Apple cedes the right to repair

Apple today unveiled a self-service repair program that will allow customers to perform their own repairs using genuine Apple parts and tools. The program will be available early next year in the United States and will expand to other countries throughout 2022.

Apple will start offering parts, tools, and manuals to individual iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 owners starting next year. Customers will be able to use parts to repair the cell phone screen, battery, and camera to get started. The ability to perform repairs on additional iPhone features will be available later this year.

The iPhone program will soon be followed by a similar program for Mac computers with M1 chips, according to Apple.

“Creating better access to genuine Apple parts gives our customers even more choice if service is required,” Apple COO Jeff Williams said in a blog post. “Over the past three years, Apple has nearly doubled the number of service points with access to genuine Apple parts, tools and training, and we now have an option for those looking to do their own repairs. “

Until now, access to genuine Apple parts, tools and manuals has been restricted to some 5,000 Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs) and 2,800 independent repair providers.

“This is a VERY BIG DEAL because Apple has insisted over the years that only they (or certain licensed companies) are good enough to repair Apple products,” said Jack Gold, president and senior analyst at J. Gold Associates, by e-mail. in response to questions from Computerworld.

“It was always nonsense, or of course, because there are many great independent repair technicians,” Gold wrote. “But that made it difficult for the independents because original Apple repair parts were not available to these independents and they mostly used third-party parts.”

Just as consumers often choose a local mechanic over an authorized – and more expensive – dealer for auto repair cars, owners of Apple devices often turned to independent repair technicians, who were cheaper but no longer available. ‘did not always have original parts (OEM). .

“But, times have changed and consumers and governments have insisted heavily on the right to repair – not just smartphones, but all kinds of tech and cars, etc.,” Gold wrote. “So I think Apple sees the writing on the wall and is trying to get ahead of likely upcoming legislation in many states, and some countries, that would impose it. It’s a way for them to say, “See, we’re on the consumer side. “

It is not yet clear whether Apple will sell its repair tools and genuine Apple parts at “market competitive” prices or at certain premium rates from Apple, Gold said.

“It’s also not clear that they will price parts at a fair level when selling direct to the consumer, and won’t charge lower overall rates at their own facilities to push most repairs anyway.” . It all remains to be seen, ”Gold added.

E-commerce and parts site iFixit called Apple’s announcement huge news for everyone, “but we’re particularly excited about iFixit.”

“We started in 2003, when co-founder Kyle Wiens tried to fix his iBook but got stuck with a service manual for it. If Apple continues next year, this will be the first time the company has released repair manuals for iPhone, ”the company wrote on its website.

On his Twitter, Wiens wrote that Apple would like people to believe that it made its decision to allow the repairs on their own, but that only came after regulatory involvement on three continents, dozens of law and investor proposals.

“Apple blinked,” Wiens wrote.

Apple’s new online parts store will feature more than 200 individual parts and tools, allowing customers to perform the most common repairs on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13. Consumers will be able to use an online manual to determine the part (s) they need.

“Summary: While this is a major potential victory for consumers and independent businesses, it is too early to say for sure that Apple’s policies and pricing will be attractive and not make one. “consumer benefit only” program, “Gold said. “More details are needed from Apple on this.”

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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