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Apple Will Fight 'Right To Repair' Legislation (vice.com) 309

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Apple is planning to fight proposed electronics "Right to Repair" legislation being considered by the Nebraska state legislature, according to a source within the legislature who is familiar with the bill's path through the statehouse. The legislation would require Apple and other electronics manufacturers to sell repair parts to consumers and independent repair shops, and would require manufacturers to make diagnostic and service manuals available to the public. Nebraska is one of eight states that are considering right to repair bills; last month, Nebraska, Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, Kansas, and Wyoming introduced legislation. Last week, lawmakers in Illinois and Tennessee officially introduced similar bills. According to the source, an Apple representative, staffer, or lobbyist will testify against the bill at a hearing in Lincoln on March 9. ATT will also argue against the bill, the source said. The source told me that at least one of the companies plans to say that consumers who repair their own phones could cause lithium batteries to catch fire. So far, Nebraska is the only state to schedule a hearing for its legislation.

Apple Will Fight 'Right To Repair' Legislation

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  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:47PM (#53870255) Homepage

    consumers who repair their own phones could cause lithium batteries to catch fire.

    yep, and changing the oil on my motorcycle could cause scalding hot oil to burn me, but well documented processes from the vendor generally limit this risk. Repairing the power regulator for my refrigerator could have caused a shock, however repair manuals clearly instructed me to unplug and de-energize the appliance.

    the reason these bills are being fought incessantly is because modern consumer capitalism is predicated on brand consumption, not product consumption, and includes concessions to allow for the hedonic treadmill to spin freely. Sure, Apple may be forced to support older architectures that do not support the latest whizbang features but the real argument is that they would have to support the idea that the user owns the device instead of rents it until the next model comes out. being able to repair a cellphone or tablet, or even a macbook for that matter erodes the concept of the brand as an experience and slowly drags apple back to the earthly realm of hardware manufacturer and not a lifestyle. Owning a product, and not a brand in the 21st century is a slow death for any company.

    • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @09:00PM (#53870329)
      I thought Apple was a pretty capable company, but they can't design a phone that isn't a hazard to repair?
      • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @09:06PM (#53870363) Homepage Journal

        It's actually pretty easy. They just have to not glue the battery to the case....

        • That would require the use of screws, which would increase the thickness by a tenth of a milimeter. Marketing dept says that is not acceptable.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            That would require the use of screws, which would increase the thickness by a tenth of a milimeter. Marketing dept says that is not acceptable.

            That part always confused me.

            Cell phone company busts its ass to shave 2mm off the thickness of the phone.

            I immediately put it in a case that's three times the size of the phone, because I don't want to risk breaking the thing that cost several hundred dollars.

            Like I'm gonna notice the millimeters you shaved off?

      • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @09:07PM (#53870371)

        That's pretty much what I understood from the summary. Apple products are so insecure that they cannot be repaired without presenting a hazard, maybe we should remove them from circulation.

        • Apple has clearly announced that their product is dangerous, so the TSA should ban them.

          I hope a legislator at one of these state legislators makes this point if an Apple employee is stupid enough to raise this.

          • Apple has clearly announced that their product is dangerous, so the TSA should ban them.

            I hope a legislator at one of these state legislators makes this point if an Apple employee is stupid enough to raise this.

            Apparently they are perfectly safe unless they get into the hands of a moron who thinks he can make a repair that he can't make safely. So I'd say let them on board, but arrest anyone who tries to get on board with a self-repaired phone.

        • That's pretty much what I understood from the summary. Apple products are so insecure that they cannot be repaired without presenting a hazard, maybe we should remove them from circulation.

          What I understood was that there are morons that couldn't repair an iPhone without creating a hazard, and Apple wants to remove those morons from circulations.

          There was one case where an iPhone went up in flames on an airplane, and it turned out that same idiot had tried to make a repair and put two screws in that damaged the battery.

          For battery replacements, your chances that you get an original Apple battery (or one made in the same factory and undergoing the same quality checks) are zero, even if y

      • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @09:44PM (#53870583)

        its a lie.

        it has nothing to do with hazzards, other than the 'hazzard' of the company losing BIG PROFITS from captive repair bills.

        apple is really looking bad, here. there is nothing credible they could state to defend this 'you shall not be allowed to repair things you actually own' bullshit.

        • by coastwalker ( 307620 ) <acoastwalkerNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @10:26PM (#53870813) Homepage

          Apple are a cult purchase for the masses. The truth is that they have been making excess profits for rather a long time and are no better and in some respects worse than other companies. They do not allow battery replacement because their designs sacrifice repair-ability in order to enhance the appearance of their devices. It also means that they make a fat profit on repairs. I hope they lose this court case as it will benefit the consumers they are gouging.

          • I agree, except with the 'make big bucks on repairs' thing.
            I get the impression they aren't interested in repairs at all. Not by them and sure as hell not (gasp) by yourself!
            Just buy the latest new iPhone already. And yes if Apple tells you you need to buy a new headset for that, you do that too!

      • Apple doesn't want to design a phone that isn't a hazard to repair.

      • If you set aside cynicism for moment, they do have a valid concern in that area. Any competent person can repair a phone safely - but how many repairs would be carried out by people who have never held a soldering iron before, and are following a tutorial video on youtube? It's quite possible for an inexperienced person to botch the procedure and leave the battery in an unsafe condition.

        It's still just an excuse Apple are using, but it's at least a plausible excuse. My problem with it is that it boils down

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        I thought Apple was a pretty capable company, but they can't design a phone that isn't a hazard to repair?

        Why are you assuming this isn't by design.

        Apple could make an easy to repair phone like other companies, but where's the profit in that? How will they sell the next version if old phones keep working for years on end and there aren't any significant improvements.

        Apple deliberately makes them hard to repair to generate repeat sales. That's why they're fighting against your right to repair.

        • Apple could make an easy to repair phone like other companies, but where's the profit in that? How will they sell the next version if old phones keep working for years on end and there aren't any significant improvements.

          Please tell me about other companies that make phones that are easy to repair. And fact is, old iPhones _do_ keep working for years on end. I have an iPhone 3GS and an iPhone 4 that are working just fine, including the battery, after I don't know how many years.

          And Apple iPhones are very easy to repair - you take them to the nearest Apple Store, and they repair them. Not always cheap, but a lot cheaper than a new phone.

      • They can design such devices. It is because they deeply understand maintainability that they can turn its opposite, unmaintainability, into the shiny artform they flog from their Apple Stores. My next macOS machine is likely to be a hackintosh.

    • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @09:12PM (#53870397)

      if they want to rent then landlord needs to repair it for free!

    • by galabar ( 518411 )
      Would owning your own device and not having the company attempt to legally stop you from repairing it be enough? Do you also need the company to provide repair manuals, replacement parts, and manufacture the phone in such a way that it eases your repair job? It that also necessary to "own your own device?"
      • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @11:01PM (#53871031)

        The point is that once a company has enough control of the market to restrict supply chains and/or information about how the device works, they can effectively limit compatibility, prevent repairs and other long-term maintenance, and ultimately constrain the continued use of the device, even if such use would otherwise be viable.

        That leads directly to problems like built-in obsolescence, excessive repair charges for devices that fail earlier than might reasonably have been expected, wastage of limited natural resources used in manufacture, and devices that are hard to recycle or otherwise dispose of in safe and environmentally friendly ways.

        Hardware producers in the tech industry have become very, very bad at these kinds of things, and they've made a lot of money as a result, and so now it looks like legal/regulatory action is needed. This is hardly a new concern and they've had years to get their own houses in order and have failed to do so, so I have no sympathy for them at all.

      • Yes.

        Modern electronics is not like electronics used to be. You can't always just poke the multimeter around, identify the burned-out component and replace it any more, especially in ultra-compact designs like mobile phones. There are more specialised chips, often bespoke parts. Often an entire PCB must be replaced, because even if the faulty part is a commodity one it's impossible to resolder something like a BGA package, or because it's a faulty processor that incorporates proprietary firmware. Diagnostics

        • Rarely is the issue a BGA package, usually it's a capacitor or soic package which can be replaced by hand even if it's not the easiest component to replace. A multimeter is still the most useful diagnostic tool especially when the most common component, a VRM or capacitor in the power supply has gone, knowing what the potential difference should be across various points of the board helps in identifying such issues. Memory test failure and similar software errors could literally be that the memory didn't ge

    • by msauve ( 701917 )

      consumers who repair their own phones could cause lithium batteries to catch fire.

      yep, and changing the oil on my motorcycle could cause scalding hot oil to burn me

      The difference being, of course, that the oiling system is built to support changing the oil. The answer to Apple's objection is that they're perfectly free to make phones with replaceable batteries, instead of designing planned obsolescence into them.

    • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

      Sounds like a crutch for one trick ponies who are all out of them.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      yep, and changing the oil on my motorcycle could cause scalding hot oil to burn me, but well documented processes from the vendor generally limit this risk. Repairing the power regulator for my refrigerator could have caused a shock, however repair manuals clearly instructed me to unplug and de-energize the appliance.

      Tell me, grab a person off the street and ask them to say, replace the motherboard on your laptop.

      That's it', you'll walk them though it, but you will not be allowed to comment on what they're

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        "Tell me, grab a person off the street and ask them to say, replace the motherboard on your laptop.

        That's it', you'll walk them though it, but you will not be allowed to comment on what they're doing. You'll demonstrate, they'll mimic. They are allowed to use anything they have.

        Would you do it? Would you risk your computer? You can show them how to take it apart and provide all the replacement parts, they can watch you take it apart."

        Guess how most of your current big-industry repair shops work? Flextronics

    • consumers who repair their own phones could cause lithium batteries to catch fire.

      yep, and changing the oil on my motorcycle could cause scalding hot oil to burn me, but well documented processes from the vendor generally limit this risk. Repairing the power regulator for my refrigerator could have caused a shock, however repair manuals clearly instructed me to unplug and de-energize the appliance. the reason these bills are being fought incessantly is because modern consumer capitalism is predicated on brand consumption, not product consumption, and includes concessions to allow for the hedonic treadmill to spin freely. Sure, Apple may be forced to support older architectures that do not support the latest whizbang features but the real argument is that they would have to support the idea that the user owns the device instead of rents it until the next model comes out. being able to repair a cellphone or tablet, or even a macbook for that matter erodes the concept of the brand as an experience and slowly drags apple back to the earthly realm of hardware manufacturer and not a lifestyle. Owning a product, and not a brand in the 21st century is a slow death for any company.

      Perhaps what ultimately needs to die is the unadulterated greed that is driving this whole "lifestyle" business model.

      To every greedy vendor out there; Sell me a fucking product. One that I own, and buy outright. Fuck you and your corrupt business model that demands I rent your "brand" and pay in perpetuity. You no longer want to maintain customers. You want slaves. We're already killing off the concept of competition, as mega-corps become more and more powerful, consuming and controlling the global ma

    • ... and was eventually proven false.
  • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:51PM (#53870289)

    If you SELL me something, it's mine. You don't have to sell me documentation, you don't have to make replacement parts available, but there's only one reason to stop me from repairing it myself and that's so you can squeeze more money out of me.

    Try renting instead of selling, then you can do whatever the hell you want, otherwise all you get to do is void any remaining warranty and refuse responsibility for damage caused by end-user repair.

    It's about time consumers started lynching CEOs over shit like this.

    • by galabar ( 518411 )
      I think the legislation would force the company to provide documentation and replacement parts. So, I guess you are... against it?
      • I would be against that provision of this legislation, yes.

        I'm against companies doing things like using the DMCA to prevent you from doing your own repairs, or suing people who manufacture replacement parts or provide repair services (including repair manuals reverse engineered from teardowns), etc.

        I'd be fine with, "Manufacturers can prohibit personal and 3rd-party repair of devices sold for the advertised lifetime of the device, if and only if they provide free repair parts and services for that same pe

        • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @11:14PM (#53871087)

          I'd be fine with, "Manufacturers can prohibit personal and 3rd-party repair of devices sold for the advertised lifetime of the device, if and only if they provide free repair parts and services for that same period".

          We used to call that a warranty.

          Those used to be worth something.

          And they used to last for a reasonable working lifetime for a device, not provide the bare minimum standard of protection required by law to private customers, and provide even less to business customers as an incentive to sign-up for overpriced maintenance contracts on top of the original purchase price.

    • Lynch 'em and STOP buying their products!... FUCK APPLE!!!

  • car to be dealership only service only even for lights / oil changes / tires.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is it exactly, only, if I recall correctly, in Nebraska for farm equipment that operates on the same repair scheme as apple. In other words, the farmer is not allowed to fix their own tractor.

  • Whaaaaat? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @09:11PM (#53870393)

    An innovative technology company like Apple wants to increase the amount of technology garbage instead of going green and supporting the tinkering and repairing community?

    That's so un-hipster! My beard is bristling enough to make my turtleneck feel tight!

  • by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @09:26PM (#53870457)

    Apple, once founded by tinkerers, is now fighting the tinkerers

    • Apple, once founded by tinkerers, is now fighting the tinkerers

      Jobs didn't want the Mac to have any expandability. He wanted a sealed case that couldn't be improved in any way so that people had to buy a new machine if they wanted any upgrades. The first Macintosh didn't even have an expansion slot, and people had to resort to slotting something into the CPU socket and piggybacking the CPU in order to expand it. It was less expandable than an Apple 2 or a Lisa!

  • What can I say... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sgage ( 109086 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @09:26PM (#53870463)

    ... except fuck Apple. Their whole business model seems to be planned obsolescence and non-repairability. Hey, just buy a new one!

  • My TRS-80 rocked (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @09:37PM (#53870529)
    Not only did Radio Shack give me all the software information I could want, I bought the technical manual that had the schematics and how it all worked. I used that info, I learned CS from that info. I made a career out of that info.

    Apple can suck a petrified mammoth dick over this move.
    • by Holi ( 250190 )
      My first Apple came with a library of manuals, It had a reference manual and like 5 tech manuals. I miss those days.
  • We can't have the peasants who buy our stuff fixing it themselves or taking it to someone that might fix it for less than we'll charge!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @10:18PM (#53870775)

    If it actually goes through, Apple will just jack up the price of their replacement parts to the point that it'd be cheaper to buy a new computer.

    They already charge obscene prices for components, it's just that the repair centres don't pay anything as long as they ship back the defective component. For example, when I bought my 2010 Mac Pro, it came with a defective LG burner. That part cost around $20 to buy, apart from the Apple firmware customizations, which made it a $750 drive. The repair centre didn't actually pay $750 for a replacement part- it didn't cost them anything, because they shipped the defective part back to Apple.

    So Apple could quite easily double or quadruple the "price" of their replacement parts, and it wouldn't change anything service centre wise. It'd just fuck over the public, which is exactly what they'll do if they're forced to do anything.

    PS: What is there to replace in a modern day Mac? Everything is soldered to the main board. I guess the iMacs have a separate PSU module and a small DC fan, but that's about it, and you still need to cut that horrible foam striping around the LCD panel just to pull out the monitor so you can replace stuff, and then you need a replacement foam kit just to seal it back up again (remember that time the LCD glass panel was held on by magnets and removable by suction cups?). It's like people want to repair computers that are purposefully built to be as unrepairable as possible, which doesn't make much sense...

    • They already charge around 3x the price for battery as it is, samsung phone battery can get them for 30$ and change it your self in few minute, apple charges around 80-100$ to replace their's.
    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      "Apple will just jack up the price of their replacement parts to the point that it'd be cheaper to buy a new computer."

      As if the price of a new PC wasn't already cheaper than that of a similarly-configured Apple product?

  • I remember Crapple making it so expensive to repair your phone that it was cheaper to upgrade. Their thoughts.... we'll sell more phones! Now people are fixing their own and Crapple is crying.
  • by ShoulderOfOrion ( 646118 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @12:32AM (#53871341)

    Just "software upgrade" the device into uselessness, like Google did with my Nexus 7. No hardware repair necessary.

  • repair their own phones could cause lithium batteries to catch fire

    I shouldn't need to "repair" battery. I should be able to flip the back cover, remove the old battery and insert a new one. How is it that Apple, self professed masters of design cannot enable this simple task?

    The answer is they could and easily but they seal the battery into the device as a cynical ploy to build obsolescence into their devices. Other manufactures seal the battery in too (following Apple's lead). It should not be acceptable and frankly I wonder why more eco conscious jurisdictions (e.g. t

  • ...this should be nationwide, not just one state. But with Trump in office, good luck on that, businesses have free rein...

  • I'm still here after all these decades, and I'm still here saying fuck Apple!
  • ...this is it. Apple can go suck a pus covered AIDS and syphillys infected dick
  • I fix laptops and phones a lot (component level), and I have to say, at least with Apple most of their gear is still at least able to be serviced once you get a hold of the "not permitted" schematics and boardview files ( and watching a lot of Louis Rossmann helps too ).

    PC laptops and worse, desktop motherboards, are like hens teeth at the best of times for locating usable schematics / boardviews. Now the market is starting to spit out "Repair guides" which are 75dpi screen shots squashed to a new aspect

  • Any company whose continued growth, (or possibly even its continued existence), depends on artificial scarcity, is going to fight like hell to maintain the scarcity. Those who are being pillaged by the artificial scarcity, should do their best to tear it down.

    To decide which of these two sides you should support, ask yourself which you care about more - a sustainable Earth with sufficient natural resources and a hospitable-enough climate to foster future generations, or the profits of a short-term-gain-for-

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