Solid middle-ground is needed on ‘Right to Repair’

“The debate over whether or not to have the so-called ‘Right to Repair’ guaranteed has both sides offering some compelling arguments for and against the introduction of support-related laws, but for the moment, the consumer loses out while the dispute rages on,” Mike Wuerthele and Malcolm Owen write for AppleInsider.

“Naturally, manufacturers are largely against the idea of right to repair. Ignoring a potential loss of revenue from servicing, as well as protecting intellectual property, the main arguments against implementing the legislation fall into both the difficulty of repairing the goods and that of public safety,” Wuerthele and Owen write. “The complex nature of modern electronics means a repair may require the use of specialist tools, or require a certain knowledge to successfully diagnose and fix a problem. An attempted repair could potentially result in not only damage to a replacement component if mishandled, but also to other components within a device that may have been functioning properly beforehand. The second argument… claims an inexperienced consumer could easily hurt themselves with the complex hardware… This isn’t 2000. The engineering and design principles have changed, and external Internet-delivered and data-stealing threats are more common than ever. Apple’s hardware and software combinations are increasingly being designed to counter that threat, and that has knock-on impacts on repair.”

“Apple is right about some aspects of “right to repair,” but for the wrong reasons. User security is a factor, yes, but not because of some speculation about safety to unwise governmental folks incapable of understanding the issue or seeing nuance surrounding it,” Wuerthele and Owen write. “Repair proponents are also partially right about the need for it, but mostly skip over security concerns, plus vastly over-estimate who will do it and who will want to do it… Like any philosophical conflict, the pair seem unwilling to meet in the middle with a compromise.”

Muhc more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Until reasonable safety and security concerns can be laid to rest, we cannot support blanket “Right to Repair” legislation. The recent shelving of such legislation in Ontario and California suggest that lesiglslators aren’t entirely convinced on the mater of “Right to Repair,” either.

Ontario’s ‘Right to Repair’ bill killed after big tech lobbying including Apple – May 3, 2019
California pulls its right-to-repair bill following pressure from Apple, other firms – May 1, 2019
Leaked internal documents show Apple is capable of implementing ‘Right to Repair’ legislation – March 28, 2019
Allstate buys mobile device repair company iCracked, becoming powerful proponent of ‘Right to Repair’ movement against Apple – February 15, 2019
California to introduce ‘right to repair’ bill which Apple opposes – March 8, 2018
State of Washington bill would make it illegal to sell electronics that don’t have easily replaceable batteries – January 26, 2018
Why Apple doesn’t want you repairing your broken iPhone or iPad yourself – July 12, 2017
Apple makes iPhone screen fixes easier as U.S. states mull ‘right to repair’ laws – June 7, 2017
Apple lobbying against ‘Right to Repair’ legislation, New York State records confirm – May 18, 2017
Apple fights against ‘right to repair’ – April 20, 2017
Apple fights ‘right to repair’ proposal; warns Nebraska could become a ‘Mecca for bad actors’ – March 10, 2017
Apple fights tooth and nail against ‘right to repair’ laws – March 8, 2017
Right to repair: Why Nebraska farmers are taking on John Deere and Apple – March 6, 2017
Right-to-Repair is ridiculous – February 16, 2017
Apple said to fight ‘Right to Repair’ legislation – February 15, 2017


    1. If you could upgrade core components like this, it would mean that Apple actually had to be innovative to get you to buy a new laptop, and not just periodically refreshing specs.

  1. Regarding the legislation, our elected officials were bought off by rich lobbyists.. Same old story.
    Apple’s trend toward non upgradable systems in general has resulted in me transitioning my family towards custom built Linux systems.
    Apple’s not fooling anyone by trying to use security as an excuse to wring every possible dollar from their customers by bottlenecking simple repairs through so-called “qualified” repair agents.

  2. This may be an opportunity for Apple to claim their devices (since they are relatively monolithic, disincentivizing repair) are safely ‘disposable’ due to their security/privacy being so good. This could lead to higher trade-ins and/or exclusively lease devices as a service instead of selling any.

    Towards this Apple should work on a quick and easy way to transfer your data/preferences/setup to new devices and safely restore to factory state all non-volatile storage on the device.

    Price accordingly with the users’ understanding that right to repair is not necessary since the device is never owned by the user and replacement and restoration of user state on devices are assured for privacy, security and accuracy.

    1. 2nd paragraph should have ended: “… safely and securely erase all data and restore to factory state all non-volatile storage on the old device.”

  3. I can’t think of another item that the owner can’t have repaired by the repair shop of his choice including automobiles and airplanes, even jet airplanes. They may require certain certified or dealer shops and parts while under warranty but who cares if it’s under warranty. That isn’t the issue. This is nothing but more greedy B.S. by Apple and it is all getting old. Green company they say! Whatever!!! Nothing green about a product whose battery can’t be replaced and conveniently limits the products lifetime. Thinking AirPods and the new keyboards and mice. This ought to be illegal, frankly. Corporate greed. No way Steve is resting in peace.

    1. I agree with you there. But if the equipment is all leased and you can easily switch over to a replacement device in short order leaving all repair costs and headaches to Apple, it could not only nip ‘right to repair’ in the bud but also work to accelerate Apple’s move to becoming a Services company. A lease model would also help ensure that all leased devices are ‘retired’ properly and not just dumped in the trash.

    2. “whose battery can’t be replaced”
      except via official means where the battery ends up with the company in the best position to recycle it effectively. The only reason why a Apple device ends up in a landfill is primarily because the user wants it to be there.

  4. There are actually 2 issues here Right to Repair and Right to Upgrade.
    I believe you should have the right to upgrade certain parts that Apple offer upgrades for IE RAM, Storage.
    Right to repair unless the government is going to force a reasonable warranty it used to be 3 years for most computers and I believe it still should be. It’s not like we saved any money on our Apple computers when they lowered it to 90 Days.

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