Originally Posted by FUEGO
I wonder when the Apple memo outlining the additional revenues and profits that non-upgradability will generate. After all, if you are facing a $200 battery replacement (and possibly other expensive replacements/upgrades) or $1000-2000 to just buy a new system, which do you think many consumers opt for? Even though I have never seen an apple product I would buy, I love their business models (as a shareholder via my index funds). Profit maximization to the max!
I don't think you'll find that memo. This came up in some of the meetings I attended back when I was working. (former Apple engineer in recovery...) In general, components that were upgraded or replaced by only a very small part of the user base were candidates for becoming replaceable only as part of a larger module in-store or at a repair facility.
A keyboard, for example, might be improved to the point where it was very unlikely to fail over the life of a machine, at which point the keyboard might be integrated in the case top along with the trackpad, making the field replacement unit a case top assembly rather than just the keyboard, so as to reduce the case top thickness and number of connectors run between the case top and main board. (Replaced case tops would be routed back to rework, where useable parts could be reclaimed for factory refurbishment, and otherwise recycled properly.)
The goal in redesign that removed user replaceable pieces was normally an improved user experience, in longer battery life, reduced weight, or more comfortable form factor. Replacement components and assemblies were generally priced at cost+handling. Yeah, even those expensive batteries at 4 times the cost of a no-name replacement from Amazon.com. (having a no-name battery stop taking a charge after 6 months, or even better blow its content over my desk pointed out the difference to me... I'm still finding lithium salts in odd corners of my office.)
The integrated batteries found in iGadgets and the laptops typically allow about 30% more capacity than a removable battery. The extra capacity comes from replacing the battery well and connector in the case, and the puncture resistant battery housing and connector with more battery. That is, with the battery sealed inside the machine case, all those extra plastic bits needed to protect the consumer can be eliminated and replaced with more battery capacity.
I never heard anyone talk about using this as a lever to raise profits from repair or parts sales.
I suspect the folks here at ER.org are a bit unusual in how long they keep equipment. (I know I am!) The average consumer out there in the mid to high end market where Apple sells tends to replace desktop systems around every 3.6 years, and laptops every 3 years. (I'm using a 5 year old desktop, and 8 year old laptop. Weirdo...)
OT Fun Read for Marketing Math Weenies: http://www.columbia.edu/~brg2114/files/gordon_cpu.pdf