Apple Starts Locking iPhone Batteries to Thwart Independent Repair

But that would likely result in a lawsuit, much as it did with Lexmark.

The simple fact would seem to be that customers want to get repairs and battery replacements from firms other than Apple. That might be due to cost, speed or convenience of repair, or some other intangible factor. Since Apple likely has a closer relationship with the owner of an Apple device than any independent repair shop would, this would seem to be a failure on Apple’s part.

Apple could easily put all third-party repair shops out of business by offering free, same-day repairs of any Apple device, regardless of age. Heck, even providing a 3-year warranty with guaranteed free repairs would probably do it. Of course, providing such free repairs would cost the company hugely, both in repair costs and in slower sales of new devices, as evidenced by the damage done to iPhone sales when Apple offered free iPhone battery replacements throughout 2018 as an apology for slowing down iPhones without alerting customers.

So without any evidence of significant harm to Apple caused by independent repair shops—or in allowing individuals to repair their own devices—I just can’t buy the claim that Apple is doing anything other than competing with non-Apple repair options with this behavior.

I notice that the commenters on Rene’s piece largely disagree with him. :slight_smile:

But that would likely result in a lawsuit, much as it did with Lexmark*

It’s not just doing nothing vs. Full-Lexmark – there’s a whole range of more aggressive options they could have undertaken if they really were aiming to get third party retailers. Heck, even a more aggressive warning – “We cannot guarantee that a non-Apple battery will not damage your iPhone” – is easily doable. If they are worried about legal issues with non-Apple batteries (as I am speculating) this is about the bare minimum reaction they could manage and still cover themselves.

offering free, same-day repairs of any Apple device, regardless of age.*

They could – if their goal was to drive third party repair places out of business. Instead, they set up a network of stores where people could go to get their equipment fixed, which impacted, but did not destroy third party places. As with the battery warning, what I think this reflects is that Apple does things for their own reasons and don’t really care one way or the other about the impact on third party repair places.

I just can’t buy the claim that Apple is doing anything other than competing with non-Apple repair options with this behavior

Well, they’re doing it remarkably ineffectively if they are.

That might be because the only people who care about this are people who disagree with him. I don’t really care one way or the other. If everybody griping makes right to repair happen, that’s fine, but I’m only going to use Apple for servicing anyway, and frankly I’ll probably be getting a new phone before I’ll need battery service anyway. I bought my latest iPhone knowing that service options are what they are; it was part of my buying decision (i.e., I prefer iPhone over anything else that I’m fine with Apple’s repair policies. And frankly I don’t think any or many of the competition with Android have better policies or would be easier to get repaired anyway.)

I’ve had numerous discussions with Apple Authorized Service Providers who are massively unhappy with how Apple treats them (and how it continues to get worse)—some have even given up working with Apple because of the low fees and poor treatment. They believe that Apple tolerates them only because it can’t actually provide the service that customers want. And those are the stores that are willing to play by Apple’s rules.

So yeah, I’m pretty confident that Apple would prefer that independent repair shops never touched Apple devices and is willing to do things in that direction short of being sued. (I overstated the case earlier when saying that Apple wants to put them out of business, since Apple devices are such a minority, particularly in the computer world, that such repair shops would have non-Apple business as well.)

I’ve had numerous discussions with Apple Authorized Service Providers who are massively unhappy with how Apple treats them

I’m not surprised by that – but I’m also not sure that AASPs are the best sources for Apple’s motivations in doing things.

So yeah, I’m pretty confident that Apple would prefer that independent repair shops never touched Apple devices and is willing to do things in that direction short of being sued

We’ve cycled back to the beginning of this discussion, so I’ll just go back to what I said then – that it seems to me that Apple doesn’t weigh the impact on third party shops when it makes decisions, not that it is actively trying to stop them. If it’s doing the latter, it’s doing it very badly indeed.

Apple can do what they like as far as I’m now concerned… I’ve fixed it! I’ve simply stopped buying iPhones and iPads.

Once you couple the fact of the high out of warranty repair pricing such that you may as well buy a new device, the necessity of AppleCare, the constant updates that slow my device down I gave up. While my trigger was no SE2 release 12 months ago it’s all of these things bundled up that I no longer care about any of it. Best thing I could have done for myself.

What do you use now?

Samsung Galaxy S10 with a Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e.

The S10 is a much better fit for me, all things considered, than any iPhone that Apple could sell me. Samsung/Google have done more than a good enough job from 2018 that I truly doubt I will ever return to an iPhone.

The S5e is another story. Its the right fit for my usage and more so the right price point for that that usage is. Its clear that iOS is far superior to Android when it comes to a tablet. Thing is, for Apple to give me what’s important to me in the S5e I need to go to the 11" iPad Pro to get a nearest match. Additionally the S5e is great in all the right places and the iPP is way better in areas I really don’t care about. The IPP is 2.5x the price… a price difference that actually fit the purchase cost of my S10. So justifying iOS of a cost perspective is an impossibility for me. And the S5e still betters the iPP when it comes to 16:10 AMOLED vs 4:3 “Liquid Retina”.

This is definitely NOT the Apple a lot of us grew up on, the Apple of Jobs & Woz, Hertzfeld, Raskin, and Atkinson and SO many others. THESE guys were my tech heroes, the crew in Cupertino are zeroes compared to them. Blows me away that they still get so many to buy throw away products for a HUGE premium.

Think about this… estimates say here are close to 200 million phones in the US… how many “authorized” repair places are there?

That Apple charged $2500 for a Mac Plus (about $6000 today) and made it so a special tool was required to crack the case open and certain jumpers snipped to upgrade the memory.

Sound pretty similar.

This sounds like good news…