NYT: There ought to be a law against Apple’s hard line on repairs

The Grey Lady’s editorial board makes common cause with iFixit.

From It’s Your iPhone. Why Can’t You Fix It Yourself?  in Sunday’s New York Times:

Apple and John Deere, among other companies, have lobbied vigorously, and so far with success, against proposals for state right-to-repair laws. Companies say that they are seeking to ensure the quality of repairs, protecting both their customers and their own reputations.

They also have raised more sensational concerns. Lydia Brasch, a Nebraska state senator who proposed such a law in 2017, said an Apple lobbyist warned her that Nebraska would become a hot spot for hackers, and that it was dangerous to play with lithium batteries.

The company is welcome to persuade people to patronize its own repair facilities, or to buy new iPhones. But there ought to be a law against forcing the issue.

My take: I pay for AppleCare, partly because I’m lazy, but mostly because the cost of Apple’s out-of-warranty screen repairs is ridiculous (see below). Talk about forcing the issue!

nytimes apple repair right

19 Comments

  1. George Row said:
    PED, what was the repair for which you provided the price list?

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    April 7, 2019
  2. Turley Muller said:
    Prices in Australian Dollars?

    1
    April 7, 2019
  3. Jerry W Doyle said:
    Nebraska or any state that passes Right to Repair legislation will be rolling the red carpet out to nefarious operators and to more Yujing Zhang to introduce malware-infected software into my iOS devices, if Elizabeth Warren has her way. I say “no.”

    A Third Party Repair industry may resonate with some consumers. It soon would become a sizable cottage industry. To say criminal infestation would not enter insidiously into that market is myopic in understanding our vulnerabilities.

    I’m always reminded of Steve’s admonishment: “… We do these things not because we are control freaks. We do them because we want to make great products, because we care about the user and because we like to take responsibility for the entire experience rather than turn out the crap that other people make.”

    One reason I go with Apple is knowing that I am in good hands.

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    April 7, 2019
    • “… We do these things not because we are control freaks. We do them because we want to make great products, because we care about the user and because we like to take responsibility for the entire experience rather than turn out the crap that other people make.”

      Great quote!

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      April 7, 2019
    • Fred Stein said:
      Good points. Applies to the prior article comparing to Disney.

      It’s all about the user experience.

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      April 7, 2019
  4. David Emery said:
    A lot of the repair difficulties are obvious consequences of engineering decisions. If you want those small, strong, light, long-lived phones, a consequence is a lot less space to make things like batteries easy to replace.

    Now I think on laptops Apple has gone too far, RAM and storage should be easier to upgrade. (And I’ve described Apple’s laptops as ‘anorexic’, getting rid of useful ports just for the sake of thin and light.)

    But these should be -consumer choices-. I do NOT want Big Brother telling me how to make my trade-offs! And I sure as Hell do NOT want the New York Times to tell me what kind of computer/phone I’m not allowed to have, because they don’t approve!!!

    3
    April 7, 2019
  5. George Ewonus said:
    Had Apple replace a funky hard drive in my 2014 iMac. Replacement was within hours at the Apple Store and CAD310 total cost. Can’t say I can complain.

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    April 7, 2019
  6. Robert Paul Leitao said:
    “The [Gray] Lady doth protest too much, me thinks.”

    How absurdly and satirically ironic.

    When I clicked on the referenced link I was informed by the New York Times I have “1 article left” to read without buying a subscription. Of course, I can only buy a subscription from the New York Times.

    Perhaps the publication should work on “fixing” its subscriber challenges before running an opinion piece on how Apple products should be fixed due to accidental damage. I don’t think it’s a coincidence publications that have chosen not to broaden their distribution by partnering with Apple on Apple News+ are now running negative opinion pieces about the company.

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    April 7, 2019
    • S Lawton said:
      ” I don’t think it’s a coincidence publications that have chosen not to broaden their distribution by partnering with Apple on Apple News+ are now running negative opinion pieces about the company. ”
      Right. Because the NUT has never run a negative piece on Apple before. I know you are a fan of Apple’s new subscription service but publications are allowed to make their own decisions based on their own business needs whether to be part of it or not. Just as it is your choice to read and/or to subscribe to the publication.

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      April 7, 2019
      • Robert Paul Leitao said:
        Absolutely. The New York Times Co., a publicly-traded, billion dollar revenue enterprise, has every right to choose how its for-profit products are sold and distributed. After all, it’s not as if the NYT has some kind of altruistic claim to producing its content solely for the benefit of humanity. It’s a for-profit enterprise seeking its own interest. It produces content for profit similar to way Kraft Heinz produces ketchup for sale and Coca-Cola makes beverages for consumption.

        Similarly, Apple, a publicly-traded enterprise, has the right to determine how its products are repaired for the benefit of consumers and to protect the quality of the user experience after investing many billions of dollars pursuing product and services excellence and unrivaled consumer privacy protection.

        I’m just pointing out the hypocrisy. One for-profit, publicly traded enterprise is running an opinion piece supporting legislation to force another for-profit enterprise to change the way is handles its customer relationships and product repair policies. Apple does offer consumers AppleCare+ which provides a low deductible for accidental damage to their devices. Consumers have a right to buy AppleCare+ and a right not to buy AppleCare+. Third-party resellers of iPhones also sell their own accidental damage policies. Consumers have choices.

        I’d like to see the NYT “fix” its diminishing influence and improve its news coverage by investing more in journalistic talent. But I’m not advocating for legislation to force it to do so. It’s a for-profit enterprise that answers to its shareholders just like Apple, Kraft Heinz and Coca-Cola.

        Actually, there is a difference. The New York Times Company has two classes of shares with the Class B shares, which control the company, not available to the public.

        Hmmm… Perhaps the New York Times Company should work on its own control issues before criticizing Apple for seeking to maintain high quality control over the way the company’s products are repaired.

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        April 7, 2019
        • S Lawton said:
          ” I’d like to see the NYT “fix” its diminishing influence and improve its news coverage by investing more in journalistic talent. ” As would I although I’d change that “talent” to “integrity” . But it’s freedom of the press and though there are many things wrong with how they use that freedom, we are better with it than without it.

          1
          April 7, 2019
          • Robert Paul Leitao said:
            Agreed. On balance I very much like the New York Times and its coverage. The world of journalism is in a better space than it would be without the Times. From what I’ve read, the New York Times Co. is moving quickly to embrace digital distribution. I can understand management’s cautious approach to embrace digital distribution outside its direct control at this time. Digital distribution is a big change for publications not born in this era.

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            April 7, 2019
  7. Fred Stein said:
    Kinda relevant vignette:

    At San Jose airport last week, I saw a small kiosk staffed by one person doing nothing but iPhone repairs, mainly screens replacements. Killing time, I asked why only iPhone. He said, Android screen repairs are so costly that it’s better to buy a new Android. He added that the inventory management for Android repairs doesn’t make sense for his business. It would too complex and take up too much space.

    Net: It’s easy to criticize Apple. Much tougher to find a better alternative.

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    April 7, 2019
  8. Fred Stein said:
    Then I check on Gazelle for used iPhone 8 64G. Prices range from $389 to $459.

    The Apple screen repair option looks OK.

    1
    April 7, 2019
  9. John Konopka said:
    I have mixed feelings about this. From an engineering standpoint I can see where sealing up the case tighter makes for a stronger product. On the other hand, Apple goes out of its way to make cases difficult to open and components are often glued in place making them difficult to replace.

    It makes sense for society at large that all products have a longer useful life. This produces less e-waste, among other things.

    I don’t know how you would legislate this. Would you outlaw glue, soldered in memory or SSDs? Would you require voltage test points? Must schematics be required to be published for all gadgets?

    Components are getting smaller, and packed more densely and circuit boards are gaining more layers. If you know a certain capacitor or diode is faulty it might require very delicate microsurgery to replace it.

    It is only going to get worse as components keep getting smaller and denser.

    My first computer was built as a rack of boards using 7400 series logic. My last computer was a single chip 8 bit microcomputer (probably faster with more memory) built into a cheap battery charger that cost a few dollars. In the next version the whole board will probably be built as a single SOC design with nothing accessible.

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    April 7, 2019

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