Last Wednesday – November 17, 2021, American tech giant Apple Inc. officially announced their new Self Service Repair Program for the iPhone and Macbook lines, giving customers who are comfortable with repairing their own devices access to genuine Apple parts and tools.
The program will start early in 2022 for the United States and will be available first for Apple iPhone 12 and 13 Series. Mac computers and notebooks running on Apple M1 processors will be added soon after. The company noted that Self Service Repair will expand to other countries throughout 2022.
Image Credit: Apple Inc.
Apple’s announcement came hot in the heels of the filing of the National Right-To-Repair Bill in the US Congress on June 10, 2021 by Congressman Joseph Morell.
If and when it gets signed into law, the Fair Repair Act would require electronic devices and car manufacturers to provide owners (and independent repair stores) access to tools, parts, and manuals they need to fix purchased products themselves.
While many are lauding Apple for pre-empting the anticipated enactment of the bill with this pro-active corporate stance, some pundits and Apple fans remain unsure if Self Service Repair will actually be viable for consumers, especially in terms of cost.
To quote Louis Rossman – who is probably the most vocal advocate of Right-To-Repair on Youtube, “The detail [of Apple Self Service Repair] that I would be curious about is [up to] what degree – how granular – are you going to make parts available. What makes us (RossmanGroup) a viable option over going to the Apple Store is that we will replace just what’s broken — not everything.”
He suggests that Apple Self Service Repair program will only be economically viable for consumers if the company would be willing to provide individual parts to be replaced instead of entire modules, which can be very expensive. For example, if the keyboard is the only thing that’s broken in a Macbook, it wouldn’t help the consumer if Apple is only willing to sell the device’s pricey top shelf, which includes that part.
If the Self Service Repair of your iPhone or Macbook would end up costing 70% to 90% of the product’s retail price, would you even bother availing of it and going through the hassle of fixing the device yourself? I wouldn’t. I’d just buy a new one. But if the Self Service Repair cost would only be around 30% or 50% of the product’s SRP, I’d probably think about it.