iFixit has been tearing apart gadgets for years, helping everyone understand the inner workings of MacBooks, the Apple Watch, Android phones, digital cameras, and more. But now, the California-based company has seemingly fallen foul of the mighty Apple, following a recent teardown of the latest Apple TV.
Apple has a policy against developers divulging details on products that aren’t yet freely available on the market — the $150 4th generation Apple TV isn’t expected to ship to consumers until late October. By pulling apart the Apple TV developer unit and publishing its findings, iFixit quoted Apple as saying, its terms and conditions had been violated, and iFixit’s actions “may hinder the performance or intended use of the App Store, B2B Program, or the Program,” said Kyle Wiens, iFixit cofounder and CEO, in a blog post.
However, not only has the offending developer account been shuttered, according to iFixit, but the iFixit Repair Manual app has been pulled, because it was tied to the same developer account. The app provides guides on how to fix popular consumer gadgets, including cracked iPhone screens.
In fairness to Apple, it is well-known that it has stringent policies in place for developers it sends prerelease units too. And iFixit doesn’t seem to have too many complaints about the closure of its account — in fact, it acknowledged it was aware of the risks.
“The developer unit we disassembled was sent to us by Apple — evidently, they didn’t intend for us to take it apart,” explained Wiens. “But we’re a teardown and repair company; teardowns are in our DNA — and nothing makes us happier than figuring out what makes these gadgets tick. We weighed the risks, blithely tossed those risks over our shoulder, and tore down the Apple TV anyway.”
It seems no plans are afoot to try to relaunch the app, as it was “outdated, and iOS 9 introduced some major bugs into the system — fixing them would require a substantial rewrite to a bunch of iOS 4-era code,” added Wiens. Instead, the company is now working on its mobile site. And there’s an Android app, too.
We’ve reached out to Apple for comment and will update here if or when we hear back.