back to article Apple must fix its self-service repair program, say critics

The debut of Apple's self-service repair program has not mended the rift between the iBiz and repair advocacy groups, which continue to see Cupertino's resistance to product repairs as an effort to retain revenue that might otherwise go to others. Apple on Wednesday launched its Self-Service Repair Store, a website where those …

  1. HildyJ Silver badge
    FAIL

    And you expected?

    Of course the beancounters who run Apple are going to make it as restrictive and expensive as possible. But even I was surprised that even used Apple parts cannot be used even when new Apple parts are unavailable. This is what happens when you turn a previously innovative company over to beancounters.

    As Gordon-Byrne said "I’ll give their marketing team an A+ ,,,".

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: And you expected?

      This was always to be expected: they've learnt the lesson from the car manufacturers. They make the parts available, but can require proprietary (i.e. generally expensive) tools to tell the new parts talk to the system properly.

      There's no obvious reason for serialising parts apart from, well, the obvious: we can charge more if we're a monopoly.

      1. NoneSuch Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: And you expected?

        "Apple did not respond to a request for comment."

        Half the Reg staff would die of shock if Apple ever did reply to one of their inquiries.

    2. Cinderellaphant

      Re: And you expected?

      So Apples don’t Pear? What did you expect?

      They have always been rivals in the highly competitive world of Pomoideae.

    3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: And you expected?

      A significant number of "repairs" are easy now that everyone is working from home ... just get an air-can and carefully blow the cat hair out of the the system and keyboards. No joke icon because I'm typing this on a keyboard that needs this fix.

  2. Potemkine! Silver badge

    FUD

    The PR BS is easy to guess: "parts pairing is absolutely necessary to protect our users from grasshopper plague, Martian invasion and Armageddon that will inevitably occur if they use third-party parts. We value our customers and their privacy / security / happiness and blah blah, blah blah blah."

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: FUD

      I am fully aware that you used the phrase "We value our customers..." in a quote, to rightly mock whoever might use it...

      I still have an irrational urge to punch you in the face for using it. Um, sorry about that.

      1. M.V. Lipvig Bronze badge

        Re: FUD

        But they do value their customers, and that value is 1000 dollars times the number of phones you can be expected to buy over a lifetime, times 1.10 per year. The more phones you are forced to buy, the more they value you. And butterfingers are the most highly prized of all.

        Obviously, if you can save the cost of a new thousand dollar phone by replacing a 50 dollar screen or battery, you become less valuable.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: FUD

          Not necessarily, they make 60% margin on selling services but much lower margins on selling you an iPhone every 3 years. Plus everyone buying a flagship Apple phone is getting it on contract form their mobile supplier with insurance and regular replacement

          Apple don't want a glut of cheap refurbished iPhones on ebay but not because it hurts sales of $1000 new phones, but because those cheap customers aren't buying Apple monthly services and it annoys the networks who rely on charging customers $100/month every month for a new phone every 3 years

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Andy A Bronze badge
    Facepalm

    It's not just serialised parts which are unavailable

    Commonly failing components which are NOT serialised are "unavailable" through the scheme.

    Someone forces the wrong cable into your charge port and breaks it?

    Tough. The charge port is NOT on the list of available parts.

    "Just buy a new phone and give us all that lovely extra profit."

  4. naive

    We live in a free market economy

    If Apple decides to sell iPhones with the case filled with some heat conducting polyester compound, making any repair attempt impossible, they are free to do this. If people continue to buy such devices by the billions, then it is a perfect decision within the metrics of free market and short term capitalist profit making.

    Similar to soldering SSD drives on the motherboards of MacBooks, it borders criminal intent to turn expensive gear into E-Waste within the shortest amount of time after the warranty period expired.

    Creating legislation to cover all aspects of "Right to repair" will be close to impossible, there are too many ways EOM manufacturers can subtly sabotage repair attempts. The solution is to simply make hard to repair products expensive for the first buyer or the manufacturer.

    To legally define what is "hard to repair" will be difficult.

    A solution to reduce waste, legislators could simply increase legally required warranty periods for anything that costs over $100 to 5-10 years. In this case, the free market will do its thing in a positive manner, manufacturers will automatically be turning out products which are easy to repair, otherwise they would end up with high costs fulfilling warranty claims.

    Such an increase in warranty would have a positive impact on reduction of waste and CO2 emissions. It would also have a positive impact on local employment, since Big-Tech would have to create repair franchises in countries where they sell their products, creating a situation where it shares benefits with others.

    1. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: We live in a free market economy

      A solution to reduce waste, legislators could simply increase legally required warranty periods for anything that costs over $100 to 5-10 years. In this case, the free market will do its thing in a positive manner, manufacturers will automatically be turning out products which are easy to repair

      BS. Manufacturers will make cheap devices they will replace entirely, generating a huge waste of resource and energy, just because it's more profitable than having a human taking the time to fix the device.

      Free market is what led us to the current situation of waste, over-consuming, pollution generation. Believing it will solve all the problems is magical thinking.

    2. jilocasin
      Black Helicopters

      Re: We live in a free market economy

      Actually, we don't.

      If we did, then people would be free to do what they wanted with the products they had purchased. Instead, companies rely on the government, via mechanisms such as patent and copyright, to prohibit people from doing what they want with their private property.

      So if you are *truly* advocating for a free market approach, then you would be clamoring to eliminate the government granted monopolies that companies use as a crutch to artificially inflate their control and by extension their profits.

      In the interim, we need laws to be passed to reign in their baser instincts that are harming consumers, the country, and even the economy itself.

      Thank you for playing.....

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: We live in a free market economy

        "Instead, companies rely on the government, via mechanisms such as patent and copyright, to prohibit people from doing what they want with their private property."

        In this case, that's not what's happening. If we eliminated every copyright and patent that Apple owns today, the problem of repair is exactly the same tomorrow. Apple's serial locking code and whatever keys they use to make it work aren't out there, so it doesn't much matter that it would be illegal to copy them. Eliminating protections on IP doesn't help you when they can get what they want by not releasing information. The only ways you could prevent them from doing it are forbidding it outright, increasing the cost to them so they choose not to do it anymore, or forcibly breaking into their systems, finding the internal code, leaking it, and continuing to do that every time they update it.

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    What does Louis Rossmann say?

    "After 15 years, is this really the best you can do? In my opinion this is designed to show to legislators to say 'look, we already did what you asked, why are you forcing us to do... look, you don't want to write legislation, you want to go home and do nothing, don't come up with the draft of a bill, just go back to doing what you're doing, and let us do what we're doing and leave us the F alone'. I think that's the intention of this programme. If this programme were actually intended to be useful it would have parts to phones which are two-and-a-half years old, the point at which phone batteries actually start to die..."

    Link

    1. Not Yb
      Pint

      Re: What does Louis Rossmann say?

      The batteries should be the easiest parts to replace, but then they'd not have an excuse to sell you the new shiny.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Instead of 'right to repair', manufacturers should have a 'requirement to warranty'.

    Manufacturers shouldn't be paid to make products worse. They should be required to repair or pay for repairs of devices that go bad with normal use. This would reduce the incentive to make products that need repairs, as well as reduce the extra pollution needed to make new devices/parts when the old ones go bad.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Instead of 'right to repair', manufacturers should have a 'requirement to warranty'.

      I'm sure they would be all for this.

      You can only get your BMW repaired at a BMW dealer, the cost of 3-5 years of service is built into the price.

      After that there is no more requirement to repair and you buy a new BMW, you don't have a choice because you can't sell your used BMW to anybody else because only BMW can service it.

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