Apple's walled garden approach is not merely limited to its iOS or Apps Store but even extends to its hardware as it just fenced its iPhone 4, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with new screw design, called Pentalobular, which cannot be opened using a standard screwdriver.
iFixit reported that Apple has designed a new screw which has five points instead of six and has a rounded heads which is different compared to the standard four-point Philips screw which has square heads. It further reported that Apple occasionally refers to the screw as Pentalobe security screws.
The biggest disadvantage of the proprietary screw design is that there are no reputable suppliers of the custom screw design.
The iPhone 4 models, however, come with a standard Philips screw. Gigaom reported that if an iPhone was recently given for service, then Apple staff would have replaced the regular screws with the new Pentalobe screws, thus making liberating the iPhone from Apple's clutches much more difficult.
The Pentalobe screw is not of recent origin but was first showcased in MacBook Pro in 2009 to restrict the change of battery.
Apple is known to create a fence around its products so that even peripherals used in its devices are Apple-sanctioned. In October, Apple forced Sanho Digital Electronic's HypeMac, the only company to offer external battery and chargers for MacBook, to stop selling its products. Apple had filed a patent-infringement case against HyperMac in September claiming that it was using its patented MagSafe power connector and 30-pin iPhone and iPod dock connector without a license.
Apple's strategy is to create an ecosystem of software and hardware which is not compatible with other products. Thus, it limits customer experience by restricting them to its devices and software thus making migration to other available technologies difficult. It also limits innovation of products as only Apple will be able to meet the demands of Apple-dependent users. This keeps customers plugged-in to Apple for a longer span.
While the issue of new screws is raised by iFixit, that sells DIY kits for Apple devices, the argument that Apple wants to fix your problems rather than you, gains more credence. The hardware fencing means that Apple devices will not be flexible in terms of hardware modulation like adding an extra RAM, battery or other peripherals will be barred.