Apple APPEARS To Be Opening Up Repairs To Third Parties

I’ve been very critical of Apple and how they have seemingly made it impossible to have your Apple gear repaired by someone outside an Apple Store. I say that because they’ve fought hard against right to repair legislation wherever it has appeared as evidenced by this example, or this example. Apple has also done things at an OS level to stop things like third party batteries being used in repairs. Though that’s apparently for your own good if you listen to Apple. Finally, they’ve also gone as far as suing independent repair shops. In short, Apple is giving off the impression that they don’t want you to have your Apple gear repaired by anyone by Apple. Possibly so that they can sell you a new iPhone or MacBook instead of repairing it.

That may be changing with the posting of a press release from Apple in the last hour which among other things says this:

Apple today announced a new repair program, offering customers additional options for the most common out-of-warranty iPhone repairs. Apple will provide more independent repair businesses — large or small —  with the same genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals and diagnostics as its Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs). The program is launching in the US with plans to expand to other countries.

If you read through this, this new program is only targeting iPhones. At this point it doesn’t seem like MacBooks, iPads, iMacs or anything else is on the table. And it’s my perception that Apple is only doing this because it is facing an investigation by the Justice Department in the US. Not to mention that sooner or later, right to repair legislation will pass someplace. And as a result they’ll be forced to play ball on this front.

There’s one other thing that I should point out. From the Devil is in the detail department comes this:

  • Meeting program requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the program.

I will bet you any dollar amount that this will allow Apple to reject the applications of anyone in the right to repair space who have been critical of Apple’s behavior such as Louis Rossmann. We’ll have to see if that actually happens or not. One other thing. Consumers will be getting genuine Apple parts. I bet the pricing will be such that it at best makes it a level playing field between Apple Stores and independent repair shops. And I would not be surprised if the result of that was that consumers would think twice about repair and go towards buying a new iDevice as the cost of repair would not seem to make sense. But to be fair to Apple, that’s the cynic in me making an appearance. Apple would be making a big mistake by doing either of the things that I mentioned, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did.

So is this a step in the right direction? Maybe. We’ll have to see how this plays out. But make no mistake. Apple isn’t doing this because they want to do the right thing. They are doing this because they are more afraid of being forced to do the right thing.

 

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