Right to Repair News September: some interesting moves and announcements from tech vendors on this problem.
What is Right to Repair?
Right to Repair is the legal right of consumers and business owners to repair products such as digital devices, electronics, automobiles, and farm equipment. Manufacturers who block right to repair drive up costs and contribute to waste, particularly electronic waste. Worldwide we generate over 50 million metric tons of e-waste annually.
An example of a vendor blocking your right to repair is a smartphone where you can’t easily replace the battery so you upgrade the phone instead.
How does Right to Repair affect business?
Recently iFixit (not for profit group that provides guides to fixing everything and advocates for Right to Repair) completed a teardown of a McDonald’s soft-serve ice cream machine. iFixit targeted the Taylor C709 Soft-Serve Freezer due to the high failure rate. In New York state alone 34% of soft-serve ice creams machines at McDonald’s restaurants were broken.
The company that makes the machine, Taylor, has been using copyright law to stop franchisees from using iFixit and another company from making their own repairs. Taylor charges $350 per 15 minutes for repairs. More on this iFixit teardown and legal twists here.
California State Right To Repair
California became the third state to pass a right to repair bill. California is the first state to specify how long companies are obligated to supply parts for devices. And it is the largest state to pass such a law. More details here.
Logitech teams up with iFixit
In May Logitech announced it teamed up with iFixit to provide right to repair for certain models of its computer mouse line. Logitech is provided the support for Logitech MX Master and MX Anywhere. More on this story here.
Apple Repair Bytes
Apple has been roasted for the high cost of repairs to their products: soldering on RAM chips to their computer so you can’t upgrade it, making it impossible for the average person to put a new battery into their own iPhone, watch or other iThingys, and using odd connectors (Lightning, the 30 pin connector, FireWire, mini-DVI) creating endless cable clutter and confusion, etc.
Recently Apple is trying to rebrand themselves as a tech company that cares about ewaste and right to repair. They’ve been trying turn around the fact that the EU forced them to switch to USB C cables for their devices as something Apple did because they care. More on their rebranding: Apple wants you to believe it will save your life and maybe the world.
Apple did recently endorse the California State Right To Repair Bill. And the new iPhone 15 comes with less cable clutter: just a USB C cable, no power plug or earpods included.
More on Your Right To Repair.