August 3rd 2017
By Mike Flaminio
A new report came out that suggests tech companies are influencing green technology standards around device repairability.
Authored by Repair Association board member Mark Schaffer, who runs an environmental consultancy, the report lays out how Apple, HP, and other manufacturers use their outsized influence over the groups who regulate the manufacturing of electronic devices. These companies, which the report says effectively get to decide how their environmental practices are regulated, then get to slap gold certification labels on their products, all while ignoring pressing issues like repairability and reusability.
Apple's response to The Verge:
Apple, in a statement given to The Verge, said it is continuously working to improve sustainability efforts, but the company remains committed to keeping tight control over how its products are made and repaired. "Highly-integrated design allows us to make products that are not only beautiful, thin and powerful, but also durable, so they can last for many years," the company said. "When repairs are needed, authorized providers can ensure the quality, safety, and security of repairs for customers. And when products do reach end of life, Apple takes responsibility for recycling them safely and responsibly." The company adds that it's continuing to invest in environmentally friendly recycling efforts, like its Liam bot for disassembling iPhones, as well as "pioneering a closed loop supply chain where products are made using only renewable resources or recycled material to reduce the need to mine materials from the earth."
I think there's a difference between intentionally making something hard to repair vs not designing to allow third-party or user repair easy. The former is cynical that assumes there's a motive to things breaking. To me, planned obsolesces is short-sighted and probably not what's happening. I suspect Apple just wants things done its way for a number of reason. As stated, when functional, devices they believe offer a better user experience and reduced waste overall.
I've fixed many computers and Apple gear over the years and certainly would like to be able to keep doing that. With that said, that's probably not a priority for me in consumer electronics.