California is the latest U.S. state to unveil a so-called ‘Right to Repair’ bill in a bid to protect consumers from tech companies’ predatory repair practices. If the bill is turned into legislation, device owners and repair shops will have easier access to repair guides and tools to fix the gadgets.
On the other hand, tech companies could fire back and create products that are hard to repair even by professional repair shops. The debate is ongoing in America, especially after findings that Apple Inc. purportedly slowed down older iPhones to coerce customers into upgrading to the newest models.
California is the latest state to unveil such legislation, with 18 others already in the process of passing it.
In the Batterygate scandal, Apple admitted that the slowdowns were intentional, but the motives are not what users claim. The real reason is that the handsets were getting old and newer apps put a heavy strain on their processors which forced aging batteries to restart the phones in order to prevent damage to hardware.
To prevent the restarts, Apple issued upgrades that throttled the phones’ performance without letting users know first.
Pros and Cons of a ‘Right to Repair’ Law
However, allowing some handsets in the premium segment to be repair by non-authorized persons is very tricky as many features require special tools. For example, some phones sport a water-proof feature. If the handset needs to be repaired, a repair shop would need a special seal to ensure that the water-proofing is still there. So, companies may drop that feature in future handsets because of the ‘Right to Repair’.
Also, some devices are tougher to get into than others. For instance, the iPhone’s architecture makes the phone hard if not sometimes impossible to repair by non-professionals. However, Apple stores are not available in all locations, so people need repair shops to fix their handsets. This is where a ‘Right to Repair’ law would come in handy.
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