Apple’s New Screen Repair Trap Could Change the Repair Industry Forever |

More Apple screwing over the repair industry.

I’m feeling like I picked a good time to get out of their ecosystem. Someone who shared this with me pointed out that AppleCare is a huge profit center for Apple, gosh, this just happens to make it more worth buying Applecare!

There’s loss of repairability for the sake of size or performance at any cost, and then there’s acting directly and openly hostile towards any kind of repairability [at all or by 3rd parties]

Apple- the John Deere of phones; and vise versa.

There is a fourth option, of course: fight like hell for the right to repair.

and this would look like… what exactly? a new government agency tasked with oversight of all electrical schematics to determine if a feature is harder-to-repair by the nature of the technology or a deliberate act of preventing repairs? Mandatory regulation and distribution of proprietary repair tools and technologies involved in fixing such problems?

You have the right to give your money to companies who build serviceable devices. All other mandates will be DOA, just like the devices that are un-repairable but everybody keeps buying anyway.

For now.

(Post must be at least 20 characters.)

Then the next obvious question becomes, when those conditions of “some value of repairable” no longer are present, does one just surrender to the unrepairable crap, or give up on whatever it offers?

Apparently starting in 2024, new cars (under the Biden infrastructure plan) are going to be required to have some variety of breath alcohol and touch alcohol sensor in them - in an always connected car. Does one just accept that one is going to maintain pre-always-connected vehicles as long as possible? I don’t know the best answer there.

Start jailbreaking teslas? :smiley:

Getting a bit randian are we…?

It seems like the “vote with your wallet” argument here assumes that the vast majority of consumers have the luxury and intellectual temerity to stand up for their long-term best interests in the face of market momentum and societal pressure to have the fastest/shiniest gadgets.

1 Like

What is the alternative? An organization the decides yay or nay that a new technology is deemed appropriately repairable or not? Who do you want in charge of what’s in your best interest?

societal pressure to have the fastest/shiniest gadgets.

Maybe you can make a right to repair law that makes the iphones fixable. There is no law possible that will fix ‘societal pressure’ to make bad decisions. The smart TV spies on them, they buy it anyway. No law will block that market force, not hardly.

So we try to imagine how we can engineer a culture we like better. Laws that nudge things that are too strong to be directly decreed are one way to attempt that. Do we want laws that try to nudge society in a direction a minority care a lot about?

So I’m still looking for what does this ‘law that nudges’ look like in a right to repair context?

Actually, having pondered this for a bit I realize that no, I would not want this at all.

The purpose of the law is justice. It is/should not be to ‘engineer’ or ‘nudge’ society.

1 Like

Apple’s argument is that if they cannot verify each component cryptographically, they cannot ensure the end-to-end security of the device (i.e., if you can replace the screen/camera on the device you can replace it with one that will allow any face to unlock, etc).

However, even if true, there should be a straightforward way around that (and perhaps they believe “it works but Face ID doesn’t” is that) - some constant notification that your device is no longer secure.

I don’t think “right-to-repair” legislation will AT ALL do what the proponents suspect; the big players will mold and modify it to deeper entrench themselves and block competitors as they have always done. An example would be having the legislation require certain detailed documents and certifications be obtained, stuff that is simple (though expensive) for Apple to do, but prohibitively expensive for someone like to do.

It’s all complicated by the people who buy new product are often not the ones repairing it past the “end of life” (which apparently is one to two years for a phone).

Personally I call BS on this. When you create the hardware, embed the proper crypto bits into the camera/etc to sync/verify/validate that the data path between the camera and the rest of the phone is valid and encrypted, and who cares if it’s been replaced. As long as it’s OEM hardare (which, reasonably, is the only way to get something like that for an iPhone, right?) it should be all good I’d think.

Doesn’t the CPU/encrypted enclave store the Face ID stuff anyway? All I can think, in theory, is that you always send the exactly correct data for a Face ID, but you can’t know what that is unless you snoop on the traffic between the camera and the rest of the system with someone who is authorized, in order to replay the data traffic. Which if you’re using rotating session keys (similar I imagine to TLS/HTTP session keys?), if done right, should knock that possibility out of a replay attack.

Or am I missing something?

Given that it doesn’t just refuse to work entirely I suspect there’s something but it may just be the “warranty void” software equivalent of a tamper evident sticker.

I suspect the true reasons are much more involved with supply chain management and trying to keep their suppliers from competing with them using their proprietary technology.

Is there reason to expect the data path between the camera and the rest of the system is encrypted? And if so that the camera contains secrets sufficient to prove itself to the rest of the system? And if so that those secrets are genuinely difficult to extract and copy? Apple has released some surprising technology, but I’d still find that sort of camera setup surprising.

Edit: is the camera even involved? I don’t see the connection between the “screen” (display?) and face ID. Likely because I’ve not looked at the teardown.

Oh, good. They backed off on it.

1 Like

I think it probably involves working on the painful alternatives that don’t yet work but could.

I use a PineBook Pro as a daily driver, and haven’t contributed my audio codec sleep/resume patches upstream. It works, mostly… there are a couple corner cases that don’t work (audio playing over sleep struggles to resume and I don’t know where the problem lies, not that familiar with the Linux sound stack but I can sure write a register save/resume block), but it’s better than what else is out there.

I probably should have and use and hack on a PinePhone. Using the Flip IV is just lazy. I’m not actively helping make horrid ecosystems less-horrid with it - it just kind of sits there and does nothing. I can kernel-hack… so presumably I should?

Or just get a landline and give up, but that seems also broken.

1 Like


And in what seems to amount to a total and complete flip of position in a few weeks:

And the iFixit take: Everyone Is a Genius: Apple Will Offer Parts and Tools for DIY Repairs | iFixit News

It seems their focus on the repair issue lately has been trying to ensure that only genuine parts end up in their devices, which… is handwavingly sane, from a branding point of view (an Apple device with substandard parts is still going to be considered “an Apple device” by any later users of it), and I’m not sure I can raise a huge objection, though the lack of harvesting parts and swapping between phones is a bit of concern for repair - I should be able to piece together a working phone from three broken ones. However, as we’ve seen with cars, that does enable some certain “chop shop” style criminal enterprises - even if you can’t activate a stolen phone, if the parts are worth a lot on the black market, it still encourages theft.

So I’m not sure what to make of this. Apple seems to be picking a direction like a weathervane in a tornado lately. I can’t decide if they’re floating things to see what the public reaction is and actually listening to backlash, or just have a bunch of departments fighting internally over everything.

Outright anti-consumer hostility, now flipped to general ethical instability at best. Apple will remain in my ‘Do Not Trust’ company list for a good while yet.