Apple to oppose 'Right to Repair' legislation in Nebraska, report says

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 15
A report on Tuesday claims Apple is planning to send a representative to testify against a proposed "Right to Repair" bill in Nebraska that would require the company provide consumers and third-party repair shops access to service manuals and parts.




Citing a source within Nebraska's legislature, Motherboard reports Apple intends to send a representative, staffer or lobbyist to present against the proposed bill in a hearing slated to take place in Lincoln on March 9.

Apple will be joined by AT&T, and at least one of the companies plans to argue the passage of Nebraska's bill, and others like it, could harm consumers. Specifically, device owners or independent shops performing unauthorized repairs might unintentionally cause lithium batteries to catch fire.

The use of high density lithium batteries in portable devices like iPhone and iPad has become a talking point after Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 fiasco last year. Shortly after the phablet launched in August, users began reporting problems of exploding or combusting handsets thought to be associated with device charging or the product's battery.

After halting sales and discontinuing the Note 7 line, Samsung last month concluded an investigation into the fires, confirming battery manufacturing issues were to blame.

It remains to be seen how Apple or AT&T plan to tie lithium battery fires with unauthorized repairs, or whether the argument will move Nebraska's legislature. The state is one of eight considering the adoption of "Right to Repair" bills that would force OEMs like Apple to make parts and service manuals available to those interested in servicing electronic devices. Other states mulling similar legislation include Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Tennessee and Wyoming. So far, Nebraska is the only district to hold hearings on the matter.

For Apple, the move is unsurprising given the company's longstanding view that its products should only be serviced by qualified technicians. Offering repairs through authorized outlets like Apple stores and vetted shops provide customers with a consistent experience, Apple contends. Further, an authorized repair network helps the company control and protect its various hardware platforms.

Apple has gone so far as to develop proprietary screws to thwart unauthorized repairs. More recently, Apple was sued over the integration of Touch ID security protocols that rendered iOS devices with unauthorized fingerprint modules, like those installed by out of network repair shops, useless.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 82
    Right to Repair makes sense for something like automobiles so people can have their vehicle serviced/repaired anywhere they want.

    It doesn't make sense for something like an iPhone, which is an intricate piece of electronic hardware.
    andrewj5790watto_cobralkruppStrangeDaysmike1badmonk
  • Reply 2 of 82
    This is one of those ideas that only sounds good on paper, because it presents more issues than it solves.

    For example: the technician messed up the repair - is that now apple's fault for not making the instructions clear enough/the device easy enough to repair?

    Or some more obvious issues: sometimes a repair (to apple) is just a replacement - should 3rd parties be able to repair items that apple would just recycle entirely?

    A cracked case, is that something that should be repairable? In the context of rapidly advancing technologies, who gets to define what is repairable? When does something go from being broken to repaired, how would that even be testable?
    edited February 15 pscooter63andrewj5790ericthehalfbeewatto_cobramelodyof1974badmonk
  • Reply 3 of 82
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 3,146member
    Phones these days are absurdly complex and packed; right to repair would mean right to fuck up your phone badly....

    What mom and pop shop would actually have the tools and expertise (or the money to develop/buy those tools and expertise) to fix a sealed Apple 7+ phone and reseal it properly?

    watto_cobraCuJoYYCbadmonk
  • Reply 4 of 82
    larryalarrya Posts: 392member
    Either let others properly, competitively, repair it, or make the standard Apple warranty 2 years (as is required in other countries).  

    "Presents more issues than it solves"?  If your auto repair isn't correct, there is no recourse with the original manufacturer even though the shop owner bought a service manual from that manufacturer.  This isn't really any different.

    I would have a lot more respect for Apple's position if they didn't have to resort to battery scare tactics.  
    jbdragondysamoriamaciekskontakt
  • Reply 5 of 82
    larrya said:
    Either let others properly, competitively, repair it, or make the standard Apple warranty 2 years (as is required in other countries).  

    "Presents more issues than it solves"?  If your auto repair isn't correct, there is no recourse with the original manufacturer even though the shop owner bought a service manual from that manufacturer.  This isn't really any different.

    I would have a lot more respect for Apple's position if they didn't have to resort to battery scare tactics.  
    Depends where you are. In Australia, as long as car servicing is done according to manufacturer spec then warranty is not voided at all by 3rd party servicing.

    Phones on the other hand, particularly with the crypto element should probably be left to the manufacturer to handle. They'll probably put DRM in all the components now just to make it a real PITA. Apple are keen to control the whole customer experience which is admirable but there's a reason why 3rd party repairers exist - cost and flexibility. Of course someone will pipe up and say if you can't afford to get it fixed you shouldn't buy one. That's a stupid argument.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 82
    Right to Repair makes sense for something like automobiles so people can have their vehicle serviced/repaired anywhere they want.

    It doesn't make sense for something like an iPhone, which is an intricate piece of electronic hardware.
    If Apple releases an automobile, should people have the right to have it serviced/repaired anywhere they want?
  • Reply 7 of 82
    foggyhill said:
    Phones these days are absurdly complex and packed; right to repair would mean right to fuck up your phone badly....

    What mom and pop shop would actually have the tools and expertise (or the money to develop/buy those tools and expertise) to fix a sealed Apple 7+ phone and reseal it properly?


    Right to Repair is kind of related to the Magnusson Moss Warranty Act in that a company can't void a warranty if the customer has a product repaired at a third party facility.

    However, people mistake this to mean that you can have your product repaired just about anywhere and retain your warranty, or that they have a "right to repair". This simply isn't true. A manufacturer has the right to define specifications and procedures for repairing a product to ensure quality standards.

    So if Apple somehow loses this case they can still demand minimum standards for repairs. Like only allowing screens that meet a minimum quality standard for brightness or color accuracy. Or having anyone who replaces a screen to use a calibration device afterwards to ensure colors are accurate. This would scare away most independent repair shops (especially the shady ones). It would also add credibility to authorized repair shops who would have this equipment.

    Personally I don't see this case going anywhere. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 82
    I'm all for it!   No reason for Apple or others to make things so hard to tear apart!  Especially these days when everything is so thin.  Like an Air you should be able to take the bottom cover off and everything laid out and simply removed after a few screws from a single layer.  Same for iPhone.  Remove two screws, lift the screen, easily unplug, easily replace logic board, etc.   No reason for gluing batteries in place, etc.  If they can build it for beauty inside and out they can built it to be easily taken apart and repaired instead of the overly complicated ways they do now on purpose!
    edited February 15 avon b7jbdragondysamoriaairnerd
  • Reply 9 of 82
    larrya said:
    Either let others properly, competitively, repair it, or make the standard Apple warranty 2 years (as is required in other countries).  

    "Presents more issues than it solves"?  If your auto repair isn't correct, there is no recourse with the original manufacturer even though the shop owner bought a service manual from that manufacturer.  This isn't really any different.

    I would have a lot more respect for Apple's position if they didn't have to resort to battery scare tactics.  
    Let's just be clear, any car comparison is invalid. 1.A car is not a sub-$1,000 electronic device with a typical lifespan of 2 years. 2. The tolerances inside a vehicle are significantly larger than those in a smartphone. 3. Cars are primarily a mechanical device where wear and tear (friction) is a required part of the car's mechanical function. 4. If you sufficiently smash your car, it's written off, not repaired. 5. Electronic parts inside a car that are comparable to a smartphone are not repairable, the whole unit is replaced, and again this cost is more than a smartphone. 6. A service or basic repair cost on a vehicle would never exceed the repurchase cost, while electronic repairs can easily exceed the device cost. 7. Warranties available for smartphones compare favourably to car warranties. Find me a car warranty that let's you smash the car, then have it replaced for free.
    radarthekatbobrooStrangeDayswatto_cobraredraider11
  • Reply 10 of 82
    I have and use Apple products.  I have bought-into the Apple Eco System.  I like the freedom and options of being able to shop for my repair center.  I believe in the owner's Right to Repair.  I am inclined to take my device back to Apple for a repair but I want it to be my choice.  I am displeased with Apple's position.  IMHO, Timmy's Apple is a far cry from Steve Jobs' Apple.  While neither iteration was perfect, Timmy's is lame.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 11 of 82
    normmnormm Posts: 485member
    hike1272 said:
    I have and use Apple products.  I have bought-into the Apple Eco System.  I like the freedom and options of being able to shop for my repair center.  I believe in the owner's Right to Repair.  I am inclined to take my device back to Apple for a repair but I want it to be my choice.  I am displeased with Apple's position.  IMHO, Timmy's Apple is a far cry from Steve Jobs' Apple.  While neither iteration was perfect, Timmy's is lame.
    At some point hardly anything in an iPhone will be repairable.  It will just be too compact and monolithic, with ridiculous tolerances and seals.  Even Apple stores won't be able to repair them.


    radarthekatStrangeDays
  • Reply 12 of 82
    adm1adm1 Posts: 295member
    Right to Repair makes sense for something like automobiles so people can have their vehicle serviced/repaired anywhere they want.

    It doesn't make sense for something like an iPhone, which is an intricate piece of electronic hardware.
    Maybe 10-20 years ago, today cars are so technologically advanced, most garages don't have the neccesary equipment to work on modern bmw's or mercs for example. You have to go to a bmw dealer or merc dealer who have the proper diagnostics or coding ability. in fact, it's exactly like automobiles - my old 2004 Merc A-Class came with a lifetime warranty on the engine and corrosion guarantee etc. This was voided if I ever took it to a non-mercedes garage for servicing or testing. Just like having an iPhone repaired at a non-apple authorised store, the warranty will be voided regardless of the quality of repair.
    boopthesnootredraider11
  • Reply 13 of 82
    jdwjdw Posts: 451member
    I hate litigation.  I despise it even for righting serious wrongs, mainly because there is too much litigation.

    With that said, I support "right to repair" legislation in all 50 states.  

    I would never repair an iPhone myself because it is too hard.  But what if it is out of warranty and/or in-warranty but Apple wants to charge me a lot to fix it?  There are third part repair shops with specialty equipment that can repair these devices with relative ease (made even easier for them if they have access to the Apple parts and repair guides).  So I want these repair shops to have access to that information from Apple in order to make repairs faster, cheaper, and better -- so long as the security of the device isn't compromised as a result.  But honestly, even without the manuals, these repair shops have microscopes that can see things the human eye cannot.  So it may be hard to say whether releasing private documentation to them would decrease security any lower than it is now.

    I'm talking about repair folks like these guys:

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPjp41qeXe1o_lp1US9TpWA/videos
    edited February 15
  • Reply 14 of 82
    Legislation always trails technology and trends but legislation is the only way to provide clear guidelines on (in this case) hardware design and protect the rights of the consumer. If we didn't have data protection acts, life in the developed  world would be vastly different to what it is.

    I believe in repairability but through certified technicians. I believe in replaceable batteries too but also certified.

    As someone said, design should also deal with accessibility and repairability.

    Just because we can slim things down and make them lighter by using glue, it doesn't mean we should go there if we lose other capabilities in the process.

    In the case of Apple and the US (12 month standard warranty) the issue is more pronounced but with every step the company takes to seal everything inside its products, it makes them 'disposable' by design if they need repair out of warranty.

    If you are paying almost 1000€ for a premium product (much, much more for the latest MBP) it should come with a corresponding warranty out of the box. That is to say 12 months standard is way too little.

    In the case of technology that holds user data. Repairs (or as seems to be ever increasing, replacement units) should see the storage elements handed back to the user or explicitly (and voluntarily) signed over to Apple on the condition of correct destruction of data. Apple should not be allowed to claim it needs the part for accountability.

    It's a complex issue but legislation is the only way to lay the groundwork for the future.
  • Reply 15 of 82
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 1,588moderator
    cashxx said:
    I'm all for it!   No reason for Apple or others to make things so hard to tear apart!  Especially these days when everything is so thin.  Like an Air you should be able to take the bottom cover off and everything laid out and simply removed after a few screws from a single layer.  Same for iPhone.  Remove two screws, lift the screen, easily unplug, easily replace logic board, etc.   No reason for gluing batteries in place, etc.  If they can build it for beauty inside and out they can built it to be easily taken apart and repaired instead of the overly complicated ways they do now on purpose!

    There's likely very good reason any glued components are glued.  Phone get jostled, dropped, creating impacts that might shift internal components.  And that could create exactly the tolerance issues that Samsung cited as causing battery fires.  
    StrangeDaysmike1
  • Reply 16 of 82
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 1,588moderator
    As another poster touched upon, there are repair or replace decisions that require Apple provide a replacement unit.  Apple undoubtedly covers this in the process of authorizing a third party servicer.  Just handing over the manuals and giving any servicer the right to order parts doesn't address these subtleties along the repair spectrum.  

    An issue, which I haven't heard the commenters or article authors address, is the issue of brand reputation.  Brand image is another reason why there's a servicer authorization process, so that Apple can ensure that its brand doesn't take a hit from shoddy repairs in a world where anyone can service the products and therefore there's no perceived differentiation between authorized servicers and everyone else.  Plus, consumers could be hurt, as there would be less incentive for any servicer to endure Apple's authorization process.  Even current authorized servicere may neglect to bother to continue to become certified on new Apple products as they are released.  And so, the service quality, overall, may deteriorate, and with it, Apple's brand image.  These are arguments I'd make to the legislature.  
    edited February 15
  • Reply 17 of 82

    Apple has gone so far as to develop proprietary screws to thwart unauthorized repairs. 

    People are forever complaining about being 'locked out' of their phones due to proprietary screws but a complete set of screwdrivers for iPhone 4 to 5 is available on eBay for $2. 
    edited February 15 StrangeDays
  • Reply 18 of 82
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,923member
    Apple doesnt have a leg to stand on here.    It will be a sad day if they win.    Worst the issue they are trying to use as an excuse here "batteries" is exactly why this legislation is needed.   Repairs like this need the proper parts available to do tge fix correctly.  

    Beyond that people in this thread act as if an Apple computer or cell phone is some mysterious device that good oke Americans cant understand.  Frankly this is no different than a watch repair, some people can do it some cant.  You don't make watch repairs illegal just because there are a few idiots in the business.  
    indiekidukavon b7
  • Reply 19 of 82
    Apple will lose this eventually. They charge a fortune for repairs and have been caught hiding error code info to the detriment of professional repair shops. Consumers have no alternative but to pay hundreds for a logic board replacement even in the case where a cable is disconnected. In the case of water damage warranty is already lost so denying consumers the right to pay for it to be cleaned instead of being thrown away and a new one purchased is harmful for the environement. Apple will likely be forced to provide more realistic repair options rather than silly flat rate full replacements.
  • Reply 20 of 82
    Apple will lose this eventually. They charge a fortune for repairs and have been caught hiding error code info to the detriment of professional repair shops. Consumers have no alternative but to pay hundreds for a logic board replacement even in the case where a cable is disconnected. In the case of water damage warranty is already lost so denying consumers the right to pay for it to be cleaned instead of being thrown away and a new one purchased is harmful for the environement. Apple will likely be forced to provide more realistic repair options rather than silly flat rate full replacements.
    Why not just buy the AppleCare+ warranty and then its covered? Its a small price to pay vs paying for a repair. Its no different than anything else. If you don't think you need to buy an extended warranty (including accidental) then thats the risk you take. I would much rather have Apple do the repair vs Bob's screen repair in a mall where they take a shitty piece of glass and replace it where as if you go to Apple to get it repaired you're at least getting OEM parts put back in by experienced people and these people have the resources of Apple to fall back on. 

    As far as something like a home button well that's a security issue there because it has the finger print reader on it. I wouldn't want some $2 home button that looks just like the OEM one but works like shit, and could present itself to be a major security issue. You don't know where the sensor was made, how well it works, what data its recording, etc, etc. Again, I'd much rather have Apple do the repair. 

    Just because you buy something doesn't mean you have the right to get it repaired wherever you want under warranty. Apple isn't alone with this. One example I can think of is if you get a Dodge Charger or Challenger Hellcat the supercharger is a a sealed unit. If you open it, you void the warranty and as soon as a dealer sees it was opened they'll flag your VIN an no dealership can perform warranty work on it. 
    edited February 15
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