Third-party repair stores are a common option if you drop or break your smartphone, but Apple is reportedly not a fan of these alternative repair options. Apple is one of several high-profile companies that have been lobbying against a New York state bill that would make it easier to independent stores and users to repair devices. According to Motherboard, the Fair Repair Act would have companies sell replacement parts and tools to everyone, bans software locks that would limit repairs and, in some cases, have companies provide repair guides publicly. However, Apple and other companies have come out aggressively against the proposed legislation. Along with Apple, other companies who have lobbied against the Fair Repair Act include Toyota, Caterpillar and Verizon.
Traditionally, when a car breaks down, the solution has been to fix it. Repair manuals, knowledgeable mechanics and auto parts stores make car repairs common, quick and relatively inexpensive. Even with modern computer-equipped vehicles, regular people have plenty they can do: change oil, change tires and many more advanced upgrades. The failure of most electronic devices is due to simple accidents such as dropping a device or spilling water on it. Manufacturers can earn a lot of money from selling authorized parts and service.
Users' right to repair – or to pay others to fix – objects they own is in jeopardy, writes mechanical and aerospace engineer Sara Behdad. Traditionally, when a car breaks down, the solution has been to fix it. Repair manuals, knowledgeable mechanics and auto parts stores make car repairs common, quick and relatively inexpensive. Even with modern computer-equipped vehicles, regular people have plenty they can do: change oil, change tires and many more advanced upgrades. But when a computer or smartphone breaks, it's hard to get it fixed, and much more common to throw the broken device away.
Michael Oberdick owns two small gadget repair shops in northwestern Ohio. He and his technicians spend their days at iOutlet replacing busted screens, repairing battered motherboards, and generally making life easier for people who've done something stupid with their gadgets. He found this job far easier just five years ago, when he started repairing phones for friends. Back then, anyone with basic tools, a little patience, and an instruction manual could fix just about anything. But these days, performing all but the most basic repairs requires specialized tools and knowledge that companies like Apple and Samsung guard jealously.
California will be the 18th state to propose a "Right to Repair" bill for electronics. It would require hardware manufacturers to make repair information, alongside equipment and service parts, available to product owners and independent repair shops. California assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman detailed the legislation that aims to give more users control over their gadgets. Instead of paying a high price to a manufacturer to fix an electronic, Eggman says some people are forced to prematurely upgrade when they should have other repair options. "The Right to Repair Act will provide consumers with the freedom to have their electronic products and appliances fixed by a repair shop or service provider of their choice, a practice that was taken for granted a generation ago but is now becoming increasingly rare in a world of planned obsolescence," Eggman said in a statement.