What you need to know
- iFixit CEO and founder Kyle Wiens has blasted companies like Apple for obstructing the right to repair movement.
- He called out the company over using non-standard parts and contractual agreements with suppliers.
- He also called out wastage of spare parts and said consumers would benefit from right to repair initiatives.
iFixit founder and CEO Kyle Wiens says that Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung are among companies obstructing right to repair to the detriment of consumers, deliberately making their products harder to fix.
Viens made the comments at the Productivity Commission's right to repair hearing in Australia on Monday. As reported by ZDNet, Viens told the commission virtually that companies were deliberately obstructing right to repair for consumers. Regarding Apple specifically, Wens stated:
"Apple is notorious for doing this with the chips in their computers. There's a particular charging chip on the MacBook Pro … there is a standard version of the part and then there's the Apple version of the part that sits very slightly tweaked, but it's tweaked enough that it's only required to work in this computer, and that company again is under contractual requirement with Apple."
He also criticized Apple over claims it recycles spare parts that were like new:
"California Apple stops providing service after seven years, so this was at seven years and Apple have warehouses full of spare parts, and rather than selling that out in the marketplace -- so someone like me who eagerly would've bought them -- they were paying the recycler to destroy them"
Apple has come under increasing pressure to make products like the iPhone 12 more easily accessible for consumer and third-party repairs, however, the company has strongly pushed back against the legislation over worries about third-parties getting unauthorized access to data.
Wens also named and shamed Microsoft's Surface laptop, which is apparently so hard to repair that its glued-in battery makes it impossible to work on, and Samsung's Galaxy earbuds.
A recent FTC report went so far as to say Apple's repair stance was anticompetitive.
Apple expanded its Independent Repair Provider program to more than 200 countries in March. There is no cost to join the program and repair providers must have an Apple-certified technician to perform repairs. Certification for this is also free, and repair providers can access Apple parts and tools at the same price as Authorised Apple Service Providers, as well as free training, repair manuals, and diagnostics.