In a clever bit of self-promotion, the do-it-yourself repair evangelists at iFixit announced this morning that they will be giving away 1,776 free "iPhone liberation kits" that will allow Apple customers access to the innards of their devices by replacing the difficult-to-remove pentalobe screws with standard Phillips screws.
From the iFixit press release:
With a nod to Independence Day, we are arming fixers around the world with free tools to combat planned obsolescence. From July 1-5, the first 1,776 freedom fighters to sign up will receive two free iPhone Liberation Kits (shipping is free, too!). Choose any combination of kits specialized for the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5-one to free yourself and one to pass on to a friend.
If you're still not clear on why the number 1,776 was chosen, I'm afraid you'll need to repeat elementary school history.
Here are the benefits that iFixit says will accrue to those who get the kits:
Get a free insurance policy. In the unfortunate event that your iPhone needs repair, you will be set to make any necessary fix. For situations when you need to get the battery out of your iPhone as quickly as possible-such as after dropping the device into water-you will be ready.
Send a message. When people see your iPhone, in all its liberated glory, they will know that you don't stand for restrictions on your hardware. You believe that repair choices should be up to the owner, that repair should be easy, accessible, and affordable.
Apple has long endured criticism for offering repair services that are anything but easy accessible and affordable. The company last month reportedly told technical staff that major changes are in the works for its AppleCare program, according to Apple Insider.
One goal of such an effort would be to render less likely demonstrations such as "iPhone Liberation Week;" another would be to stem the proliferation of third-party repair services.
(Update, July 2: Gone in 16 minutes.)
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