Apple, which has long stood in the way of customers who want to fix their own devices, now says it wants to help those who feel they have the right to fix their own products.

On Wednesday, iBiz announced the self-service repair, “which will allow customers who are comfortable with performing their own repairs to access genuine Apple parts and tools.”

This can be a mixed blessing as Apple hardware is notoriously difficult to repair, due to the fact that special tools are often required, parts can be glued together, and components like Apple’s TouchID sensor and T2 security chip. can complicate the operation of devices. once again reassembled.

Kyle Wiens, CEO of the iFixit DIY Repair Community, said The register in an email that Apple’s reputation for making hard-to-repair products is deserved, especially for things like AirPods, Apple Pencil, and their keyboards which iFixit rated as 0 out of 10 for repairability.

“Some products that get a 1 are repairable, but it’s really, really hard,” Wiens said. “And some like the new MacBook Pro get a 4. Not great, but definitely fixable.”

The recently released iPhone 13 received a repairability rating of 5 out of 10. In this case, Apple last week promised an iOS update to make it easier to repair the iPhone 13 screen without breaking FaceID.

Initially, Apple will provide more than 200 parts and tools for those who are determined to perform common iPhone repairs, such as replacing the display screen, battery, and camera. The program will focus on iPhone 12 and 13 devices first, and later expand to include M1-based Macs.

Starting early next year, DIY enthusiasts in the US will be able to order Apple-approved parts and tools from the Apple Self-Service Repair online store – at Apple prices – instead of browsing. eBay, Alibaba, and various gray market tools and parts. sources. The program is expected to expand internationally at a later date.

A victory for the right to repair

Apple’s about-face follows years of lobbying, advocacy and regulatory pressure from those who support the right to repair purchased products. Previously, the company said such a violin posed a security risk. In 2017, the iGiant argued that a right to repair bill under consideration in Nebraska would make the state a mecca for hackers if passed.

“This is the clear result of the tireless advocacy of the reparation community and policy proposals on three continents,” Wiens said. “FTC and Australian Productivity Commission investigations into the right of redress are ongoing.

“Consumers deserve the right to repair their own products. Repair manuals should not be secret. We’ve been saying this for a long time, and it’s great to see Apple finally agree. We still have to pass legislation and ensure a fair game. domain for the entire industry. Apple’s announcement shows that it is possible to do the right thing. Hopefully Samsung will be next. “

Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of The Repair Association, offered a similar review via email.

“Apple reads tea leaves correctly,” said Gordon Byrne. “The legislation is going to be passed and the FTC is going to create new rules that will likely occur after states pay the bills.”

While Gordon Byrne sees a large movement in favor of repairable products, she expects a few challenges along the way. “Personally, I doubt Apple has figured out how to make this work effectively – it may be some time before consumers and independent repairers see any benefit,” she said.

Apple made a pre-repair advocacy concession in 2019, when it said it would provide independent repair shops with access to the same technical resources that are provided to Apple Authorized Service Providers – a move described as a publicity stunt by the right to reparation activist Louis. Rossmann.

This sort of concession came after Apple lobbied for a delay in California’s right to relief bill proposed by State Assembly Member Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton). , which ultimately led to the demise of the bill.

Nevertheless, legislation on the right to reparation has proliferated. At least half of US states are considering repair rules, which are often opposed by companies able to exercise intellectual property rights to limit how their products can be modified and to capture repair revenue.

“Intellectual property considerations cannot stand in the way of a customer’s right to repair the equipment they have purchased,” said Bruce Perens, open source pioneer, member of the board of directors of a venture capitalist and CEO of a stealthy startup, in an email. To The register. “Apple simply recognizes this fact before the right to repair is legislated and they have no choice.”

Apple may also recognize the growing importance of service revenues over hardware sales. If, as some analysts have predicted, services come to account for the majority of Apple’s earnings by the middle of the decade, the Cupertino titan will have more incentive to focus on customer retention (and associated monthly subscription fees) and less pressure to convince them to buy shiny. new iThings every year or two. ®