Apple Publishes “Longevity, by Design” White Paper

The issue here isn’t so much water ingress, but the level of protection you sacrifice when this is an option. From the start, it’s far less robust and over time things occur which could significantly affect the device. For example, the gasket gets pinched which lessens the protection or the access “door” isn’t re-installed correctly and that means when you drop the iPhone into the pool (or toilet), it has no effective water resistance and now you have a paperweight. With the current scheme, you would probably have a functional iPhone. Perhaps a bit messy, but functional.


That depends entirely on how well it is engineered and the competency of the repair tech working on it.

If a repair shop screws up the gasket on a battery replacement, well, they could equally screw up the adhesive when replacing an iPhone’s battery.

Since we’re describing a hypothetical design, you can’t make claims about how bad the design would be. There are plenty of ways to waterproof a device that are different from what Apple is doing, and some are far easier for third parties to repair.

I’d certainly prefer a world where I can swap the battery myself at the expense of having to swap a $5 gasket vs. having to pay Apple $89 to swap the battery and be without my phone for anywhere between hours to days.

But I think the other path that Apple has chosen is typical Apple: the crowd that wants to do nothing on their phone themselves gets exactly that (at the expense of having to pay Apple top $ to do it for them). In my world, even those not keen on swapping the battery themselves could be forced to swap that gasket every once in a while to retain water resistance. Now sure they could have Apple do it for them, but they would still have to worry about when does it need swapping (after every drop? after two years? after I open it to see what’s inside?). And I’m pretty sure Apple sees a majority of their users not wanting to have to concern themselves with that.

The path Apple chose is not the one I would prefer for myself, but I think it is a legitimate path in order to maximize convenience for the hands-off crowd. No doubt that comes at a cost. And the bottom line here IMHO is that that cost is not equally justified to all depending on where they fall on that hands-off scale.


To be fair, Apple does offer the Self Service Repair Program. It’s not cheap or easy, but it does give people access to the manuals, tools, and parts they need. I haven’t yet heard from anyone who has used it.

I found out the hard way 3rd party shops work is not always reliable. Within a year of purchasing a second hand iPhone had to replace battery, screen and even the charging cable. Since then I always let Apple replace the battery and whatever else is necessary. Never had issues again.

Some of my older Apple devices are in the vintage list. For them my careful intervention or a trusted repair man are necessary. I actually found interesting to disassemble my Mac over the years to replace bits worn out or to upgrade. Most of it won’t be possible with newer models now. Haven’t tried them yet to discover if the loss of self-repair options are worth less than design innovations.

Also, per Nuke, we know what the “Apple Repair Tax” is (current dollars): 130 vs. 235.

I’ll gladly pay the extra $105 if it means a more reliable product in the first place. The best repair is the one that never happens.