technology

Barely launched in France, Apple’s already criticized home repair program


With great power comes great responsibility. In the small world of mobile telephony, no one knows this better than Apple. The iPhone manufacturer, which has just launched its home repair program in France, is already under fire from criticism from associations specializing in second life.

The Right to Repair Europe collective has indeed denounced an announcement effect from Applewhich is concretely “far from offering us the universal right to the reparation that we need.“The association, which includes iFixit, Backmarket and the reSTART Project, among others, regrets that the program put in place by Apple”is neither exhaustive, nor practical, nor affordable.Criticisms that had already been leveled when the program was launched in the United States.

A program with limited ambitions

Indeed, home repair according to Apple is done according to strict rules. The company uses a “serialization” process that involves matching the new part to the IMEI number of the device to be repaired. A way to limit the possibilities of repair to parts officially provided by Apple. “This initiative by Apple aims to promote a vision of repair in which the manufacturer retains almost complete control of the product, setting high prices for parts, discouraging consumers from carrying out repairs themselves and using software to limit the use of third-party spare parts“, regrets Ugo Vallauri, co-director of the reSTART Project.

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Even more embarrassingly, Apple’s admittedly laudable effort just might not go far enough. The European right to repairability – which is currently under discussion in Brussels – will undoubtedly oblige manufacturers to supply spare parts for 7 years. This means that Apple should technically offer spare parts for all mobiles since iPhone 7. Unfortunately, Apple’s website currently only offers spare parts for the iPhone SE, 12 and 13.

Finally, the price of the parts and the tool kit offered by Apple does not make the whole thing very affordable. The rental of the screen replacement kit for iPhone (which still weighs 35.8 kg) is accompanied by a temporary payment authorization on the credit card “to cover the full replacement value of the tools it contains.” In the United States, the sum of this “guarantee” is around $1200. Obviously, the rental of the kit is not essential, but the repair guides made available by Apple are designed with these tools in mind.

A taste of too little, too late

Considering all these hindrances […] Apple’s strategy smacks of too little, too late. It is a strategic way to advertise its products“, points out Cristina Ganapini, member of the Right to Repair Europe collective. Offering spare parts, tools, repair manuals is an excellent thing, making everything accessible and affordable is even better.

As iFixit points outif Apple’s repair program is still preferable to “no DIY option at all“, the company still has work to do.

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