updated 11:40 pm EST, Sun December 2, 2012
New iMac gets 3 out of 10 in repairability
Computer and gadget repair site iFixit has performed the requisite teardown of Apple's new 21.5-inch iMac, gauging the new desktop's internals as well as the ease in repairing it. The repair company positive things to say about Apple's new desktop, calling its internals "commendable." Its repairability, though, is quite another story, with the 21.5-inch all-in-one scoring just 3 out of a possible 10 on iFixit's scale.
Disassembling the iMac's case requires the use of a heat gun and guitar pick to undo the adhesive holding the display down. The iMac receives low marks for Apple's choice of fusing the front glass to the LCD, meaning that replacing either will require the replacement of both.
iFixit notes that "nothing about the inside of this iMac resembles last year's model," a testament to the reengineering Apple's desktop has undergone in order to make it as thin as it is. Apple has opted for a 2.5-inch laptop drive instead of the traditional 3.5-inch desktop drive, which saves space within the machine. Apparently in order to keep the hard drive's vibrations from carrying through to other components, Apple has wrapped the hard drive in a rubber cushion, which absorbs the hard drive's movements.
The site describes speaker removal as "nerve-wracking," and the supposedly "user-replaceable" RAM in the new iMac gets low marks since one must unglue the screen and remove the logic board in order to replace it.
In all, iFixit gives the desktop's internals positive points, but the difficulty of disassembly garners the slim desktop a 3 out of 10. iFixit notes that the RAM, hard drive, and CPU are in fact replaceable, but they require a difficult process in order to get to them. Since the replaceable components are held behind the logic board, one must take apart most of the machine in order to access them.
iFixit's examinations of Apple products have generated some controversy over the past several months. The site's teardown of the Retina MacBook Pro dubbed it the "least repairable laptop" it had ever taken apart, due to its glued-in components and soldered-in RAM.
That estimation led to iFixit crying foul when the EPEAT environmental certification program gave the Retina MacBook its highest certification. iFixit's founder claimed EPEAT's granting of Gold status for the Retina MacBook constituted "greenwashing" and a diminishment of the standard itself. EPEAT fired back claiming that its standards were still valid and that they would be continually reworked in order to take into account the changing face of consumer technology. Apple's press release announcing the new iMac claims that it achieved an EPEAT Gold rating.