Tech

Apple takes a 180 degree turn in the right to repair

I acknowledge that after reading Apple’s latest press release, I have had to pinch my arm several times to confirm that I am awake. I gave a brief nap after eating (about 30 minutes) that I swore I had woken up by now (and I hope so, as everything I have done this afternoon has been dreamed, what a waste), but really, this makes me doubt a lot about whether I am awake, asleep, or traveling that strange and extensive valley between wakefulness and sleep.

The news, the surprising and very happy news, is that, as we can read on the Cupertino website, Apple will begin providing replacement parts, tools and manuals to users who want them. The objective? That any owner of the devices selected to enter this program, can carry out the repairs themselves, without having to send their devices to an official or authorized technical service.

This new home repair program for Apple devices will kick off early next year in the United States., expanding to other geographies over the next year. And in the first instance, the company will offer stand and replacement parts for iPhone 12 and 13, with plans to extend the program soon after to their computers equipped with Apple M1 chips. There are no dates or data, at the moment, on all the extensions that the program will experience next year.

We can also read that for the first phase of the program, the spare parts that will be offered will be precisely those that are repaired more frequently by their users, that is, screens, batteries and cameras. However, there are also plans to expand the catalog of products and repairs that users can carry out in their homes, after acquiring official spare parts from Apple. In addition, the subsequent delivery of the replaced parts to the company will be rewarded financially with a balance in the Apple online store for other purchases.

Apple indicates, yes, that these types of repairs are complex and therefore recommended (although they will be available to everyone) for users with technical capabilities as to carry them out. In other words (and I can attest to this from my own experience) the replacement of parts on an iPhone can be very complex. I still remember how bad my brother and I had it, many years ago, trying to change the power button on an iPhone 3GS, and these operations have become even more complicated over the years and generations.

What has changed in recent years so that Apple, which when it began to talk about the right to repair in 2017 was firmly against, now launch this home repair program? I’m sorry not to be especially well thought, but it is impossible for me not to relate it, very clearly, to the advances of regulators across the globe, to give legal coverage to the right to repair. Something that adds to how negative it is for its image, in the face of users, denying something that makes so much sense and that is difficult to refute.

This is undoubtedly a big step, and Apple is to be congratulated for taking it. Now hWait to see how long it takes for the program to spread to other geographies, other repairs and other devices. Now, I understand that this is not the end of the road. As we already told you months ago, the Spanish executive is working on the Spanish transposition of European regulations in this regard, and a key element is the reparability index. And in the absence of an official measurement on the devices of those from Cupertino, iFixit has already shown us, on more than one occasion, that they do not make it especially easy.

Will this measure be the beginning of an even deeper change? We will still have to wait to check. Nevertheless It must be recognized that it is a good first step for Apple in the right direction. We hope to see more progress in this regard, and in facilitating home repairs in the future.

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