*sigh* - Silly People
Reg: I don't care for the tone of this article. It's nothing but a cheap shot with no thought as to why this may have happened.
Let's look at this logically for a second.
1. It's an AIO. What goes on inside shouldn't concern you much (although how reliable it is as a whole should).
2. If you don't agree with #1 buy a Mac Pro, a linux, or win7 box. The iMac (and probably the portables) will not be for you.
3. Steve Jobs (or an SVP, etc) did not sit around some table musing about ways to screw people out of money and come up with fitting a custom HDD. Thats just silly.
4. What actually happened is engineers made a call that a more accurate HDD temp sensor system made a measurable impact in service life. (thus making the entire unit, which is what we are concerned about in an AIO, more reliable)
5. This is not about money to such a degree that they are actually spending more money to do this. (If it isn't a bog standard drive with bog standard cables/firmware, it is costing them more. Guaranteed.)
6. Someone somewhere along the way brought up the point that this would stop, or at least seriously hamper, customers from being able to pop the case and change the drive. - To that end they would have looked at overall statistics and realized that 90%+ of all users used External HDD's when it was time to upgrade, and also talked to applecare who said opening the machine voided the warranty. (whether they look the other way on a regular basis or not is a different matter).
7. Another reason I wouldn't get too hung up about it; Chances are very good that the rest of the line (With the exception of the MP, where this sort of thing actually matters to an appreciable percent of their customer base) is going this way as well. I anticipate a not-to-distant future where every part of the system is soldered down and compacted as much as is physically (as in, the laws of physics) possible. An upgrade will be changing the entire logic board.
7b (Edit). And you would be remiss if you don't think the general computer marketplace isn't looking at what Apple is doing here. Good bad or indifferent the sales figures and stock numbers are telling a story, and that is that people are willing to spend good money on highly integrated, non serviceable products. (assuming the support is there for when things go wrong). This is the biggest case for Thunderbolt in my mind. It gives us a good, fast, low level external I/O capable of real work. Allowing it to fail may doom us to a period of highly integrated, low or zero expansion systems with no high quality low level external I/O options.
8. Even if you don't agree with anything I said, within 16 months someone will have an elegant hack for it.
Calm down people, it's not that big of a deal. It's actually understandable, and if you look at it from a realistic viewpoint it is probably a reasonable decision.