California's Right to Repair Bill, killed by Big Ag and Apple, has been reintroduced

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Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/20/thinking-different.html

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#2

Eggman would know a thing or two about tech

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#3

Oh Boy! More rules to break.

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#4

I’ve got a six-year-old iphone and a ten-year-old iMac, so I think they mean me.

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#5

Good. Better luck this time.

I feel as though, if they really want us to ditch our old Apple products, they need to give us a more robust upgrade path.

That said, it’s insane and horribly wasteful to expect customers to upgrade their phones every year or two. They’re a company that could – if they wanted to – make a product that would last decades. But they would also price it accordingly. Because…

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#6

I hate this “ZOMG!!! profits must be protected at all costs!!!1!!1!” mentality.

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#7

Apple is opposed to thoughtful consumerism, is on board with increasing global climate change, and is working to make like worse for everyone. Their only real concern is profit.

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#8

It wouldn’t be so bad, if they were the only ones like that. But they aren’t. By a long shot.

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#9

Right, that’s basically the default position of global capitalism.

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#10

If they don’t like the ability of others to service products, there should be a mandatory buy-back scheme where people can get a discount on a new purchase by trading in their old one with the manufacturer for them to recycle.

Maybe offer tax breaks for certain thresholds of recycling to offset the additional cost of doing this and incentivise the manufacturer? A properly regulated recycling industry can be run to assist in auditing companies to ensure they are actually recycling them and not just sending to landfill.

I do wonder how much of the waste is due to sloppy coding and how profitable planned obsolescence is.

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#11

Ask the razor blade manufacturers.

#12

I’ve generally assumed that most folks upgrade either when I need to “This thing doesn’t do (or do well) what I want it to any longer”, or when I want to “This thing never did thing I would now like it to”, and that companies, knowing this, can manipulate those triggers.

For example, games target ever more powerful systems, and my last desktop upgrade was indeed because I wanted more performance. My recent phone upgrades, however, were caused by wanting technologies my previous phone simply did not have at all. IMHO companies have absolutely withheld enabling features in the past to compel upgrades (see graphics API versions only on newer versions of the OS, for instance).

I think a lot of this mindset, though, comes from something I see a lot in product development as a whole: no one wants to maintain compatibility back into multiple generations of hardware or software, because doing so is 1) complex (possibly introducing new bugs), 2) gives inconsistent performance, and 3) ultimately adds little to the bottom line. Why focus on tech from five years ago if it’s going to take significantly longer than focusing on today’s tech, and gets you no more revenue to do so?

If the answer is “Well, because regulations force us to”, then one has to assume that without those other criteria changing, it will always be a matter of doing the minimum necessary to meet the regulation because doing any more holds no benefit to those doing the work.

What’s the solution that solves the diminishing returns model while also making it desirable for older models to support as many features as possible? I wager the first group to answer that question is going to massively change everything about this model we have today.

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#13

I would say that a possible solution is to allow consumers to be able to install a 3rd party OS or software to hardware that is no longer supported. Companies abandoning old tech and bricking them forces people that have those products to abandon them.

I doubt tech companies would ever allow consumers to have free reign on old hardware but it does fit into the right to repair and extending the life of old electronics.

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#14

Apple does this. Every time in recent years that I’ve updated an iPhone, Apple Watch, or iPad I’m able to trade in my existing hardware at a fair price (obviously for less than a private sale but the convenience is worth it to me).

Tell that to Microsoft. It’s pretty well known that many aspects of Windows are the way they are so as not to break compatibility with some 30 year old piece of software. Apple on the other hand is more than willing to break with the past.

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#15

Let me amend that: After the hell of maintaining compatibility with old applications that Microsoft experienced, no one wants to do that for new software. :slight_smile:

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#16

Roger that!

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#17

It was for me too. My last upgrade went from 3G service to 4G service. Now I would like 5G when it finally rolls around, so I may upgrade then. Maybe.

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#18

Most certainly these things. I guess it depends. Some people just always want the newest thing.
I just recently updated my dedicated desktop computer from a late 2012 Mac Mini to a recent refurb iMac. It’s got one of my monitors from my Mini attached to it as well. When I get a larger desk, I might add the other one.
I was able to use my Mini for longer as I had 16Gb of ram in it. And I bought this iMac specifically with 16Gb of ram and fusion drive so I can use it as long as possible.
It’s not like the Mini was “un-usable”, but it got to the point where it was making it slow for me to do work. I work from home 99 percent of the time and I need to be able to use Chrome and WebEx and be connected to a Citrix VDI, etc… all at the same time - plus O365/Outlook, etc… all at the latest versions. I’m not going to just toss the Mini, it’s still on my desk on my network and I might use it as a media server or something after wiping it and starting from scratch. Or I’ll wipe it and sell it to someone or donate to a student or something.

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#19

Apple doesn’t make people upgrade their phones; they continue to support old hardware far longer than Android does and they build good hardware that lasts for years. The two year upgrade cycle was a byproduct of how phone companies sold phones, not of the hardware itself.

But apparently, telling investors that “we build good stuff that doesn’t need to be thrown out” is proof of the evil conspiracy to make people throw things out.

closed #20

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