Independent repair guy on the planned obsolescence of Apple products


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/17/right-to-repair.html


#2

Well if he gets tired of fixing stuff he has a career waiting as a public speaker.


#3

Or a Catholic priest. Christ, that’s a long video.


#4

I see he has a microscope rig. Good idea - the screws in the latest iPhones are some of the smallest machined parts I have ever encountered in my (very limited) experience at DIY.


#5

Rossman doesn’t think Apple has an obligation to fix these older machines in an economical way, but he is furious that Apple has gone to lengths to prevent him from effecting these repairs

That’s an old story with Apple, going back to the days of the then-rare Torx screwdriver bits. They probably have a whole decades-old department filled with crabby neckbeards of various varieties devoted to doing nothing else but locking down the devices on all levels: code, interface, case, components and the ever-popular EULA and IP law.


#6

shouldn’t this be a diatribe on the planned obsolescence of consumer products in general? or it this just another anti-apple piece because apple?


#7

Maybe next time, remove the sticky note with your customer’s user name and password before holding their laptop up to the camera?


#8

I’m a big Apple fan (for what I do, they are absolutely the best product there is), but I have to agree that they’re worse than most other companies in this respect.


#9

Well, the guy does repair Apple products for a living, so it’s natural for him to focus on them. I’m sure he and Cory have similar opinions on other consumer products, but Apple goes to notably greater lengths than other companies to make sure that no-one can extend the lives of their pricey devices.


#10

well, i disagree that they go to greater lengths. they are super protective of their products because they HAVE to be – i mean, they wouldn’t be here if they weren’t for all those decades. every manufacturer works obsolescence into their products… that’s how they stay in business. it’s just easy to pick on apple because they are the biggest. i don’t think they are any worse than other proprietary companies.


#11

It hits BOTH flavors of favorite arguments around here! Two for the price of one! (but mostly, anti-Apple).

Given Apple’s built-in ecosystem for repairing and updating their products – I’m guessing most customers aren’t far from an Apple store – getting things repaired isn’t really as difficult as this guy makes it out to be. And he’s exaggerating more than a wee bit about paying $750 to repair a $650 laptop. But it’s his job to be passionate about fixing things independently, so it’s also his job to be angry at people who make his job difficult, I guess.


#12

They really do, and have for years. The Torx screwdriver example I gave above was where it started – there was zero reason why they couldn’t use standard screws beyond locking things down. That wasn’t even about planned obsolescence as a means of staying in business – Apple is driven more by a control-freak corporate culture, and they’d probably be loath to admit that built-in obsolescence is part of their short-term product strategy given the premium prices they charge.

I think they decided to take their cue from other luxury brands for product categories that also have a DIY repair culture. For example, in the automobile industry Rolls Royce was notorious for making it extra-difficult for someone outside the company to make even basic repairs. They then overcharged customers for doing the same thing, because they knew the customers could afford it.

Apple’s base product quality is much higher than RR’s, of course. And to Apple’s credit if you’re having a problem with a device from the current or last generation they’ll generally just swap it out with a new version of the same device and transfer your data at no cost under Applecare. When friends and family ask me to support their Apple stuff I just advise them to take it to the Apple Store.

However, it sounds like this guy is repairing and extending the lives of older devices that would continue to work perfectly well for the owner for a few more years with a cheap fix. Not everyone needs the latest and greatest device (especially if they like things like headphone jacks or if they’re dependent on software that only runs on legacy systems) and there are likely a lot of secondhand Apple devices out there bought by people who can’t afford the product brand-new and the Applecare warranty that comes with it.


#13

What are you basing that on? They go to much greater lengths. Examples:

  • pentalobe / tri-wing security screws (I’ve never seen on any other make of laptop)
  • tight control over diagnostic tools (this is Rossman’s main complaint)
  • epoxied batteries and unsocketed RAM / SSDs (certain other manufacturers use these techniques sometimes)
  • not offering an upgradeable Mac Pro, even when it’s quite clear that their professional customer base wants this
  • aggressive water-damage policies (see, e.g., https://www.cnet.com/news/apple-settles-iphone-water-damage-lawsuit-for-53m/)

#14

I was coming to ask if anyone had the tldr version.

EDIT:

It really isn’t just Apple to be perfectly honest. We have an entire Frigidaire Pro series of kitchen appliances. The stove has been amazing. The microwave was a dud on arrival and was swapped out as it was “faulty manufacturing” the dishwasher has been ok…the refrigerator though has been an abomination!!!

We have had 2 different local repair/service companies come in and they both have simply said “Just buy a new fridge, these things aren’t meant to last or be fixed.”

THATT IS THE SOLUTION for so many electronic products now a days…just throw it away and replace it.


#15

“Hey man, it’s capitalism.”


#16

Apple has a software tool, that will tell you how to locate that $2 part that needs replacing. Then they give it only to their own repair techs, who don’t do motherboard repairs, just replacements. It makes no sense!


#17

In recent investor calls and interviews, they’ve talked about their plans to bring a new, upgradeable, modular Mac Pro to market in 2018. The existing model hasn’t been updated in a ridiculously long time.


#18

Not just the MacPro. Apple really should go back to offering some level of modular components.

The hard drives should be able to be easily swapped out. Graphics cards should be able to be upgraded and swapped out. About the only thing you can easily do is add/change the RAM. I find it highly annoying that my 2010 iMac which I utterly love to death is simply outdated because of the graphics card!!! If I could just swap it out for a new one, even if it was pricey, I’d have spent the $500-$600 for a new card already; but I won’t drop $2500 on a new iMac. My hard drive is now 7 years old, its only a matter of time before it dies, and mine has the slot for a second ssd. BUT, the process is so over complicated I just don’t find myself wanting to replace the HDD for a larger and newer one, and add an SSD…all because in the end, I still can’t upgrade the GPU!

IT.IS.VERY.EFFING.FRUSTRATING.


#19

Oh, I absolutely agree. I’ve been using Apple products for a very long time, and I’m still using my 2006 Mac Pro – upgraded many times – as I wait for something new to come along. I was pondering an iMac for awhile, but when I went in to an Apple Store to chat about one and mentioned I was looking for a Mac Pro replacement, the employee looked awkward. “I would’t buy an iMac. Everything’s welded in,” she said. That blew my mind. A computer that’s built to never be upgradable?


#20

Did you see this, a few days ago? Some good news for you!