back to article World checks it's not April 1 as Apple signals support for full US right-to-repair rule

Apple is backing the Biden Administrations' push for a nationwide right-to-repair law but, as with all things Apple, always check the terms and conditions.  Speaking at a White House event on nationwide right to repair legislation, Apple VP and GM of service, Brian Naumann, expressed support for an expansion of right to repair …

  1. Catkin Silver badge

    Part Pairing

    I was able to make a 5th generation iPod better than any available at the time of release by upgrading it with solid state storage and a colossal battery (occupying the space where the thicker hard drive was). It can now play music continuously for around one week and has the capacity to back up that endurance. If I had to use an internet-facing portal to authorise those part swaps, I likely wouldn't be able to because they're third party and, even if it were supported, it would only be by Apple's good graces if the portal were still available after the 17 years since its first release.

    It is very much in Apple's interests to shutter any mandated support the minute they are allowed to.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Part Pairing

      this is true but the released repair manuals etc wont go away

      third parties will make compatible replacement parts .

      and if thay then insist on a " portal to authorise those part swaps," for hardware out of the legal support period , surely this'll be seen as direct sabotage of people's rights and the law updated if they cant be roundly whipped for it already?

      1. Catkin Silver badge

        Re: Part Pairing

        >and if thay then insist on a " portal to authorise those part swaps," for hardware out of the legal support period , surely this'll be seen as direct sabotage of people's rights and the law updated if they cant be roundly whipped for it already?

        I think Apple will (sadly) easily get away with that, given that they were able to get a prohibiting clause dropped from the legislation. I don't see how they'd be in any more danger for causing sabotage outside of the required support window.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "They use third-party parts"

    ...which are often of lesser quality and in some cases (batteries) quite possibly less safe.

    I agree with official parts being harvested, but the problem here is that many little independent repair shops will use non-genuine parts which leads to a worse experience for the end user. Of course if they're given an explicit choice that's one thing, but honestly in many cases I think the consumer is worse off if not given a choice but just sold a lesser part.

    Parts pairing is just a nonsense though. If all the security is on the custom silicon, why does it matter if the parts feeding it are swapped? A face is a face, a fingerprint is a fingerprint...

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: "They use third-party parts"

      If all the security is on the custom silicon, why does it matter if the parts feeding it are swapped?

      Having control over that makes stolen phones useless for parting out.

      So long as they can provide a reasonable procedure for harvesting parts from broken phones that aren't stolen (i.e. where the activation lock has been disabled or similar) I don't see the objection. Would it really matter if the last step in an iPhone repair was for the phone to "phone home" to tell Apple its parts have changed? Some message like "iPhone serial number ABC123 now has display serial number XYZ789 installed"

      So long as it was automatically "approved" so long as it wasn't a stolen part and you didn't have to pay Apple anything for that privilege, then in home and third party repairs would not be hindered in any way.

      1. Xalran

        Re: "They use third-party parts"

        You know that you can block a mobile phone to ever be used once it's been stolen ?

        It's called IMEI blacklisting, and at least in Europe it's mandatory for the $TELCO.

        If you're phone gets stolen, you give the IMEI to the police, and voila, the phone can't be used anymore in any country that share the blacklist.

        The nice thing is that you can't change the IMEI of a mobile.

        The caveat is that the phone can still be used in countries/ on telecom networks that don't have and share the blacklist.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: "They use third-party parts"

          Blocking the IMEI doesn't stop it from being broken down for parts, that's what Apple is blocking by tying the parts together. If thieves can't use a stolen iPhone as a phone because of activation lock (by Apple) or IMEI blacklisting (by carriers) the only thing it is good for is parts. If it isn't good for parts then there is no longer any incentive to steal iPhones.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: "They use third-party parts"

      "I agree with official parts being harvested, but the problem here is that many little independent repair shops will use non-genuine parts which leads to a worse experience for the end user. "

      The batteries for my Canon camera are now around $50 for the Canon OEM version and $7.99ish for a knock off brand. The Canon batteries do outlast the 3rd party ones by about a year, but that's still a huge premium. The capacity is around the same even though the 3rd party ones claim much higher. Of course they do since there is no downside as government officials don't have time to address things like that with all it takes to operate a robust insider trading business.

      Plenty of replacement parts for something like a phone are made in the same factories on the "4th shift". A charge controller IC from Texas Instruments is the same no matter what distributor you get it from. There are plenty of second had OEM parts from breakers in China with entire blocks of markets dedicated to iPhone and Galaxy parts so it's possible to get OEM replacement parts that an independent shop can repair your phone with. It's still easier to just order the parts from the manufacturer. Companies such as Apple should realize that if I need to repair my iPhone (if I had one), I may not be in a position to buy a new one and that could mean I'd buy an Android so I have a phone to use. OTOH, if I could have my iPhone repaired for the same or less locally, the same day, I'd continue on with an Apple phone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "They use third-party parts"

        "The batteries for my Canon camera are now around $50 for the Canon OEM version and $7.99ish for a knock off brand."

        They're in tough shells, easily swappable. Phone batteries aren't - and often they can swell if they are poorly made.

        1. snowpages

          Re: "They use third-party parts"

          The original ones can swell too, not just the copies.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: batteries can swell

            Most sealed batteries swell. I found out even alkaline AA batteries swell some.

            Found a neet LED area light that works great for picking up after the dog on nighttime outings. Easier to use as you don't have to aim it accurately while holding the light, the dog's leash (with the dog pulling to sniff somewhere else) and doggy bag.

            Only down side was the metal case didn't let the batteries rattle around like most flashlights. Seems the extra space is required. If the batteries are run down too much it is nearly impossible to get them out.

      2. IamStillIan

        Re: "They use third-party parts"

        "Companies such as Apple should realize that if I need to repair my iPhone (if I had one), I may not be in a position to buy a new one and that could mean I'd buy an Android so I have a phone to use. OTOH, if I could have my iPhone repaired for the same or less locally, the same day, I'd continue on with an Apple phone."

        If they believed that (and they do study the market), they'd change. Apple phones are the more up market option; which means they tend to be owned by people who can afford to replace them, or at very laest consider it an essential which is worth spending larger sums on. People who are really struggling with that, probably already moved elsewhere..

        1. simonlb Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: "They use third-party parts"

          Apple phones are the more up market option

          If their current prices are "up-market", I hate to think what their premium pricing would be like.

      3. Xalran

        Re: "They use third-party parts"

        Not even the 4th shift...

        I'll give an example related to IP and fiber networks. SFP modules, lets say a Finisar 1GB SX module, can come in with many other companies brand on it.

        It can come with the -RB tail to tell you it's an Ericsson Approved module

        It can come with the -SU tail to tell you it's a Summit/Extreme Approved module

        It can come with a Cisco reference, making it Cisco Approved,

        It can come with a Juniper reference ,making it Juniper Approved.

        And if you put a non approved module ( or one approved by another brand ) into an equipment most of the time they will whine about it, even with the plain Finisar one, but that's it.

        But in the end they are all the same exact SFP module with the same exact specifications and they are all built in the same factories, it's just a set of bits in the firmware that tells the label branding.

        And the Finisar ( without any other label ) SFP is way cheaper than any of the branded ones...

        The only difference is that during productions a few bits were burned in the ROM to define a given brand and a brand specific label was put on the SFP.

    3. IamStillIan

      Re: "They use third-party parts"

      The presumption you're making here is that they're lesser quality, when in many cases they're the same. Even if they're not, cost/benefit may fall in favour of the lesser part.

      I do agree about the need for transparacy through, and I support that amendment to the legislation (that repair shops must indicate the parts they're using).

      None of this is new, and templates for the model already exist.

      Car manufacturers used to do this with spares, and the result was extortinate pricing. Once independant competition was made possible, the manufactures prices fell (still higher, but the very existance of another option reduced monopolistc extortion). It also made extension of life beyond manufacturer support a viable option.

  3. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Devil

    Out of Warranty

    a limit to devices manufactured prior to 2021,

    To be fair, Apple may feel that any customer using a device that old should just have buckled down and bought a new one.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Out of Warranty

      More likely it is because they only set up their new repair procedures recently and don't want to deal with devices that predate its initiation.

      1. BartyFartsLast

        Re: Out of Warranty

        "More likely it is because they only set up their new repair procedures recently and don't want to deal with devices that predate its initiation."

        And yet, they do deal with devices that predate its initiation.

        Because pretty much every device they support predates their effort at warding off stricter right to repair legislation.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Out of Warranty

          Their own people deal with older devices, they don't support those older devices with their third party repair program. That's why they wanted the 2021 date, to avoid having to expand that program for older models - which could quickly get really complex if there was no date limit and they had to support people wanting to fix something like an iPhone 4.

  4. RedGreen925

    Yeah right

    "That should make repair more accessible and, ideally, less expensive overall,"

    If that moron believes that then I have bridge for sale in Brooklyn, it is going cheap. Apple is all about reaming the suckers for every cent possible no way in hell they make it cheaper. They just do the same whatever washing it is called for the lies they tell this time ,same as the ecology and no slave labor in the supply chain lies they already tell on regular basis.

  5. BartyFartsLast

    Malicious compliance.

    Apple have never been interested in allowing anyone access to repair tools, parts etc.

    They've always gone out of their way to stamp out that market sector, by fair means or foul (vexatious litigation was one of theur favourites) and I don't see them doing anything to encourage it now beyond what's being legally mandated.

    This is pure virtue signalling to ward off more strict laws which compel them to do more.

    1. Mr. Flibble

      Re: Malicious compliance.

      V true, and read this: https://www.theverge.com/2022/5/21/23079058/apple-self-service-iphone-repair-kit-hands-on to show how helpful they are now they will allow you to do your own repairs....

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tim Cook stated: "Apple is 100% behind everyone being allowed to fix their tractors and combines. 100%"

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Oh Deere...

  7. Omnipresent Bronze badge

    Any long time apple user

    has a pile of macbooks laying around in closets and boxes UNSUPPORTED. You can repair them all you want for a price.... with apple certified parts only, they are just no longer usable without linux.

  8. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    EFF

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation also welcomed the announcement.

    Wow those guys are still around?

    Thats like hearing "The untouchables" are back to bust some heads!

  9. KSM-AZ

    "Under the rules, any electronic device priced between $50 and $99.99 would need to have parts available for five years, and devices that cost in excess of that would have to have parts available for seven years. "

    Any electronic device priced between $50 and $100 should be E-wasted if it breaks. It's not worth $50 to crack it open.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah I believe that

    Or I might when they tell me how to get a new fingerprint sensor in an iPhone to actually work.

    Factory reset does NOT delete the file that has the original serial number in it.

  11. X5-332960073452
    Thumb Down

    This is the problem ....

    "manufacturers only being obligated to support authorized repair channels"

    So, they could not authorise anybody => must use Apple's repair system

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