Much is said and little is really known about the mysterious calibration machine for newly repaired iPhones that Apple started using in its official stores a few years ago. Today, however, the world has gotten some more information – and a new photo – of the technology after a journalist from Motherboard offered a reward for this data.
In the image sent by an (obviously) anonymous former employee of an Apple Store, we can clearly see some details: the concentric shapes of a triangle, circle, square and star, used to calibrate the device’s cameras, and the components “Gray Card” (gray card) and “Flock Paper” (suede paper), used to adjust the screen – just don’t ask me how.
Another informant (Apple should be paying very little for these people to be so thirsty for money …) who used to work in an Apple store gave more information about the machine:
It was a big, clumsy machine that, honestly, looked like something someone built in their backyard. There were different “molds” that different models of iPhones were fitted before entering it, and the whole process took around 30 minutes. There was also a strange liquid that needed to be put in the machine, and we needed to wear gloves to operate it. Lots of gas valves and things like that. It literally looked like backyard work – nothing Apple-like no way.
According to other information, these obtained by the AppleInsider, the description and photo are true, but they correspond to a model of the machine that has already been overcome. The newer units, it seems, are more autonomous and have a slightly more refined industrial design. Each Apple store has an unspecified number of these machines, varying in appearance but always with the same functionality.
A detail deserves to be highlighted: these beauties have the unique ability in the world to exchange the component of the Touch ID on a particular iPhone. They perform the process connected to a Mac, which automatically validates the new sensor on Apple’s internal servers.
Such information rekindles the lengthy discussion of the “right to repair” that Apple repair shops (authorized or not) have been claiming for some time. As is well known, these service providers, when changing the front panel of an iPhone, do not touch the Touch ID because they do not have the technology and permission necessary to perform the component change – only Apple’s own stores, thanks to the eccentric machine above, they can change the sensor; devices whose Touch ID component has undergone unauthorized repairs no longer offer biometric locking.
This raises a question: if Apple actually presents a smartphone with the Touch ID integrated into the screen, as everything indicates that it will do with the “iPhone X”, this will leave countless repair shops unable to carry out practically any repairs on these future iPhones; if one of them has a cracked screen, for example, only Apple could change the front panel, as theoretically it would be the only one with the ability to authenticate the new fingerprint reader. Therefore, the authorized ones claim from Apple access to these calibration machines – something that, judging by the level of secrecy of the whole thing, is a prospect that is still far from reality.
What do you think? Should technology be restricted to Apple or is it better to be granted to third parties?