Apple’s ongoing PR nightmare concerning the iPhone slowdown case could turn out to be a boon for “Right to Repair” advocates, backing bills that will force companies to supply the necessary parts to repair older devices.
Specifically, it would mean Apple offering customers more options by giving third-party repair shops the legal right to buy official spare parts, and access service manuals. The result could help bring down the cost of repairs for iPhones.
According to a new report, while none of these “Right to Repair” laws have yet passed, legislative activity is increasing dramatically. “Apple’s throttling of iPhones has increased scrutiny on the barriers to repair, and the need for Right to Repair reforms,” the report claims. “Hearings are being scheduled across the country.”
So far in 2018, 17 states have reportedly introduced bills that help bring down repair costs.
Apple and the right to repair (and slow down iPhones)
Apple recently admitted to throttling the speed of older iPhones, although it maintains that this is done to help avoid random shutdowns in models with older lithium-ion batteries.
As a make good, Apple first recently notified customers that it will reduce the price on out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacements by $50, putting the cost at just $29. Tim Cook has also said that a future iOS 11 update will give users the ability to manually turn this slowdown feature off, although Apple does not recommend that they do this.
Nonetheless, the complaint has caused a number of lawsuits and investigations of Apple — including a massive 370,000 individuals in South Korea lining up to sue the company in a giant class action lawsuit.
Apple has already shown that it’s willing to offer solutions to user complaints, as with its battery deal and iOS 11 upgrade. However, it’s less likely that it will be willing to get behind “Right to Repair.”
In the past, Apple has been staunchly against the potential laws — such as when Apple delegates opposed one such bill in Nebraska, saying that giving users and third-party repairers access to its components and service manuals would make Nebraska would become a “Mecca for bad actors.” New York state records also show that Apple has lobbied against the Fair Repair Act in that state, a bill that would force companies to sell replacement parts to customers.
Under Tim Cook’s leadership, Apple’s lobbying efforts have doubled.