iPhone repair is Apple’s long overdue innovation and a welcome change of course
The world in which we grew up, you bought stuff with the expectation that it could be and would be repaired regardless of whether it was your new school uniform or the Black & White TV in the living room. So how did things change? How did we suckered into mindless ‘upgrades’: “….thanks to globalized supply chains and manufacturing, the real cost of durable goods like TVs has been dropping for decades. For many consumers, it’s now easier and cheaper to throw out a $200 flatscreen and upgrade than it is to attempt a repair. As a result, manufacturers had few reasons to build out expensive spare-part supply chains.”
So what brought about Apple’s change in heart? “For more than a decade, “right to repair” activists have been lobbying state legislatures and federal officials to prohibit anti-repair practices. In March, those activists scored a major victory when President Joe Biden issued an executive order calling for an end to repair monopolies. For Apple, the writing was likely on the iPad: expand repair options voluntarily, or fight a losing battle to resist.”
So, what happens next? Will we spend our weekends repairing our Apple products? “It won’t just be iPhone owners who benefit. Apple’s influence on consumer technology is so extensive that its decision will likely be emulated by others, boosting “repairability” as a device feature. Meanwhile, the booming global secondhand market should see an influx of devices that have either been repaired or can be. In turn, consumers in emerging markets could benefit hugely. Crucially, all of these developments will also be helping the environment.
Of course, Apple isn’t reversing course entirely out of the goodness of its corporate heart. Independent shops that want to use Apple-certified parts must still join the company’s Independent Repair Provider Program and agree to its invasive terms.”
If you would like to read about a visionary business leader who saw all of this coming 30 years ago and went on to build a very successful company, you might want to read “Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman” by Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia.