Once again, Apple seems to be threatening the Repair Industry with outrageous comments and actions. According to Motherboard, the giant is currently fighting Right to Repair legislation in California telling lawmakers that consumers can hurt themselves trying to fix their own device by accidentally puncturing the battery.
This is far from being the first time Apple has tried to block any Right to Repair initiatives. In 2017, Apple hired a few lobbyists to push against the bill in states such as New York and Nebraska, with ridiculous statements such as that approving the bill would turn the state into a “Mecca for bad actors, criminals, and hackers”.
Since then, Apple has been relying on CompTIA (a trade organization funded by Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft) to work against the legislation. It was one of CompTIA’s lobbyists that recently met with lawmakers in California last month who made the statement that repairs can be harmful to consumers.
According to one of Motherboard’s anonymous sources: The lobbyists brought an iPhone to the meetings and showed lawmakers and their legislative aides the internal components of the phone. The lobbyists said that if improperly disassembled, consumers who are trying to fix their own iPhone could hurt themselves by puncturing the lithium-ion battery.
And to make bad news even worst, we later learned that the bill was pulled before the hearing by it’s sponsor, Talamantes-Eggman, who told Motherboard:
“Today I decided to pull Assembly Bill 1163 from consideration in the Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee, with the goal of moving the bill in January of next year. While this was not an easy decision, it became clear that the bill would not have the support it needed today, and manufacturers had sown enough doubt with vague and unbacked claims of privacy and security concerns.“
The reason for such a strong lobby against the right to repair movement is simply because this legislation would require companies like Apple to provide repair parts, tools, and make repair information available to the public. But here’s where things get confusing…
At the end of March, Sourcely reported inside rumors that Apple was making moves to provide access to their supply chain to some of the biggest names in the repair space. And let’s not forget that before that, Apple took a shy step towards a more friendly approach to third-party repairs by finally starting to accept repairs of iPhones with third-party batteries.
A few days later, Motherboard reported similar information, by leaking slides from Apple’s new program called “Apple Genuine Parts Repair”, that would allow a selected group of independent stores to purchase original parts from Apple.
According to the presentation, dated April 2018, the company would begin to give some repair shops access to Apple diagnostic software, original repair parts, training, and with no restrictions on the types of repairs that independent companies would be allowed to do. Basically what the Right to Repair legislation has been begging for all along.
We are left with a few questions such as Does this means the “Apple Genuine Parts Repair” has been shut down? Are they really going to keep battling people’s right to fix their own devices? And finally: What the hell Apple? What are these mixed signals you are trying to send us??
What are your thoughts on this? Do you think the stubborn giant will eventually come to its senses or is this a long up-hill battle we need to keep facing? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!