After California signed its “Right to Repair” bill into law, tech giant Apple today has come out in full support of a nationwide federal law and is ready to share tools, parts, and documentation with consumers and repair shops.
The latest move follows Apple’s somewhat surprising change of direction concerning California’s Right to Repair bill in August. Now Apple has further expanded its stance, getting behind a national right to repair bill, something which has not yet been established at the federal level. Apple’s announcement came today after Reuters reported that Apple had attended an event hosted by the Biden Administration at the White House yesterday.
“We intend to honor California’s new repair provisions across the United States,” Brian Naumann, Apple’s vice president for service and operations, told attendees at the White House event. “Apple also believes that consumers and businesses would benefit from a national law that balances repairability with product integrity, usability, and physical safety.”
According to Reuters, the announcement is part of a broader push by the Biden administration to promote competition and crack down on so-called “junk fees” and other actions that increase prices for consumers. Apple has long been against attempts at passing a right to repair law saying that it would open the flood gates for hackers if introduced, but in recent years the company has softened its aggressive stance and has even started selling individual parts and tools to consumers as well as publishing repair guides for select products.
Under the new California regulations, equipment makers will now be required to stock replacement parts, tools, and offer repair documentations for three years for devices that cost between $50 to $99, and for gadgets that cost over $100 they will have to provide the same for up to seven years. With this new push, these tools, parts and guides will now be available to anyone in the country, not just in California. The hope is this new bill and the commitments from private companies like Apple will lower costs overall for consumers and help keep unnecessary waste out of landfills and save American consumers an estimated $49.6 billion annually.
The challenge will be to ensure the national bill will maintain consumer privacy, data, and device security features to help prevent any theft while maintaining transparency for consumers across the board, and still allowing the private companies to focus on building new products that comply with the proposals. Nathan Proctor, who leads the right-to-repair campaign efforts for advocacy group called U.S. PIRG, said his group will follow the details of any federal legislation that emerges.
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