Progress on Right to Repair

New York State has passed a weakened version of a right to repair bill that applies to equipment sold to consumers after 1/1/2023. This mandates that companies make diagnostic and repair equipment, parts, and documentation available to people outside their company. Companies can sell “assemblies” rather than individual parts if selling an individual part is deemed “unsafe.”

In theory, at least, @webwalrus would be able to get a battery for his trackpad.

It will be interesting to see the shenanigans companies go through (in addition to the “safety” argument) to impede people repairing their own equipment.

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External Apple keyboards, mice and trackpads have no replaceable parts. Since they are designed to be a full part swap if something fails, I really don’t see where this would be helpful to consumers.

My external trackpad failed just like @webwalrus had. Finding someone at Apple (online or in-store) who was aware of how to correctly swap the part is getting harder and harder lately. That is disappointing and discouraging to me.

I think this is going to be the issue with the law as well. From the article:

The law will require companies to provide the same diagnostic tools, repair manuals, and parts to the public that they provide to their own repair technicians.

Government: “Hey Apple, Robert wants to swap out his trackpad battery. Please make your internal tools and parts for that available.”
Apple: “Okay. (Holds up a box with a brand new Trackpad in it)”

Third parties sell batteries, but basically the Magic Trackpad is glued together - and disassembling it improperly runs the risk of shattering the top glass, which leads us to…

Apple would almost certainly claim disassembly of a trackpad is “unsafe”. Both for the glass factor and the lithium-ion battery factor.

In other words, it doesn’t preclude Apple from designing products that are inherently disposable. It just means that if Apple has an internal way of servicing them, and parts to do so, those need to be available to the consumer.

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Which is progress.

(The trackpad reference was just a joke.)

I’m not sure any shenanigans will be necessary. How many people will take advantage of “Right to Repair” if you have to spend 30% - 50% of the cost of a new MacBook to replace the battery in your old one?

The cost of repairing many out of warranty Macs may no longer be economically feasible.

Apple’s Self-Repair Program Manages to Make MacBooks Seem Less Repairable