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article imageApple to appeal 'right to repair' bill as you could hurt yourself

By James Walker     Feb 15, 2017 in Technology
Apple is planning to appeal a "right to repair" bill that could force it to provide parts and repair manuals for its devices. The Right to Repair movement is gaining momentum, lobbying companies to let consumers fix their own devices.
Right to Repair legislation has recently been drafted in the state of Nebraska. If it becomes law, Apple and its rivals would need to supply repair manuals and official parts to customers and third-party repair shops. Consumers with the necessary technical expertise would be able to repair their own devices, without having to return them to the manufacturer.
Electronics teardown specialists like iFixit have been helping people to mend their own gadgets for years. Recently, companies including Apple have made it harder to dismantle products though, using screw types that cannot easily be removed. Internal connectors have also become more complex, making it difficult to correctly reassemble devices.
The right to repair movement argues consumers shouldn't have to pay retail prices to fix broken devices. Led by Repair.org, a body of independent repair shops, supporters are vocally critical of tech companies who make it difficult to mend new products. Manufacturers are lobbying lawmakers with counterarguments though, including claims that customers could hurt themselves while repairing devices.
Last year, lobbyists in Minnesota suggested users may cut their fingers on broken glass if attempting a smartphone screen replacement. Motherboard reports that one of the U.S. phone companies plans to contest the new legislation in Nebraska by implying repairs could cause batteries to ignite.
Apple plans to attend the same hearing, according to the news site's sources. The company will send a representative or lobbyist to testify against the bill, likely also working along the lines of personal injury and trade secrets. Manufacturers have expressed concern that service manuals could detail the inner workings of their products, despite teardowns being widely available online.
More than anything, the right to repair movement represents consumers demanding more control over the products they buy. The days are now gone of being able to mend anything and everything with a basic set of tools. Apple and other industry leaders are quick to suggest the best repairs are done in-house but often the same work can be done a lot cheaper elsewhere.
Nebraska is now one of eight American states where right to repair bills are being drafted. Last month, Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, Kansas and Wyoming announced similar legislation that could force companies, in and outside of tech, to open their products to customers. Repair.org is intending to push bills in as many states as possible, making it harder for manufacturers to simply knock down the lobbyists.
More about Apple, right to repair, Legislation, Electronics
 
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