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Apple only recently started offering support for at-home product repairs, albeit with many a caveat, but yesterday marked a notable expansion in available services for consumers—in theory. Apple’s Self Service Repair Store now encompasses all MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops utilizing the M1 chip, although the website portal is down at the time of writing this. It’s frustrating, but not exactly surprising—this is a major industry shift that both consumers and regulators have urged for years, so demand will be understandably high upon launch.
Once the site is back up and running, however, Apple promised in a statement yesterday that Self Service Repair for M1 Air and Pro models will offer over a dozen different fixes for parts like the display, trackpad, top case with battery, and “more to come.”
Of course, the “right to repair” comes with a cost. Customers hoping to mend their Apple laptops themselves are required to purchase proprietary company parts at a hefty premium, as well as rent an official “repair kit” at $49 for one week’s usage if they don’t want to buy the necessary tools themselves. As Gizmodo notes, the price tag is the same as Apple’s two-part, 79-pound behemoth iPhone kit, although the company promises MacBook kits are “significantly different.”
With individual tools such as a torque driver costing $80 on top whatever the replacement parts run you, it’s clear Apple still much prefers its customers to take their devices to a certified repair location. “For the vast majority of customers who do not have experience repairing electronic devices, visiting a professional repair provider with certified technicians who use genuine Apple parts is the safest and most reliable way to get a repair,” the company goes out of its way to say in the official press release, before extolling all the new and existing licensed repair sites and technicians.
Changes in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act alongside an executive order signed by President Biden last year have pushed companies like Apple, alongside Google and Samsung, to finally offer home repair options for their millions of customers, but it’s already obvious that moving towards making the choice far more affordable and accessible for everyone is going to be quite the challenge. Still, the expansion is a notable step forward for the industry, once that site is back up and running, of course.