Why Care About The Right to Repair Movement?

Just this month Apple has announced a new initiative to release manuals, part lists and tools to allow consumers and third party repair shops to have access to Apple property. This follows the ongoing “right to repair” movement that reached a height last summer. According to IBIS World, from 2014 to 2018, increased smartphone and tablet usage resulted in a 4.4% growth in the cell phone repair industry. Breaking cell phones nowadays is an unfortunate anomaly in the United States, due to the inflation of bigger and better technology for a higher price tag made with cheaper parts than last year. Most consumers find that it is usually cheaper or the same cost to buy a brand new phone than fix their older models. Some repairs cost upwards of $250 without insurance which a small percentage of Americans can afford especially after the pandemic. During July of this year President Biden has made several executive orders to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as well as individual tech companies to consider the repair market as a new consumer norm, helping reduce tech waste and improve consumer tech knowledge.

Apple has been one of the first to give up the battle by releasing classified documents on parts, assembly manuals and unique tools within the industry. Apple has been under fire in the past years for raising prices without fixing problems circulating battery life and sleek but poor functional design, which competitors like samsung often point out in advertising schemes. This newly released information will not only be in direct use for the consumer but also third party repair shops who were used to using backdoor strategies to begin with. The hope is that this type of open market will help reduce the price for cell phones, making them again an affordable and crucial part of an individual’s 21st-century life. Expanding the market, allows people choices to make decisions based on their budget ; evidentially making what is first world custom to owning a cellphone still realties for the people financially struggling in this country by the  effect of the  global pandemic. Long term, the people behind the movement hope that everyday people develop more of a relationship with the parts and processes that make up the phone they hold everyday and will become better advocates for the new models released in the future.

Resources

Chen, B. X. (2021, November 17). What Apple’s new Repair Program means for you (and your iphone). The New York Times. Retrieved November 24, 2021, from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/17/technology/personaltech/apple-iphone-self-repair.html. 

Duffy, C. (2021, July 14). Biden’s executive order takes on right-to-repair. it could make fixing your smartphone easier. CNN. Retrieved November 24, 2021, from https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/14/tech/right-to-repair-biden-executive-order/index.html. Lawrence, L., & Brody, B. (2021, November 18). Why is Apple letting customers fix their iphones? Protocol. Retrieved November 24, 2021, from https://www.protocol.com/policy/apple-right-to-repair-ftc.

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