Apple is reportedly throwing its lot in with California's right-to-repair law after previously opposing it, a "surprise" move elsewhere described as "hell freezing over." Though the company had softened its stance against consumer- and third-party repairs in recent years, making parts and tools available, the volte face on policy has deeper legal and political significance.
SB 244 is fairly expansive; it includes consumer electronics (phones, laptops, etc.) and appliances (microwaves, washing machines, etc.), though a few exceptions have been carved out, including game consoles and alarm systems. The rational for those appear to be piracy and security, respectively. It shares a good deal (including the proposed name) with the Right to Repair Act, which went into effect in Minnesota this May.
In the letter, Apple expresses its support on the grounds of offering consumers the ability to repair their devices safely, without risking privacy or data issues.
"Apple supports California's Right to Repair Act so all Californians have even greater access to repairs while also protecting their safety, security, and privacy," the company says in a statement provided to TechCrunch. "We create our products to last and, if they ever need to be repaired, Apple customers have a growing range of safe, high-quality repair options."
Discussion abounds. Does it put Apple, the bill's only relevant corporate supporter, in a unique position to benefit from it? Is Apple only supporting it for vibes, knowing that it won't become law? Either way, it shapes change.
New York's legislators passed the nation's first Right to Repair law last year, but it was spiked by Gov. Kathy Hochul to please industry lobbyists.