iFixit CEO Slams Huawei For Blindly Copying Apple's Pointless Pentalobe Screws

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

Ouch. Ouch, ouch, ouch. iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens has torn into Huawei in an op-ed on Wired, fiercely criticising the company over its use of a pair of screws. Everything you need to see is in the picture above, which shows an iPhone 6S sat on top of a Huawei P9.

On either side of each phone’s charging port is a peculiar pair of screws, known as pentalobes. According to Wiens, Apple introduced it in the mid-2009 MacBook Pro, before bringing it to the iPhone 4 in 2010. Its sole purpose? To prevent people from opening the phone up.

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As Wiens puts it:

Putting esoteric screws in every iPhone was a strategic move. The design wasn’t patented, but only Apple had the tool needed to remove the damn things. And that meant only Apple could open your phone.

This is essentially security via obscurity, an obstacle that impedes all but the most determined people. No less annoying, they’re another barrier to recycling, albeit a minor one.

iFixit managed to reverse-engineer a pentalobe screwdriver, and now they’re used in repair shops everywhere, rendering the screws, well, essentially pointless. Apple has refused to drop them though, and Wiens is absolutely certain that Huawei only included them in the P9 because it was blindly following the iPhone-maker:

I can’t tell you why Huawei put pentalobe screws in the P9. But I can tell you there is not one functional reason for it.

Frankly, the only reason for Huawei to use a star-shaped security screw is because Apple uses a star-shaped security screw. And Huawei really wants its phone to look like an iPhone. Just like everyone else. Look, I realize artists steal. But the best artists steal only the best ideas. Huawei copied a really stupid idea, and did so for a really stupid reason: Because it looked right.

It's all a bit Mean Girls, like when Janis cuts holes in the nipple parts of Regina George's shirt and everyone else follows suit because Regina's like the queen bee. What do you mean, you don't follow? The scene's here. [Wired]