Apple’s new iPad is thin, powerful—and a nightmare to fix when things go wrong.
When it comes to how easy the device is to repair, the $329 iPad scores a 2 out of 10. The tablet’s innards are held together with “gobs of adhesive” and “foam sticky tape,” which means it’ll take a seasoned expert—or Apple itself—to fix the thing.
Adhesive is bad news for repair shops. It has to be heated up and then delicately separated by picks or razors, a process that can actually do more damage to the device if you’re not careful. Of course, it’s also in part what allows the iPad to look sleek and seamless.
The upshot is that this is Apple’s device through and through: You bought it, but if you want to pop it open and make repairs, it’s basically on the company’s terms. Chances are, if you break it, you’ll visit the Genius Bar and drop some serious cash on getting it fixed, unless you’ve invested in an Apple Care plan.
There’s a debate over whether this is reasonable. “Right to repair” advocates—including me, it must be said—argue that companies like Apple profit unreasonably from their stranglehold on your gadgets. Apple has consistently lobbied against legislation that would require companies to provide parts and documentation to help independent repair shops or individuals fix their devices. It also makes a lot of money from busted gizmos: repair fees and cash from refurbished gadgets all line its coffers.
As a separate concern, gadgets like this new iPad are very tricky, even dangerous to recycle—a problem that’s exacerbated when it’s easier, and not much more expensive, to replace a device rather than fix one.
Companies like Apple and other opponents of “right to repair” argue that consumers could hurt themselves trying to fix their devices and that new laws would only encourage risky behavior.
By Damon Beres