FTC Votes Unanimously in Favor of Right to Repair

If Apple really wanted to monopolize their repair services they would have invented their own patent protected screws. They have the expertise to develop and patent their own exclusive chips, which are currently blowing the competition away. Apple screws would be very much less of a challenge, and there are over a billion of iOS devices out there, and every owner of one of these devices would be a potential customer for new models, and potentially millions more. Though I don’t want to turn this into a car discussion, it’s no secret that Apple continues to hire top talent to its existing team of high level automotive battery experts; I read about it every week or so in the press. They wouldn’t need nearly as big a team or as highly a specialized and focused a team to design and manufacture screws.

Watchmakers have perfected their mechanics over hundreds of years. Mechanical watches are from a mechanical POV about as refined as you can get. But that comes at a price. Apple, in contrast, knew zilch about watches and entered the market within just a few years. But rather than build a watch with digital guts, they essentially built a miniaturized iPhone/iPod. Their watch isn’t built the way a watchmaker builds a watch, it’s built the way Apple knew to build iPhones or iPods. They prioritize assembly over serviceability, they use lots of glue, etc. Great for them because it allowed them to get to market quickly doing things in a way they knew how. And it’s certainly a lot cheaper than the mechanics of a Breguet. But of course when it comes time for a battery swap, that’s when customers realize the true price of all that glue. I think @ace is right on the money about the motivation behind all this. A Breguet is built to last four generations at least. An Apple watch is likely built for 5 years because even while the case could last longer, the digital innards will be hopelessly outdated by then.

Quartz and automatic watches were launched in the late 1950s/early 1960s, They don’t all use the same batteries, and there are many different types and sizes of each. And battery watches were brought to market at all price points because they weren’t single shot revenue producers,. They regularly needed batteries replaced, which generated recurring revenue, equally as important for manufacturers and retailers. And there were upgrades in technologies, with new features and styles released on a regular basis so people would want the latest and greatest model. No matter what their ads imply, even the highest and lowest ends were, and are, mostly dependent on assembly lines, just like so many other products.

Battery powered watches were truly revolutionary. They became an even bigger and more immediate hit than Apple Watches initially were, mostly because they were so easy to copycat. This is mostly because they were, and are, easy and relatively less expensive to produce. But like Watch, if the they developed problems, they often had to be given or shipped to an authorized service provider. Owners who cracked the cases usually had their warranties voided.

I was a watch and jewelry ad sales category manager for years.

For Apple, glue and solder = profit. I just want to add memory, replace bad memory, increase disk disk, or replace bad disks myself. Hopefully with just a screwdriver. Not a big deal with proper design. “Sveltness” is just a manufactured need from PR departments. Obviously similar needs for purchasers of farm equipment, appliances, and other devices that manufacturers hope we just throw away and buy a new one.

Yes, but the cases have remained almost exactly the same over 6-7 years. A watch that can be disassembled could have new “digital innards”, batteries, displays, etc., installed. In fact, just like a mechanical watch can have its movement, face, hands, etc., replaced.

The designed battery life of an iPhone is much less than the life of its “digital innards”. And there are iPhone 4s and 5s still in use. They make calls, take photos, and let you read your e-mail or navigate with an online map. Sure they are slow, sure the camera photos look awful. But the device still works. No, it won’t live for generations like a Swiss watch, although it costs close to one. But it will be highly functionally through multiple battery changes.

Imagine you own a car. And you go to your corner gas station to have the oil changed on the recommended interval. And then your Navigation system stops working. Now not a drop off oil ever touched your Navigation system.

You go to your dealer, Cook Auto Sales, because the whole car is still under warranty. And the dealer refuses to do any warranty work on your navigation because secret sensors were installed in the car to alert the dealer to the fact you let someone else and not the dealer change your oil. The dealers charges $135 for an oil change and the corner gas station charges $25.

The dealer, Cook Auto Sales, will fix your navigation for $4,000.

How do you like them Apples?

You can buy Pentalobe kits with drivers and plenty of screws at Amazon for under $10. There’s lots of advice online about how to remove and replace glue. The iFixit guy sells kits to do both, which is why he continues to make an unceasingly big stink about right to repair.

Just like most other corporations, almost everything Apple does = profit. It’s their fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders.

It’s infinitely more cost effective to buy a new mechanical watch than to give an older watch a facelift and rejuvenate its innards. You could even end up with a Frankenwatch. Another plus is that the new watch will have a warranty.

Or the brakes in your car failed and you expected compensation for damages and bodily injury from the manufacturer. But you find out that the independent garage owner didn’t use your car manufacturer’s parts when you had the brakes repaired. Because others had the same problem after having brakes repaired by an unauthorized third party, everyone that attempted to sue the manufacturer of the faulty parts lost in court because that manufacturer declared bankruptcy when the problem first arose. The moral of the story…if they had gone to the authorized dealer who used company parts that turned out to be faulty, the auto company would be responsible.

This is another interesting aspect. I bike and have had my suspension forks rebuilt. I can send them to the factory or have someone local do it, there are a couple of good guys. I’ve done it both ways.

But once I sent one to the factory, long overdue. They couldn’t fix it but offered me a killer deal on a new one.

Not only would I not have gotten that deal from a local shop, but I couldn’t have then sent the pieces to the factory for the same deal.

That said, I do frequent the local shops because I want them to stay in business.

As far as Apple is concerned, I wish the machines were user upgradable and boy do I wish I could carry a spare battery for the phone like I could in my old flip phone!


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What about a situation like the disastrous M1 rollout with chronic kernel panics Apple will not even acknowledge occur?

Did I miss something?


I’m pretty sure that I can buy quite a few Apple watches for the price of the lowest low-end Breguet.

(Checks) Yep, the least expensive Breguet I could find was about 9K. Staying with a similarly low end Apple Watch at about $500, that’s 18 Apple watches for the price. 5 years per Apple Watch takes me to 140+ years old (current age plus 90 years). I don’t think I’m going to make that.


The Breguet will not receive regular software upgrades, and it will not run apps. You won’t be able to make or receive phone calls or get directions. It can’t monitor health or fitness or provide workout information. It can’t run any apps whatsoever. It won’t play music or connect to earphones, and you can’t play games or watch videos on it. You can’t access podcasts, or check the news. It can’t contact emergency services if you need them. You can’t ask Siri for help, and there’s no Apple Pay or any other digital payment option. You can’t look at your photos, etc., etc.

BTW, Swatch bought Breguet decades ago, and they are made in one or more of Swatch’s many factories. Swatch acquired a number of other high, mid and low priced Swiss watchmakers years ago as well.

Did you do know that there are mechanical watches that are less expensive than the Apple Watch? For example Amazon.com: SEIKO Men's SNK809 SEIKO 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch with Black Canvas Strap: Seiko: Watches

Of course you may be more likely to do a repair/cleaning/restoration of water seals on a watch that costs more like this: https://smile.amazon.com/Seiko-Automatic-Watch-Model-SZSB012/dp/B08LJSWT35/

And quartz watches that are priced about the same as the Apple Watch are repairable (e.g., people get batteries replaced) and have relatively similar construction as mechanical watches?

Maybe Apple has no incentive to create a repairable watch, but it’s not an impossible feat. And allowing at least some customers to reuse their cases with replaced innards and components would be a better environmental story than recycling is.

To date there has not been a mechanical or digital watch that comes close to offering the services, content and the wealth of apps that does what Apple’s Watch does and can do. They are not even anything close to being comparable products. Watches are the latest high technology products, and Watch has been outselling the total of Swiss marques by far for the last few years; we had this discussion here before.

This is probably why Swatch acquired most of the high end watch brands…annual sales continued to fall drastically ever since Apple introduced Watch. Swiss watches were no longer money minting machines. People bought them for their names, they don’t really tell time any better than any other watch. Maybe some were waterproof or had an alarm feature, but there were cheaper watches with those features too. That’s probably why Watch began outselling the total number of products in entire Swiss watch industry over two years ago. And Apple Watch has only been around for about 6 years:

Apple Watches resemble watches in two regards only, their ability to tell time and their typical position on the human body. Other than that, you can’t compare, different beasts.

Anyway, I think we all welcome a focus on repairability with Apple products, I hope this prompts them to find ways to enable longer lives for their products, involving their own efforts and those of third parties. Quite what this mix will be, we will see.


Maybe Apple would sell fewer Watches if they were larger and clunkier and packed with fewer features because they would be easier to repair. Maybe the majority of Watch owners and prospective owners don’t care about fixing their Watch and never intend to do so. Maybe Apple doesn’t want to have to deal with Watch owners who attempted to fix their Watch, bought recommended repair kits, ended up breaking their Watches irreparably. Or they bought a new screen or battery they broke in the repair process, insist that it was faulty, and want Apple to give them a gratis new phone or whatever, because they swear they did everything right. Or worse…batteries that were mishandled and exploded or caught fire.

Maybe Apple doesn’t want to be in the business of manufacturing and selling parts or testing, authorizing and monitoring parts made by other companies. And maybe they don’t want to deal with stocking and selling house brand or authorized parts in their online or physical stores.

All the phony arguments about blaming the manufacturer after your do-it-yourself repair goes awry are so specious.

If you try to fix it yourself and screw up, it is on you. Period. End of story.

If I take my iPhone to a shop with an actual physical facility, a long history of years in business, the proper tools and trained technicians and 100+ positive reviews on Google, and they replace my battery perfectly, and Apple disables my power management software and has forever marked my device as having been repaired by someone other than Apple, that is why we need right to repair. It is MY iPhone. I paid for it, and it no longer belongs to Apple.

Apple will not authorize this shop no matter how good the quality of their work. Apple only wants to authorize “dealers” who will stock and sell Apple’s new products.

Apple doesn’t make batteries for iPhones. They buy them from battery manufacturers in China. Any shop can buy the same quality of battery Apple buys.

Changing an iPhone battery isn’t rocket science.

I have a Redo watch I’ve had for over 20 years. Rado wants $300 to change the battery, clean the inside, replace the hands, and reseal the watch. They have a tiny network of repair centers and the watch must be shipped to them and it takes weeks to have it returned. All of this is just a total rip-off.

I’ve always found outstanding local watchmakers, with 10+ years in business, and a large number of legitimate positive online reviews. I go to one of these shops and the battery replacement is done while I wait for $15 to $25. The watchmakers tell me my watch is exceptionally clean inside and needs no service, just a new battery. I trust the watchmaker, not the greedy company trying to make a fast buck.

Someone should interview independent repair shops with a long history of happy customers and see what they have to say about Apple’s behavior.

Apple makes excellent products, but only Steve Jobs was dedicated to the product first, then the customer, then the stockholders. Tim Cook is an excellent bean counter, but his #1 concern isn’t products or customers, but Wall Street and the quarterly profits. If Cook can find a way to screw the customer to satisfy Apple’s greed, he’ll do it.

Yep…the Apple Watch really isn’t a watch at all…yes, it tells time but it’s really an extension of your iPhone that happens to also tell you what time it is…but even there it’s an extension of the iPhone as it has the time on the lock screen. Apple Watch is a computing device as well…so any comparison to a regular watch is apples and broccoli really. Even the Times Ironman I used to wear is a poor comparison to a watch…stopwatch, alarm clock, timer, waterproof…I wore it 24x7 and probably took it off once a year…maybe. Shower, pool, biking, running…i5 was always on and a regular watch would not have been.

The multiple day battery life is the only thing I don’t get with my Apple Watch…a once a week or every 3rd night charge would be way better.

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