iMac Hard Drives: Why Did Apple Make Them Hard to Replace?

| Ted Landau's User Friendly View

If you buy a new 2011 iMac and decide to replace its internal hard drive with a higher-capacity third-party drive, be prepared for troubleAs detailed by Other World Computing (makers of third-party drive upgrades), what had already been difficult to do is now near impossible:

“Since late 2009, there’s been a well-documented issue with the iMac line. If you upgrade the hard drive, the fans can start spinning like crazy. The fans at high speed are loud, mainly unnecessary, and have caused a lot of headaches for DIYers everywhere.” 

Eventually, OWC found a way to work around this obstacle. Until now. The 2011 iMac has a new custom SATA power connector as well as proprietary firmware on the drive itself. As a result, OWC found that: 

“Every workaround we’ve tried…resulted in spinning fans and an Apple Hardware Test failure.”

This also spells trouble for those seeking to replace a broken drive with an identically-sized non-Apple-supplied alternative. In such cases, your primary (perhaps your only) option is to have Apple (or an Apple Authorized Service Provider) do the repair.

iMac

The big questions 

Exactly why did Apple make this design change? What was Apple’s goal in creating the redesigned hardware? Who was the intended primary beneficiary of the change?

From years of previous experience, I am certain that Apple is not about to provide answers to these questions. While I haven’t called them up to confirm my expectation, I haven’t seen any comment from Apple anywhere on the web.

In other words, we are left to read the tea leaves and attempt to answer these questions ourselves. As for me, I can imagine three possible explanations. They are not mutually exclusive. The final truth may represent a combination of these possibilities.

Apple conspiracy

The first theory is the one that has received the most play on the web. Indeed, OWC itself initially suggested it:

“Is this planned obsolescence at work, or is the freedom promised in 1984 being revoked?”

The idea is that Apple deliberately set out to make it as difficult as possible to replace an internal hard drive. Why? Two reasons.

First, it means more money for Apple. The design forces users with a problem drive to come to Apple for a replacement or (even better for Apple) buy an new iMac altogether.

Second, it is consistent with Apple’s supposed desire to maintain ultra-tight control over its hardware and software. Apple doesn’t offer hard drive replacements as a user-installable option on these iMacs. This means Apple doesn’t want users (or any unauthorized third-parties) attempting a “do-it-yourself” solution. Extending this reasoning, Apple may decide to do whatever it can to prevent you (or a third-party such as OWC) from making such an attempt.

This alarmist theory is perhaps best exemplified in this quote from ExtremeTech:

“What we’re seeing here is the beginning of forced obsolescence. Rest assured that proprietary SATA cables and hard drives are just the beginning. Next there’ll be tamper-proof screws that self-destruct if you turn them with the wrong amount of force. And bear traps — there’ll be bear traps that cut your fingers in half, if you try to fiddle with your hardware — and eventually, there’ll just be a kill switch that disables your computer when the new model is released.”

Is this really what’s behind these changes? I doubt it. It just doesn’t make sense when you scrutinize it closely enough. For starters, very very few iMac owners will ever avail themselves of a non-Apple hard drive replacement. It seems odd for Apple to spend much, if any, time worrying about this possibility. Further, if Apple truly wanted to block third-party upgrades, you’d think they could find a more direct way of doing so — other than modifying how the fan is affected by the temperature sensing mechanism. Why not instead require Apple-supplied drives to include proprietary firmware that is detected by the iMac? Any drive without this firmware would not work in the iMac.

Even OWC backpedaled in a follow-up to their initial blog entry (possibly to head-off a hostile reaction from Apple):

“I want to be very clear that I think these are absolutely the best iMacs ever. These machines up the game considerably and provide performance that can even match up with the Mac Pro for a lot of applications.”

The article went on to offer a couple of partial work-arounds that would allow you to install OWC hard drives without triggering the fan problem.

All of that said, I do not totally dismiss the conspiracy theory. It would certainly not be the first instance of such behavior from Apple. For example, back in January, iFixit reported on “Apple’s Diabolical Plan to Screw Your iPhone” — by switching to custom screws that made it almost impossible for anyone but Apple to remove the back cover of the phone. The same article cites Apple installing similar screws on MacBooks “to prevent you from replacing the battery.” And, of course, Apple makes it as difficult as possible for users to directly access the iOS system software.

Apple indifference

This scenario begins with the fact, as I already noted, that the internal drive is a not a user-serviceable part. Only Apple authorized providers are supposed to even touch it. By this logic, Apple need not be concerned as to whether or not any design change affects the ease with which “non-authorized” upgrades can be done. As far as Apple is concerned, non-authorized upgrades don’t exist. As such, whatever reason (trivial or serious) Apple had for making the change, how the change affected third-party upgrades never came up for discussion. It is possible that the folks at Apple weren’t even aware of the consequences of what they did until OWC pointed it out. Even if they did know, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario where that would be their primary motivation.

Apple necessity

The third possibility is that there is a valid technical rationale for making the change, one that is important enough that it overrides any consideration regarding third-party upgrades. I can only speculate what this might be. Perhaps Apple found that temperature sensing is significantly more accurate or more reliable with the new design. Perhaps the new design avoids some symptom that Apple had discovered in its testing. It might even be that the new design is less costly to manufacture.

The final variation on this possibility, one that you often see put forward in discussions of Apple’s motives, is that Apple is trying to protect us — from the possible damage that might occur if you mess around with things that you are not supposed to mess around with.

This theory is the opposing slant to the conspiracy theory. This is the “Apple is being good rather than evil” explanation.

Personally, I remain skeptical of these explanations. I doubt that cost-saving was a factor. Otherwise, Apple might have more simply gone for the industry-standard S.M.A.R.T. reporting for temperature. I reject the “protect the end-user” idea as too unlikely: end-users almost never try such upgrades themselves and OWC has a reputation for doing an excellent job in assisting users. [Follow-up added: If Apple truly wanted to protect us from trouble, one could argue they should make such upgrades easier to do, not more likely to fail. The best one can say is that such design changes make it less likely you will try an upgrade. That’s an indirect form of protection. Still, this assumption only works if potential upgraders are aware of the implications of the design change. Yet Apple has made zero effort to make this information public.]

As to addressing a design flaw, this is possible. However, I find it unlikely that there was a temperature/fan problem with the previous generation of iMacs that was never noticed by users and never reported on the Web. If no one ever noticed it, how significant could the problem be? More likely is that the design shift is in response to some related change introduced in the new models.

Bottom line

On balance, Apple indifference seems the most likely explanation. Sure, Apple might have been aware of the implications of the new design. They might even view inhibiting third-party upgrades as a positive bonus of the change. And sure, there must be some technical reason that Apple views the new design as an improvement. Otherwise, why bother making the change at all? So all three reasons may have played a role. Still, I believe the primary factor is that Apple simply doesn’t care about the consequences here. It doesn’t care whether or not a change affects the ability for companies such as OWC to service a part that is not intended to be serviceable by unauthorized third-parties. Apple does what it feels is best, independent of such considerations. It’s a simple as that.

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Comments

mhikl

The ways of the Lord are at times hard to comprehend. Or so it seems.

So, it remains a conundrum.

Tardis

i have a 27-inch iMac and it is an AWESOME computer

i cannot imagine taking it apart to “upgrade” the hard drive. In any case, as a sensible precaution, I have the 3-year AppleCare insurance, so if the drive fails, it is Apple’s job to replace it.

I have experience of this, hard drives fail, Apple replaces them under AppleCare. It is a good deal. Re-start from your back-up - you DO have a back-up, don’t you? and you’re good to go.

So, I value the service Apple offers, and I do not see why Apple should support third-party repairers. It’s not conspiracy, indifference or necessity, now that Apple can deliver all parts of the experience. That’s tough for the third-party providers, but better for users.

daemon

LoL@Tardis! Yeah cause wanting a faster, bigger, lower energy consuming hard drive is such a questionable thing that couldn’t possibly be a real upgrade!

Ted, Apple has gone out of it’s way to prevent customers from upgrading their machines for one purpose, money. From Apple’s perspective every SSD you install on your iMac for a personal cost of $200 is $1500 out of Apple’s pocket. Every terabyte drive you install is $500 out of Apple’s pocket. Look at the premiums Apple puts on part upgrades, those aren’t reasonable charges! Apple doesn’t want you to be able to do anything to your iMac, that’s why you have to pry off the glued on screen to get ay the hard drive!

Ted Landau

I do not see why Apple should support third-party repairers

Nothing in the article suggests that Apple *should* support third-party repairers. And certainly if your iMac is under warranty or you have AppleCare, and all you want is a replacement for a broken drive, Apple is the way to go.

If you want to upgrade your working drive to a larger size, your point breaks down somewhat. Even with a broken drive, if you don’t have AppleCare, third-party replacements are typically much cheaper than Apple’s.

However, the main question was more: Why is Apple appearing to go out of its way to block such repairers? In this regard, it seems to me your view is not really different from mine. “That?s tough for the third-party providers, but better for users” is similar to “Apple does what it feels is best, independent of such considerations.”

M. Block

My son has a year-old 27” iMac. Uses it for gaming and video editing. The internal temperature is scary hot, and the heat coming out the top of that thing can cook an egg. User forums are full of reports like mine. Happily, the iMac works fine and has never given us any problems, but I suspect it’s pushing the outside of the envelope, temperature-wise. Therefore, I suspect that the new power connectors and firmware have been implemented to keep reliability as high as possible, given the heat that can be generated.

Ted Landau

Apple has gone out of it?s way to prevent customers from upgrading their machines for one purpose, money. From Apple?s perspective every SSD you install on your iMac for a personal cost of $200 is $1500 out of Apple?s pocket. Every terabyte drive you install is $500 out of Apple?s pocket.

Except…the situation described here does not affect the SSD drive slot, just the internal HD slot. I believe OWC is still fully able to add an after-market SSD in a new iMac without any fan problem. At the same time, Apple does not directly compete here. That is, if you don’t get the SSD drive when you buy the iMac, my understanding is that Apple will not install one later.

Sure, Apple charges a premium on upgrades. They’ve done that for decades. But I still don’t think that’s the driving force behind these design changes.

RonMacGuy

I agree on the heat comment.  My 24” iMac (now 4 years old) had a hard drive die after less than 2 years.  Under AppleCare warranty it was replaced for free (except my having to drive 1 hour to get to an Apple store two different time).  Restored from Time Machine and good to go.

Now that it is out of warranty, I would consider swapping drives myself if current one fails, which I am assuming I could do on a 4 year old iMac.

I actually have a small fan blowing across the back of the iMac due to the amount of heat being generated.

Tardis

M. Block:

Yes, the Big iMac heats up! Even so, the fans don’t usually kick in. When they did, last summer, I thought there were helicopters hovering outside my window ...

Ted:

My comment did not question whether or not you think Apple “should” support third-party repairers. I think we can all agree that Apple can choose whether to provide support or leave it to third parties, depending on which choice is the best solution for the customer.

However, I have to say, the tone of the article suggests that you believe that Apple deliberately made iMac hard drive components hard to replace, to the detriment of the user experience.

Perhaps you could help me, my iMac has a 2-terabyte hard drive, of which about 1.5-terabyte is still available. So just what trouble should I be prepared for and what higher-capacity third-party drive should I want to upgrade to?

Ted Landau

However, I have to say, the tone of the article suggests that you believe that Apple deliberately made iMac hard drive components hard to replace

That was not my intent. Not sure what made you think that.

Clearly, what Apple did makes the hard drive more difficult to replace (at least by any party other than Apple). Whether that was a “deliberate” primary motivation or a secondary consequence—that was what was up for debate. As such, I asserted that the “deliberate” conspiracy was unlikely in this case ? although I thought Apple was certainly capable of doing such things and had done so in other instances.

redptc

The hard drive in my son’s older iMac failed without warning recently.  Unfortunately and unknown to me he had turned off the external backup drive some time back so we didn’t have a recent backup.  The Apple store replaced the drive for us and I took the failed drive home to see if I could recover the lost data.  My question is, are the new drives compatible with any external cases or cables so that they can be accessed after the fact for recovery purposes?  Fortunately I was able to get his old drive to spin up one more time and quickly copied off the contents.  That may not be an option with new proprietary connectors.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Probably heating. Since Apple went to the all-in-one screen design, they’ve most definitely pushed the heat envelope to get thinner and sleeker. It’s mostly a theoretical issue now, as the computers are new. But when they are 2 years old and customers are looking for inexpensive ways to extend their lives or repurpose them, this stuff will hurt.

RonMacGuy

Good points, Brad.

wab95

Ted:

Nicely balanced assessment. There is one additional item you could log under your ‘Apple Necessity’ bullet. Liability.

Pure speculation on my part, but it may be that, when Apple analysed where their own costs for iMac repairs under warranty were coming from, hard drive replacement - related repairs may have been an issue. In this case, Apple may be simply trying to limit their losses.

Staying with the cost-reduction theme (I don’t believe this is a big enough fraction of revenue for Apple that they make any real money on this), they may simply want these sorts of upgrades sufficiently painful to motivate users to, a priori, commit to a configuration and live with it, thank you very much. Even without having to eat the cost of botched replacements, labour and parts may be running at an operational loss, in which case, make upgrades impractical.

Again, just speculation.

John C. Welch

Personally, I remain skeptical of these explanations. I doubt that cost-saving was a factor. Otherwise, Apple might have more simply gone for the industry-standard S.M.A.R.T. reporting for temperature

There are some real problems with S.M.A.R.T. for temp data:

1) Not every drive manufacturer implements all parts of S.M.A.R.T. So you have to do rather a bit of work to find drives that have the temp sensing parts of S.M.A.R.T. available. There’s no real minimum requirement to be S.M.A.R.T. - compatible. In fact, you can track a single value, and be “S.M.A.R.T. compatible”.

2) Even if they do implement temp sensing, they don’t always implement the same values. For example, there are four temperature values, but some are only implemented by one or two companies on specific drives.

It does no good to use S.M.A.R.T. for temp sensing when there’s no way to reliably count on S.M.A.R.T. providing the data you need from drive to drive. It makes rather a lot of sense for Apple to not use S.M.A.R.T. in this case, and instead, implement something they can actually rely on.

Tom in NM

Lots of interesting “current” reasons for the HD upgrade lockout.

But, I feel that it is being driven by some future feature.
I would also point out, that with the Thunderbolt port, internal hard drives could be a very moot issue in a few years. Somewhere down Apples Roadmap, there is probably an Exit marked “All Internal Hard Drives Exit Here!”

RonMacGuy

internal hard drives could be a very moot issue in a few years

Great point Tom.  In fact, Apple should make that a possibility today.  Order iMac with no internal hard drive (or maybe just SSD - serious heat improvement internally) and two external Thunderbolt hard drives (one for OS/files and one for time machine backups.  Problem is, they take up space and wires are ugly - that’s the whole point of making an all-in-one.

Better yet, boot from and back up to hard drives hidden in closet - wireless speeds should sustain pretty good speeds…

dhp

My immediate reaction to Apple’s HD change was very negative, but then I thought: I bought a new iMac with a 500 GB drive last fall. I had used my previous Mac, an iMac G5, for five years or so and never came close to filling its 250 GB hard drive. (I do have externals.)

Hard drive space just seems so plentiful and cheap now, but there doesn’t seem to be that much of an increase in need for space for the average user. Back in 1999 when I got into DV editing (at five minutes per GB) and my shiny new PowerMac G3 had an 8 GB drive, it was painful. But DV is still five minutes per gig and most people are using more compact formats anyway. Mp3s are the same.

Garrett

Some possible reasons for it.

1 - users who replace their own drives don’t properly secure the temperature sensor to the new drive when they shove it in there because they don’t have the appropriate glue. “not that I would EVER do such a thing smile
Eventually resulting in improper temperature control and failure of the system due to overheating. Clever plugs and custom firmware aside it will likely result in fewer problems with the system in the short term. Long term (5+ years) the systems will die sooner and the custom power plug alone will cause many people to simply throw in the towel vs repair it.

2 - Apple does not want you to replace the drive PERIOD. Thus resulting in increased upgrades to the default drive at purchase (free money for apple). And/or earlier adoption of new hardware.

I seriously hope they change their mind in the next revision. I have contemplated buying an imac and returning it after a week simply to make a point to apple that its a shit move that pisses me off. I was considering getting one (current imac is 4 years old) but i’ve upgraded my drive TWICE on this one. So the inability to do so is a big big turn off for me.

Ethan

Heat is the killer. My 5 year old Imac started acting up with graphic glitches about a month after my Apple care ran out. Lots of people had an issue and set up a petition:

http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/imacrecall/

So I’m stuck paying someone a lot of money to put in another gpu that will fail in 4-5 years or buy a new iMac (and hope the heat issue is controlled). Seems like a win win for apple. They make money on parts or a new sale.

Apple has been riding the edge for years with the heat in the imacs. Oddly enough this wasn’t even a work horse computer. It runs better in the winter when the room is pretty cold, summer it’s brutal.  Seriously thinking of switching to an hp as a replacement. Can get one less than what the repair shop quoted me. Love the design of the mac but it’s getting hard to justify the cost - especially as the DIY options dry up.

CudaBoy

IMO, Apple has never really wanted us to go inside and replace stuff a la PCs. That’s a little greed($$), a little “big brother control” and Apple arrogance.
The web is littered with excellent videos of step by step repairs of ALL sorts NONE of which Apple supports the user doing - screen replacement on iBooks & Macbooks, battery replacements on so-called non-replaceable ‘books etc. Hard drive replacement should not even be in this class of actions. Using Applecare to upgrade a hard drive is so ridiculous it’s not funny- as you end up paying 4 times the amount - that’s your Applecare fee plus the rip-off price Apple will charge for the drive.
It takes about 5 minutes to install a HD in a tower, notwithstanding the design compromises an all in one iMac or laptop must suffer, I still have a hard time -especially considering Apple’s generally stellar designs - believing that Apple doesn’t deliberately make it very hard to replace HD’s and batteries etc. in the non towers. The actual “WHY” Apple does this is not as important as to the fact that they DO it at all, and that is NOT COOL.

John C. Welch

IMO, Apple has never really wanted us to go inside and replace stuff a la PCs. That?s a little greed($$), a little ?big brother control? and Apple arrogance.

Your opinion is not backed by data. For some models, Apple has made component replacement trivial. For others, not so much. However, if Apple can see a benefit to a design change, (unibody macbook (pros)), then they’re going to do it, and the fact you can’t easily swap out your hard drive won’t enter into it.

The web is littered with excellent videos of step by step repairs of ALL sorts NONE of which Apple supports the user doing - screen replacement on iBooks & Macbooks, battery replacements on so-called non-replaceable ?books etc. Hard drive replacement should not even be in this class of actions. Using Applecare to upgrade a hard drive is so ridiculous it?s not funny- as you end up paying 4 times the amount - that?s your Applecare fee plus the rip-off price Apple will charge for the drive

Then don’t get AppleCare, and pay full freight. No one is making you do this. You’re also assuming that somehow, NO ONE WILL EVER MAKE A DRIVE FOR THIS OTHER THAN APPLE, WHO DOESN’T MAKE HARD DRIVES ANYWAY.

It takes about 5 minutes to install a HD in a tower, notwithstanding the design compromises an all in one iMac or laptop must suffer, I still have a hard time -especially considering Apple?s generally stellar designs - believing that Apple doesn?t deliberately make it very hard to replace HD?s and batteries etc. in the non towers.

Apple doesn’t make replacements harder as an end goal. But, they also aren’t going to base a design of things like an iMac on making it easy to get inside it. Apple isn’t going to have hatches and the rest all over the place on an iMac or a Macbook. Don’t like it, get a Pro.

The actual ?WHY? Apple does this is not as important as to the fact that they DO it at all, and that is NOT COOL.

I’d bet that less than ten percent of Mac users actually care.

CudaBoy

  1305851745 said:

  IMO, Apple has never really wanted us to go inside and replace stuff a la PCs. That?s a little greed($$), a little ?big brother control? and Apple arrogance.

Your opinion is not backed by data. For some models, Apple has made component replacement trivial. For others, not so much. However, if Apple can see a benefit to a design change, (unibody macbook (pros)), then they?re going to do it, and the fact you can?t easily swap out your hard drive won?t enter into it.

Data? I have 30 years of data. When is the last time you cherry picked your CPU, Motherboard, RAM, video card on a mac??
But, maybe I wasn’t being precise enough. My problem isn’t with the “toy” Apples like laptops and iPhones/Pads - I don’t expect those units to expand or do much more than they are targeted to do.
My problem is with solely the iMac because that baby pretends to be a computer and actually out specs the MacPro temporarily in some graphic ways….
If you don’t see the fault in Apple in this simple hard drive area then I don’t know how to make it more clear.

  1305851745 said:

  The web is littered with excellent videos of step by step repairs of ALL sorts NONE of which Apple supports the user doing - screen replacement on iBooks & Macbooks, battery replacements on so-called non-replaceable ?books etc. Hard drive replacement should not even be in this class of actions. Using Applecare to upgrade a hard drive is so ridiculous it?s not funny- as you end up paying 4 times the amount - that?s your Applecare fee plus the rip-off price Apple will charge for the drive

Then don?t get AppleCare, and pay full freight. No one is making you do this. You?re also assuming that somehow, NO ONE WILL EVER MAKE A DRIVE FOR THIS OTHER THAN APPLE, WHO DOESN?T MAKE HARD DRIVES ANYWAY.

I would never need AppleCare, I don’t buy toys. Again, my point that you missed is that HD replacement should be easy in an iMac, no excuses, no “thermal paste” baloney or fan/cooling problems whether software or hardware monitored. I don’t know what your last part abut the makers of HD’s means - that’s irrelevant. All I know is $90 bought me a new Terrabyte HD for my ol’G5 tower and it was in my Mac in 5 minutes no freight here in L.A. Get it???

Apple isn?t going to have hatches and the rest all over the place on an iMac or a Macbook. Don?t like it, get a Pro.

Putting iMac and Macbook in the same sentence is crazy.
The iMac used to be a big candy ju-ju B dude, but now it’s a big boy - old enough to take a simple HD upgrade without a hiccup - exactly like I’ve been doing with Macs since ‘88.
I don’t quite know why you have a dog in this fight.

John C. Welch

Data? I have 30 years of data. When is the last time you cherry picked your CPU, Motherboard, RAM, video card on a mac??{/quote]
I see what you did there. You moved the goalposts from “being able to replace hard drives and similar” to “OMG YOU CAN’T BUILD YOUR OWN MAC FROM PARTS!!!!!!”

You’ve never done that with any Apple product. Ever. Not the Apple I. Not the Apple II. Not the Apple III, IIc, or anything with the word “mac”. So, your attempt at goalpost moving pretty much fails, because now you’re complaining about something you’ve never been able to do.

But nice try. It might have worked on someone else.

But, maybe I wasn?t being precise enough. My problem isn?t with the ?toy? Apples like laptops and iPhones/Pads - I don?t expect those units to expand or do much more than they are targeted to do.
My problem is with solely the iMac because that baby pretends to be a computer and actually out specs the MacPro temporarily in some graphic ways?.

Lol…annnnd now we come to the private parts waving of our show. “Toy” macs? Like MacBook Pros that ship with a Quad i7s, and dual video cards, discrete and integrated? Oh and thunderbolt? Yeah. Some toys.

I also love the “iMac pretends to be a computer”. Nice. Silly, and incorrect, but shows that you have an extreeeeemly narrow definition of a computer, and one that is juuuust fluid enough that you can move it about nice and easy when someone points out the flaws in your arguments. Not being a tower is not the same as not being a computer. Your insinuation is wrong on every level.

If you don?t see the fault in Apple in this simple hard drive area then I don?t know how to make it more clear.

Given that according to you, the iMac isn’t a “real” computer, and the only thing that is a “real” computer is something Apple has never, ever sold, I doubt you can make anything clear to anyone, since you’re not playing with reality, but rather some fantasy land.

I would never need AppleCare, I don?t buy toys. Again, my point that you missed is that HD replacement should be easy in an iMac, no excuses, no ?thermal paste? baloney or fan/cooling problems whether software or hardware monitored. I don?t know what your last part abut the makers of HD?s means - that?s irrelevant. All I know is $90 bought me a new Terrabyte HD for my ol?G5 tower and it was in my Mac in 5 minutes no freight here in L.A. Get it??

<ducks waving genitalia> When has a hard drive replacement ever been “easy” in an iMac by your definition? Certainly not any intel model. Not in the G4 lamp model. And not really in any of the G3’s either. So, once again, you’re arguing that Apple has “taken away” something that was never there.

A G5 tower is not an iMac. It is not a MacBook Pro, nor is it a kumquat, a toaster, a Mini Cooper, a Piper Cub, or a Saturn V rocket. The fact that swapping a hard drive on one design is relatively simple, and doing the same thing on a completely different piece of hardware from the same manufacturer has no meaning other than everything is not the same. it is far easier to do maintenance on a 1973 Mustang than it is on a 2011 model. That doesn’t make the 2011 crap, or Ford “wrong” or evil. It means that a 1973 mustang and a 2011 mustang have different designs. That’s all.

Putting iMac and Macbook in the same sentence is crazy.
The iMac used to be a big candy ju-ju B dude, but now it?s a big boy - old enough to take a simple HD upgrade without a hiccup - exactly like I?ve been doing with Macs since ?88.
I don?t quite know why you have a dog in this fight.


Um, you keep using G5 Tower and iMac in the same sentences, and it’s just as crazy. Well to anyone with a clue. and no, you have not in fact been swapping hard drives with the same ease in every mac made since 1988 as you do in a G5 tower. That is provably wrong, and you know this.

CudaBoy

I also love the ?iMac pretends to be a computer?. Nice. Silly, and incorrect, but shows that you have an extreeeeemly narrow definition of a computer, and one that is juuuust fluid enough that you can move it about nice and easy when someone points out the flaws in your arguments. Not being a tower is not the same as not being a computer. Your insinuation is wrong on every level.

It’s called sarcasm. iMac went from “toy” to serious computer as some new ones temporarily have a speed advantage over the Mac Pros in a couple of specific areas. iMac HDs were never as easy and sometimes actually a pain to UPGRADE, but they did with no problems. This thread is about that issue. My point is that this new very fast iMac SHOULD have a hiccup-free way to add new HD’s whether SSD or just larger HDs BECAUSE it’s blurring the line between the towers and the gimmicks. That’s all. Apple has great industrial design as you know so your position is indefensible. This isn’t the Ju-Ju-Bee iMac, nor the Table Lamp one, this iMac has a bezel that looks to me to be thick enough for options on HD installation design - whether it’s a panel that unobtrusively slides open on back or a carriage tray that pops from side - that’s not my problem-I’m not the engineer nor am I Jonathan Ives, but as a consumer plunking a couple Grr down for a monster all-in-one, to not have HD upgrades REASONABLY possible (and RAM) for DIY-ers in a unit of the size and dimensions of the NEW iMacs is one thing that’s bogus IMO, then,after you manage to do the upgrade to have the fans and all go screwy?? - I guess if you are happy with that Apple Inc. then so be it.

Well to anyone with a clue. and no, you have not in fact been swapping hard drives with the same ease in every mac made since 1988 as you do in a G5 tower. That is provably wrong, and you know this.


I don’t think I ever swapped a HD out of my SE’s but starting with the IICI and every Mac since HD swaps were very easy and quick. Provably. In fact, the IIci flat type boxes that popped open with the pinch of 2 tabs doesn’t seem to be that much thicker than the new iMacs! Of course it was thicker slightly but there was a lot of room inside too.

CudaBoy

Provably. In fact, the IIci flat type boxes that popped open with the pinch of 2 tabs doesn?t seem to be that much thicker than the new iMacs! Of course it was thicker slightly but there was a lot of room inside too.

I mis-typed. Swap in PowerMac 6100AV for the IICI, the IICI had a much thicker box. The 6100AV was the thin box.

zewazir

My guess is HEAT.  That’s it.  I have worked on a significant number of iMacs with power problems, shutting down or restarting spontaneously. They all came down to heat issues. And the heat issues mostly stemmed from the sensors: HD, optical, LCD panel, and ambient temperature sensors and cables failing, causing the SMC to shut things down, or frying the MLB. The physical design of the iMac makes it one of the most attractive desktops on the market.  Unfortunately, that self-same design makes heat distribution a problem.

To keep the masterful design of the iMac, tracking heat accurately is becoming more of a problem. The alternative would be to run the fans at high speed at all times, which far more people would appreciate even less than those (relative) few worrying about compatibility of third party hardware. Apple’s solution to go with customized hard drives with internal sensors and firmware to track temperature makes sense, even if it does anger a few who want to mess with their machines themselves.

Oh - and who knows for absolutely certain that the manufacturer of Apple’s new style of iMac HDs will not offer them on the open market at market prices?

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