Sometimes an announcement out of Apple’s Cupertino newsroom comes from left field. Cue a press release that went out this morning informing of a “Self Service Repair” program.
Apple today announced Self Service Repair, which will allow customers who are comfortable with completing their own repairs access to Apple genuine parts and tools. Available first for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups, and soon to be followed by Mac computers featuring M1 chips, Self Service Repair will be available early next year in the US and expand to additional countries throughout 2022.Apple Press Release
Apple has been, rightly, in the targets of the “Right to Repair” movement. The gist is simple: people should be allowed to buy parts, tools, and schematics to fix their things. Apple (among many others) have put forth efforts to stop people from doing this. The biggest proponent in this fight is Louis Rossman, who runs a computer repair shop in NYC.
Rossman has been lobbying for RtR laws to be enacted. This is so he (and others) can repair computers brought to him and for people to repair their own stuff. Perhaps there’s been some rumblings that these laws are likely to pass, so Apple is trying to get ahead of it. Kyle Wiens, the founder of another RtR advocate iFixit had this to say:
Kyle Wiens, iFixit founder and CEO, said on Twitter that Apple’s decision marks a “total shift in perspective” and that there’s hope that this is a step toward making devices last longer.Wiens’ Twitter
On one hand, I applaud Apple for doing this. It’s the right thing to do. As someone who’s had to repair a MacBook Air, it’s a pain to learn how to do it and get special tools because Apple uses proprietary screws. Now you can go directly to Apple for the stuff you need. On the other hand, Apple can pull the plug on this program at any time for any reason. Apple would have no recourse if they chose that. They could say “not enough people used it to warrant the program continuing” or any other reason.
Rossman and the Right to Repair movement should not stop their efforts. Laws should still be enacted about this and that would stop Apple and others from ending any programs they’re offering.