Apple is set to replace screws on service repaired iPhone 4's with a tamper-proof version in order to stop people from opening up the device.
Kyle Wiens, chief executive of iFixit, a prominent Apple repair and parts supplier, said the purpose of the new screws is to keep people out of the iPhone and prevent them from replacing the battery. He said he noticed in November that screws were being switched. According to the source, "If you took your car in for service and they welded your hood shut, you wouldn't be very happy".
According to two people with first-hand knowledge of the practice, when a customer brings in a phone for repair to one of the 236 USA Apple stores, the standard Phillips screws are replaced with "Pentalobe" screws. Customers are given their phones back with out any knowledge of this whatsoever.
The Pentalobe screw first appeared on the battery section of a Macbook Pro laptop in 2009, Wiens said. It also can be found on the exterior of Apple's new MacBook Air notebook.
The source also claims that the new phones shipping from Japan already come with these new screws straight from the factory. In the past, Apple has gone to what some might call extremes to protect its intellectual property. A well reported example is the misplaced iPhone 4 prototype.