Right to Repair: An Opinion
by Robert Jorstad: Staff Writer
In the day and age of technology, our world is constantly changing. Every year there is a mad rush to get the newest iPhone, but these devices are expensive. The new iPhone 12 starts at $799, but can quickly reach over $1000 if you are looking for a better camera or more storage. If the screen on an iPhone 11 cracks, it can cost at least $199 to replace at the Apple store. On the other side, the same screen can be bought online for $85 and installed in as little as 10 minutes.
The main issue is that recently, Apple made it so that iPhone screens replaced by a third party cannot use true tone. These features can only be enabled by Apple technicians, even if the screen was a genuine part that came off of another iPhone 11. There was a similar situation with the iPhone 8s and the home button. The Touch ID was disabled, even if the home button was taken from one iPhone 8 and placed on another. And it isn’t just Apple that is doing this.
Recently, John Deere has gotten into many lawsuits because they refuse to allow farmers to access the ECU, or the Engine Controller Unit, on their equipment. The ECU is used to program the engine of the tractor and check for any faults in the system. This cannot be done by the average farmer. It has to be done by a John Deere Certified Mechanic that is located at the John Deere dealerships. Farmers have small windows of when they can plant and harvest their crops, so they need to be timely. If a combine breaks down, it can take weeks to replace the part as many have to be ordered. These parts cost thousands of dollars and the lost time is invaluable to the farmers. In the same case as Apple screens, these parts have to be programmed to the specific phone in order to get all of the features, even if it came off of a different iPhone or combine.
Right to repair isn’t about voiding your warranty and forcing the company to cover it. Right to repair isn’t about causing companies to give up their schematics so that they can be cheaply reproduced by someone else. Right to repair is about allowing people the opportunity to fix their stuff instead of having to wait for weeks to get it repaired at an extremely expensive price.