability ?

                *top of ACSI, top of JD Power, etc.

                1. Ross K

                  Re: fuss over nothing

                  I would personally argue that that has given us one very good plus and one very bad minus:

                  + cheap PCs

                  - tie in to archaic standards like BIOS, IDE, PCI that should have died years ago.

                  BIOS, IDE, PCI?

                  You looked at a PC recently? They got standards called EFI and SATA these days...

                  I understand what you're saying about all-in-ones - they're all shit whether it's a Sony, Apple, HP or Lenovo. Only a moron would buy one.

                2. Captain Underpants
                  Thumb Down

                  Re: fuss over nothing

                  @stu 4

                  apple have among the highest customer satisfaction rating* in the business.

                  It's funny you should mention "business", I judge support services provided by tech companies against the standards expected by business customers, not consumers. And, since Apple insist they're a high-end consumer tech company, that means Apple fare rather badly. You tell me why Apple are the only company retailing 13- and 15-inch high-end laptops who can't offer an upgrade to Next Day On-site Service and will, at best, give you either "whatever they can do in your nearest Apple Store" or "1-2 weeks CAR via one of our approved Service Centres". And that's before you bear in mind that one of Apple's approved 3rd party service centres has on more than one occasion lied to me about getting my approval for a hard drive swap leading to wasted hours to re-install the then-current version of OS X (machines shipped with Tiger, upgraded to Snow Leopard via employer, but after replacing a hard drive they claimed they could only reinstall the OS version supplied with the machine....)

                  Never mind Sony and their bollockery, their support crappiness means that they are, for example, verboten via Higher Education supply chains. On the other hand, if you were to consider Toshiba or Dell's business class offerings, you'd find machines that may not look as sexy as Apple's but which can be opened up easily for support, which can be purchased with at least a 3 year NBD onsite warranty (in Dell's case up to 5 years) and in certain cases where specific theft/accidental damage cover can be bought for very cheap with the machine (saving you having to claim on either business or home insurance and taking the subsequent kick in the premium come renewal time). I've opened up old EOL Macs before and they used to be reasonable, if not necessarily easy, machines to open up. Since the launch of the Retina models, they're going on a decidedly anti-consumer pro-appliance move which is entirely antithetical to either their function and Moore's law re: memory (storage and operating) but which they hope will shore up their bottom line.

                  And, you know, all of this is before we even mention things like the environmental impact of making unrepairable machines. A £1500+ machine that can be rendered useless and in need of replacement if a DIMM fails, where in any other machine that would be a replacement £30 component? Wonderful.

                  I suspect I'm not going to get past the flavour of the Kool-aid here, but I'm damned if I'll let utter nonsense like what you've posted above pass unchallenged.

            3. Ramazan
              Thumb Down

              Re: my 2007 iMac - in 2011 - 3 years out of warranty ... free of charge

              they refused to replace broken hinge on my macbook air 2009 - in 2012, while it was also a known problem. Screw them.

  24. Ross K

    Assembled in...

    I know that when I worked for Compaq at the end of the last milennium "Assembled in UK" meant sticking RAM and a keyboard on a container-load of otherwise finished laptops from Taiwan.

    The 1U Proliants of the time were the same - adding disks and RAM was the only assembly done here.

    Can't see other manufacturers being much different.

    A cynic might say Apple are trying this "Assembled in the USA" approach on foot of the recent reports from China about mistreatment of subcontractors. Flame away.

    1. Silverburn

      Re: Assembled in...

      I initially read "Assembled in..." to mean "Shoved completed unit into an Apple retail box and taped it up", partly in jest.

      However, I suspect I'm still disturbingly close to the truth.

  25. Identity


    "Assembled in USA" or not, Apple's latest all-in-one-desktop is certainly not designed to be disassembled in USA – or anywhere else, for that matter – except by one of Apple's own repair techs."

    In my experience, even they don't repair 'em— just give you a refurb (and who does that, and where?)

  26. Nick Pettefar

    Complete Tosh!!!!

    Look at the video:

    You need: One guitar pick and a bit of double-sided tape. That's it! Five minutes max!

    To replace the hard drive there's four screws - no need to remove the logic board.

    To replace the RAM there's a little door on the back! You don't need to open it up at all.

    You lot are a bunch of whining opinionated idiots!

  27. JOKM

    Complete Tosh!!!!.. WTF??

    I watched the video, there is no door at the back that I can see, in that video, or in any pictures I can see on apples website.

    Being you have to buy new tape after install, remove a hard disk, fan, power supply, several fragile cables and the logic board just to get to the ram, I can somewhat understand people being a bit miffed.

    I am more miffed about how cheap the components seem to be getting and at how high their price point is climbing. Next year I expect to find a dead hamster welded into the cpu slot.

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