As Apple's iPhone business hits soggy ground, the company redoubled its efforts to get a right to repair bill in California pulled, offering up a plainly stupid reason why owners shouldn't fix their own iPhones.
According to Motherboard, Apple, along with lobbyists from tech trade organization CompTIA, reportedly told legislators that owners trying to fix their own iPhones could hurt themselves in the process if they damaged the lithium-ion battery.
According to The Verge, California Assembly member Susan Talamantes Eggman, who introduced the bill both in March 2018 and again in March 2019 said that Apple had also "sown enough doubt with vague and unbacked claims of privacy and security concerns" resulting in the bill's co-sponsor pulling it at the last minute.
But the battery excuse is dumb.
First off, lithium-ion batteries are everywhere and in so many things, from things we sleep with next to our heads, wear on our wrists, stick in our ears, carry in our pockets, and have littered all around the home and office.
Also, while it is possible to poke a lithium-ion battery in such a way as to turn it from a benign and peaceful item into a ball of flames and sparks, you have to work very hard at it. It's not as easy to make it angry as you might think.
And most batteries – especially those from quality vendors, such as the ones Apple use – have warnings printed on them.
If Apple is concerned about the safety of owners, especially those who want to go on the adventure of fixing their device, then surely a right to repair bill that would give owners access to service literature, equipment, and parts would make things safer.
Apple is also choosing to ignore all the other dangers associated with iPhone ownership, from accidental exposure to broken glass or electricity, unexpected fires, or walking out into traffic while distracted by a tweet or meme.
Sure, there are risks when you venture into a device such as an iPhone, but Apple is choosing to vastly exaggerate the risks.
- Hardware is hard: The tech products that fooled or failed us
- How to stop your iPhone from tracking and storing the locations of where you live, work, and visit
- Should you be scared of your laptop's webcam?
This is what iFixit co-founder Kyle Wiens told The Verge:
"Millions of people have done iPhone repairs using iFixit guides, and people overwhelmingly repair these phones successfully. The only people I've seen hurt themselves with an iPhone are those with a cracked screen, cutting their finger."
The bottom line is that Apple doesn't want people fixing their devices. The reason why is probably a combination of:
- The impact this could have on sales (after all, Apple blamed the iPhone battery repair program for a precipitous drop in revenue during the Q1 19 quarter)
- The impact this could have on AppleCare and repair revenues
- The additional cost of making service literature available to owners
Apple, and its investors, would much rather you buy a new iPhone.