Apple's Statement on the Matter
Apple communicated its endorsement of the bill in a letter addressed to California Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman. The company stated, “Apple supports California's Right to Repair Act so all Californians have even greater access to repairs while also protecting their safety, security, and privacy.” The statement further elaborated that Apple designs its products to be durable and, if necessary, to be repaired. Apple customers, according to the company, have an increasing array of safe, high-quality repair options available to them.
Background on Apple's Stance
Historically, Apple has been resistant to right-to-repair laws. However, in recent years, the company has shown a change in its approach. In 2021 Apple introduced its Self Service Repair program, which allows users to rent tools for repairing iPhones and Macs at home. This initiative was seen by many as a move to preempt potential state and federal legislation.
Details of the SB 244 Bill
The SB 244 bill is comprehensive, encompassing consumer electronics like phones and laptops, as well as household appliances such as microwaves and washing machines. However, certain items like game consoles and alarm systems are excluded, primarily due to concerns related to piracy and security.
Industry and Legislative Implications
Apple's endorsement of the bill is unique, as it is the only major manufacturer to publicly support the bill in this manner. Typically, such statements come from industry consortiums, like TechNet. Senator Eggman, co-authoring the bill with Senator Nancy Skinner, commented on Apple's support, stating, “Apple's support for California's Right to Repair Act demonstrates the power of the movement that has been building for years.” Senator Eggman further expressed gratitude towards Apple for its proactive stance on the issue and for setting a precedent among its peers.
Legislators from over 14 states have introduced bills similar to SB 244. Notably, New York passed the Digital Fair Repair Act last year, which mandates manufacturers to provide diagnostic and repair information to independent repair providers and consumers.
Next Steps for the Bill
Having passed the Senate with a unanimous 38-0 vote in May, the SB 244 bill is now progressing to the California State Assembly. If ratified, it will join a growing list of right-to-repair laws adopted in other states, such as Minnesota and Colorado.