Apple's Self Service Repair answers critics, doesn't help users

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2021
Just because you can do something, it doesn't mean you will. Apple may be counting on that with its new Self Service Repair program, as repairs are likely to come with a high initial outlay.

Apple's new Self Service Repair program
Apple's new Self Service Repair program


Apple should be applauded for launching its Self Service Repair program. Keep the din to a minimum, though, because it almost certainly did it to head off future legislation.

The new program has been announced as Apple has spent millions lobbying against right to repair legislation being considered by states nationwide, such as the New York Senate, and so many more.

However, beneath the basic idea that users will be able to repair their iPhone or Mac, there are hidden costs -- and we don't yet know what all of them will be.

Self Service Repair will work for parts in much the same way that Apple's trade-in program for the Mac and the iPhone currently does. Just as with that trade-in, the user must pay the full price for a part, and then get refunded the worth of their old one, once Apple has inspected it.

What Apple does not say is what the cost of those components will be. The way it works with Apple authorized repair centers is that they have to pay a greatly inflated price for the component up front.

Apple refers to a replaced part now as being a "core." Following repair, when that broken part is returned to Apple, the servicer gets a credit for it.

Again, Apple has not indicated how this will work with the new program. But for instance it has been common for a service center to pay $1,000 or more for a part up front, and then eventually get $800 back.

Hidden costs

The new program has been announced with few details, which we have asked about. One element seems to make it clear that there will be another key fee.

"[A] customer will place an order for the Apple genuine parts and tools using the Apple Self Service Repair Online Store," says Apple, very specifically mentioning the tools.

So alongside whatever the cost of the component is, users will have to buy Apple tools and it's not yet clear if one tool purchase will cover future repairs even for the same part. For an individual intending to make one repair to their one device, it's unlikely to be a good balance of what you get versus what you pay for.

Which might be what Apple is counting on.

Apple does stress that for "the vast majority of customers, visiting a professional repair provider with certified technicians who use genuine Apple parts is the safest and most reliable way to get a repair."

That is unquestionably true, given how there are one billion people using iPhones. Apple's customer base today works out at around 25 iPhone users to every one Mac user, and its old hobbyist days are decades behind it.

An AppleInsider reader on the aggregate is more technically inclined, and more regulars know enough to effect a repair. The vast majority of Apple's customers do not, and many will try anyway.

Will you take advantage of Apple's new Self Service Repair program?

-- AppleInsider (@appleinsider)


Apple says that the program will initially "focus on the most commonly serviced" parts, such as the iPhone's "display, battery, and camera." Repair, in this case, really means replacing components, but swapping parts out risks damaging others.

For example, in most battery swaps for the iPhone, the screen needs to be removed. This is not a simple procedure, and the screen is easily broken during the process with even the most minor of slip-ups or inappropriate force application.

Previously, Apple has objected to the Right to Repair movement by saying that the iPhone, for instance, is "too complex" for untrained consumers to repair. The company has also said that inexperienced users could easily puncture the lithium-ion battery in an iPhone, and injure themselves.

Injuries may happen, and Apple is certain to have considered how likely it is to be sued over some botched repairs. Nonetheless, Apple has been under pressure to enact some kind of right to repair service -- even Steve Wozniak has said it should -- and this new program is a response to that.

Yet its real worth is as a response to critics, and as a way of warding off future legislation. It's not going to make a difference to nearly every individual user, not directly.

For even if a given user is competent enough to make the repair themselves, it's not likely to be worth their while since labor has a cost even if it is your own labor. If it costs more to buy the tools, and a user has to initially pay out far more than the component costs, at least some are going to choose to buy a new device, or pay Apple for the repair.

Where this will make a substantial difference is in the smaller repair shop. They'll still have the same cost of tools and up-front components, but if they are making sufficient repairs, then it could be worth it for them.

And then that could in turn mean that it becomes cheaper for users to use these smaller repair shops.

Read on AppleInsider
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,057member
    Original iPhones and Macs were pretty easy to repair. Not any more and I actually like this. Try disconnecting a new antenna cable then reconnecting it. It’s a 50-50 try for success. 

    I like the newer devices because there’s less to repair. I know upgrades aren’t available except for external ones but that’s ok with me. 
    edited November 2021 williamlondonlolliverDetnator
  • Reply 2 of 36
    As for ’tools’ I am almost sure that iFix can sell you anyone you need!

    There is no reason why Apple should ‘make mandatory’ that you buy them the tools. Well, maybe, the glue…
    williamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 36
    I would argue that this editorial contorts the meaning of “hidden costs” well beyond a reasonable interpretation. 

    A hidden cost is when someone provides a good or service without disclosing (or being coy about) all the costs involved. For example I sell you a safe but don’t tell you that you have to pay extra to learn the combination. 

    There are (as far as we currently know) no hidden costs with this just announced Apple program. Apple clearly states that these parts will cost money and that credits will be paid for returned broken parts “for recycling.” Nothing about this is “hidden.” We just haven’t learned the price yet. That’s what we called “unannounced” or “not yet known” pricing, not “hidden costs.”

    I don’t doubt the costs for replacement parts will be pricey. Nor do I doubt that one won’t get anywhere near 80% of the cost back when the busted part is returned (as the article suggests with its example).  Let’s wait and see the details. But in the meantime, Wall Street loves this announcement. 
    muthuk_vanalingamjas99thtfoadAlex_Vlam92103lolliverstompy
  • Reply 4 of 36
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,542administrator
    lmasanti said:
    As for ’tools’ I am almost sure that iFix can sell you anyone you need!

    There is no reason why Apple should ‘make mandatory’ that you buy them the tools. Well, maybe, the glue…
    But yet, here we are.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 5 of 36

    It’s quite possible that the part to be replaced will come complete with all the tools/glue/seals necessary to do the job with no option of buying the component without these items. These tools will also likely be designed for a “one off” repair and unsuitable for repeat repairs.

  • Reply 6 of 36
    lmasanti said:
    ... iFix can sell you anyone you need!
    ...
    Oops, pretty sure that business model has been outlawed.
  • Reply 7 of 36
    iFixit pushes hard for right to repair.

    Shoots themselves in foot when Apple relents  :p.
    williamlondonigorsky
  • Reply 8 of 36
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,517member
    iFixit pushes hard for right to repair.

    Shoots themselves in foot when Apple relents  :p.
    Indeed.  It'll be interesting to see if, even with likely higher tool & part costs from Apple, it'll even out with the old part refund and so most people will choose Apple over iFixit from now on.

    williamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 36
    Apple will continue with using non uniformed screws that Apple has created so tooling is extremely hard to come by until a year or two down the road.  That is the Apple way!  Maybe Apple should selling a repair tool kit as an accessories section and charge $20 for a proprietary screw driver?  Full tool kit - $250.00!
    edited November 2021 williamlondon
  • Reply 10 of 36
    I’m still going to continue to bring my Apple products to the Apple Store if necessary. Not saying that I cannot repair the products myself if I have the correct tools and parts and I’m all for right to repair but I’ve been using Apple products for years and years and I trust them with repairing my computers, iPads, iPhones etc…. if necessary.

    If someone wants to repair their own products by themselves, go for it. 
    lollivercjlacz
  • Reply 11 of 36
    This program will be similar to the self repair program for companies. It will take technical expertise to do many of the repairs and it is not something that the average consumer is going to be able to do.
    williamlondontht
  • Reply 12 of 36
    jayweiss said:
    This program will be similar to the self repair program for companies. It will take technical expertise to do many of the repairs and it is not something that the average consumer is going to be able to do.
    How is that different from repairing any electronic device?
    tht
  • Reply 13 of 36
    Agree with this article 100%. The discussion responses here are beyond me  - "bravo Apple" etc. etc., this announcement from Apple is a purely tactical response to the myriad of repair initiatives they've been fighting tooth and nail. Screen repair and battery replacement have been deliberately made difficult to prevent user repair or even facilitate 3rd party repair for one reason: $$$$ revenue - it brings in megabucks for repairs/battery replacements because they're so overpriced which in turn drives sales of new phones.
    edited November 2021
  • Reply 14 of 36
    Really happy that Apple is finally embracing the repair movement. As someone who has done repaired many many electronics, I am super excited to be able to order parts from Apple.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 15 of 36
    It will open the door to small shops doing (better and easier) repairs. Welcome addition! We should thank regulators on this one. Next: upgrade capabilities! 
    williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 36
    Agree with this article 100%. The discussion responses here are beyond me  - "bravo Apple" etc. etc., this announcement from Apple is a purely tactical response to the myriad of repair initiatives they've been fighting tooth and nail. Screen repair and battery replacement have been deliberately made difficult to prevent user repair or even facilitate 3rd party repair for one reason: $$$$ revenue - it brings in megabucks for repairs/battery replacements because they're so overpriced which in turn drives sales of new phones.

    You maybe right - we have to wind back (or at least not advance) technology back from the rate that has been happening. (demand less, slower and thicker for example, rather than more, thinner and faster)

    Do we really need all that display cleverness that make screen repairs difficult?

    If we want this clever stuff then the result will always be a reduction in repairability (or increase in repair cost). 

    The same goes for all products, food or anything else we consume - do we really need it? well, food, yes but does it need to be shipped from the other side of the planet.

    Although, I must admit, I’m not really certain I want to live in the world I have just described - I quite like the technical wizardry (and exotic foods).

  • Reply 17 of 36
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,006member
    Most Joe-Consumers have zero business cracking open an iPhone or Mac to do repairs.  If your product is under warranty, then there is even less of an excuse to go this route.  I can certainly see the future online rants from people that made the attempt to fix it themselves, destroy their phone/Mac and then figure out a way to blame Apple.

    That being said, I do like having the option.  For those that aren't afraid to do their own work on iPhones or Macs that are no longer in warranty, it's an option.  I've repaired Macs in the past and finding replacement parts can sometimes be a roll of the dice.  To buy it directly from Apple would certainly be advantageous to many.
    lollivertht
  • Reply 18 of 36
    Yikes … an entire article devoted to complaining about something so lacking in information that the author has to presume things in order to complain.

    It doesn’t really matter how reasonable the author believes the presumptions are. We have no idea, and so complaining in advance seems blatantly biased and petty.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 19 of 36
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,160member
    As for iFixit, I doubt they will be satisfied. After right to repair comes right to repair easily without tools, screws, or glue.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 20 of 36
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    lkrupp said:
    As for iFixit, I doubt they will be satisfied. After right to repair comes right to repair easily without tools, screws, or glue.
    iFixit have already given Apple a fairly good (for Apple) writeup for using a lot less glue and relatively easy screw-based disassembly in the new MacBook Pro.

    https://www.ifixit.com/News/54122/macbook-pro-2021-teardown

    This new move from Apple will satisfy another of their reservations. Of course they won't be satisfied, there's still a lot of fixed components, and glue and solder remains, hopefully Apple are considering improvements in some or all of those areas too.
    edited November 2021
Sign In or Register to comment.