Week in Repair: News Highlights

Well, it was another busy week in the fight for a right to fix our stuff. To celebrate the end of the week and give you some reading material for the weekend, I’ve pulled together the following articles. These are culled from our daily newsletter, Fight to Repair Daily. You can subscribe to that using this form and get the day’s top repair stories in your inbox.

Farewell Tour: Apple Lays Out Road To Premature Obsolescence for iPhone 6

Apple is about to “kill off” millions of older iPhone models, a leaked report claims. The tech titan warned that Apple is about to update its “vintage products” list with MacRumors claiming to have seen an internal Apple memo warning that the iPhone 6 Plus is joining the list on Dec. 31. Apple sold tens of millions of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models after their launch in 2015. The iPhone 6 is reportedly “safe until 2023,” but the iPhone 6 Plus isn’t so lucky. By 2032, the company isreportedlyplanning to have phased out iPhones altogether in favor of an “augmented reality” (AR) device. (New York Post)

Biden Economic Advisers say Antitrust Agenda Will Spur Economic Growth

Top economic advisers to President Joe Biden say that the administration’s antitrust agenda seeks to rebuild the economy with a focus on local, small-business growth and higher worker wages while tackling major issues of the current economy, specifically inflation and supply chain backups. Following the  FTC’s  unanimous ruling to enforce the right of consumers to repair the products they purchase themselves or through independent repair shops, the administration is looking for more success in bringing right-to-repair rules to medical devices and tractors, according to Bharat Ramamurti, deputy director of the White House council. (Huffpost)

Empty Promises Won’t Do: Regulation Needed To End Printers’ Built-In Obsolescence 

Printers have grown to become an archetype of today’s throwaway culture, in spite of over a decade of EU-endorsed industry commitments to make them more sustainable, If the European Commission is to stand by its promise to curb the built-in obsolescence of our everyday tech, it must fall out of love with manufacturers’ promises. (Repair.eu)

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As Devices Morph Into Services, What Is Ownership?

With its concession on repairs, Apple has managed to get ahead of the regulatory trend. And, with regulators in the EU and US tackling the problem of e-waste, it may soon become difficult for firms to comply with all the mandates. In America, for instance, legislatures in 27 states are now discussing right-to-repair bills. The European Union is also moving towards passing such rules. (The Economist)

iFixit Partners with Library Futures to keep eBooks from disappearing

You may not realize it, but book publishers have public libraries over a barrel when it comes to e-books: charging them exorbitant prices for access to digital copies of popular works. How big? About $40 on average for every 26 ebook check outs. One Massachusetts library network paid $892,000 in 2020 for ebook licenses. Now librarians are fighting back. The groupLibrary Futuresis fighting back, and getting help from iFixit, the world’s most popular repair website.  iFixit and Library Futures will send toolkits to 100 libraries to help keep equipment like e-readers in repair.  If you’re involved with a library in the US, you can enter into the drawing to receive your tools by filling out the survey they link in their partnership announcement. (iFixit.com)

Massachusetts Right to Repair Case Decision Looms

The long-running lawsuit filed by automakers to block Massachusetts’ expanded automobile right to repair law may be nearing an end. As this post over at JDSupra.com notes, filings over Thanksgiving indicate that the two sides have resolved an evidentiary dispute over whether automakers can comply with changes to the law approved by voters in November 2020. Automakers have been arguing that the law’s mandate that they open telematics systems to owners and independent repair providers starting with the 2022 model year was impossible to comply with, and that they lacked the ability to shut off telematics only for Massachusetts vehicles. Subaru, however, undermined that argument against the law by doing just that for its Massachusetts vehicles in June of 2021. Stay tuned!   

Right to repair laws may change in Australia following Productivity Commission report

Australians may soon win a legal right to repair following a report from the Australian Productivity Commission recommending the federal government amend laws to give consumers more rights. TheCommission’s ‘Right to Repair’ report,released on Wednesday, sets out a raft of recommendations that include changes to consumer and intellectual copyright laws.  “It’s a really strong message to government that there have serious problems for consumers in competition markets that need to be addressed,” Professor Leanne Wiseman, an expert from Griffith University, said. (ABC)

More headlines…

AU environment Minister totally committed to getting farmers out of bind with right to repair (2GB.com)

Your next fridge or phone could come with a rating of how long its expected to last (Business Insider)

Will Britain’s right to repair law fix anything? (ITPro)

Apple latest to comply with right to repair, but OEMs still holding out (Fender Bender)

‘This stuff can live for so much longer than we let it’ Advocate fights for right to repair (Spectrumnews1)

EC releases consumer rights game for kids highlighting right to repair (Irish Examiner)

The least you can do is to try to fix your phone (Owen Williams | Medium)

Four ways right to repair and sustainability make a powerful partnership (CGS)

How consumers’ right to repair personal electronics and machinery is changing (Wisconsin Public Radio)

AU Farmers urge lawmakers to adopt right to repair (Miragenews)

CNC machinery maker Tormach posts video on its pro repair philosophy (MMSonline)