A titan of tech and industrial innovation has been laid low by a mere speck of dust. Last week, Apple quietly announced that they were extending the warranty on their flagship laptop’s keyboard by four years. As it turns out, the initial run of these keyboards, described by Jony Ive as thin, precise, and “sturdy,” has been magnificently prone to failure.
In our eyes, the new design was a repairability flop. We downgraded Apple from a seven-out-of-ten to a two. The subsequent 2013 update sent the MacBook line into a freefall, earning a mere 1/10—the lowest a notebook had ever earned at that point. They haven’t recovered since.
Today, Eric Lundgren turned himself in to the Sheridan Federal Correctional Institution, where he will spend the next fifteen months isolated from society, the internet, and his business. His crime? Helping recyclers restore Windows onto Dell laptops.
California leads the world in environmental policy, and the state agency CalRecycle oversees the nation’s first and largest electronics recycling programs in the world. Fifteen years in, Howard Levenson, Deputy Director of CalRecycle announced that the program has diverted 2.2 billions of pounds of CRT glass and other hazardous electronics from landfills. The program is widely considered a model for sound electronics policy and is vaunted as the most successful program in the country.
And today, at a packed house in Sacramento, CalRecycle released a report mapping out the future of electronics recycling in California. One of their major findings is that Right to Repair legislation is necessary to “provide incentives for repair and reuse of electronic devices, and facilitate collaboration between manufacturers and repair and reuse organizations.”
As Microsoft faces tough questions about how it handled the case of Eric Lundgren, facing 15 months in prison for duplicated restore discs, U.S. PIRG and iFixit noted the tough environment for repair and Microsoft’s role in other repair disputes, and called for Microsoft to come to the table to move repair forward.
Apple apologized for concealing the performance hit for older batteries, and they’re admitting that batteries are consumable. For a limited time, they’re offering some battery replacements for $29. Good on Apple for fixing their battery fiasco—but all we really need is the ability to fix our phones ourselves.
This is the iPhone that Steve Jobs imagined. He ran out of time to build it, but he built the team that eventually did. We beat the lines in the United States and traveled to Australia to take apart an iPhone X in the future and find out how his vision was finally brought to life.
Ever wonder how tech companies can make unrepairable, non-upgradeable, hard to recycle products—and still get away with calling themselves green? Because those same tech companies actually help write US standards for greener electronics, according to a new report from Repair.org.
Over 3 million men and women work in America’s repair and maintenance industry. Maybe I don’t have a lot of faith in politics, but I think those 3 million people have more tangible impact on our lives than the squabbling politicians in Washington. And yet, a copyright law written by Washington insiders nearly two decades ago is threatening the livelihoods of those 3 million people.
After months of refusing to admit they had a problem, Apple is finally offering customers a fix for Touch Disease. The issue—which affects iPhone 6 and (predominantly) 6 Pluses—often manifests as a gray flickering bar and touch screen responsiveness problems. Eventually, the screen loses functionality all together. Today, Apple announced it is offering owners of iPhone 6 Pluses a $149 option for Touch Disease-affected phones.
A tinkerer, a security researcher, and a digital rights watchdog just filed a lawsuit against the United States government, challenging the country’s most embattled copyright law: the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Passed nearly two decades ago, the law governs the space where traditional copyright and modern technology collide. The lawsuit, filed today, contends that Section 1201 of the DMCA violates free speech under the First Amendment.
Nest Labs, pioneering overlords of our smarthome future, is about to do something pretty inhospitable to customers. On Sunday, they will pull the plug on Revolv—a home automation hub that Nest acquired almost two years ago. If you own a Revolv, your home will shut off. Your lights will turn off. Your doors will stay locked—or unlocked. All that automation that you painstakingly set up? It’s quitting. On Sunday, Nest will brick people’s smart homes—and owners can’t do a thing to stop it.
People don’t want to own anything anymore. They much prefer licenses that let them use it. At least that’s what lawyers from The Software Alliance and the Motion Picture Association of America told the Copyright Office. Through an unlikely sequence of events, I found myself sitting across the table from them late last month at a series of “roundtables” on copyright law. Unlikely, because I’m a repairman. Copyright law should have nothing to do with me. But it does.