Apple has released iOS 15.1.1 to prevent dropped calls on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models. Or at least that’s how we interpret the release note “improves call drop performance,” which feels like a particularly tortuous way of talking around the problem.
Apple announced today that its customers will be able to order tools, parts, and manuals to make repairs to iPhones, and later, M1 Macs beginning early next year.
Also, the company will offer a credit toward new part purchases when used parts are sent back to encourage recycling.
Of course, there are significant caveats. This isn’t the open-source repair revolution we’ve sought through our fight for the right to repair. Apple is modeling self-service repairs after their infamously restrictive Independent Repair Provider (IRP) program. At the moment, Apple’s repair software doesn’t allow an IRP member to replace a broken part with one taken from another Apple device; it requires scanning both the serial of an Apple-purchased replacement and the phone itself, according to two IRP members we spoke with. That’s a major limitation for refurbishers and fixers who are accustomed to harvesting parts. No word yet on whether you can use Apple’s official software to restore battery health readings, TrueTone features, or remove “genuine” part warnings on parts you didn’t order from Apple, but it’s highly unlikely.
The announcement follows months of growing pressure from repair activists and regulators — and its timing seems deliberate, considering a shareholder resolution environmental advocates filed with the company in September asking Apple to re-evaluate its stance on independent repair. Wednesday is a key deadline in the fight over the resolution, with advocates poised to bring the issue to the Securities and Exchange Commission to resolve.
Apple spokesperson Nick Leahy told The Verge that the program “has been in development for well over a year,” describing it as “the next step in increasing customer access to Apple genuine parts, tools, and manuals.” Leahy declined to say whether the timing of the announcement was influenced by shareholder pressure.
In addition to paying $100 million, Apple agreed to maintain the App Store Small Business Program in its current structure for the next three years, and it will allow developers to use communication methods like email to share information about payment methods available outside of their iOS apps.
Cher Scarlett, an Apple Inc. engineer who created a protest movement within the company over pay transparency and other workplace issues, is leaving the iPhone maker after reaching a settlement.
Scarlett said her departure from Apple was voluntary and that her last day is Friday. Other Apple workers who publicly raised concerns about working conditions -- including Ashley Gjovik and Janneke Parrish -- were fired after speaking out and have filed their own recent labor board complaints. Apple said both of those former employees were terminated for sharing private information.
Apple feels that the product development processes already in place within the company lead to the best products capable of delivering premium experiences. Management is not interested in circumventing these proven processes by acquiring established products that have already gone through another company’s development process phase. Instead, Apple is looking to fill talent and technology holes that may become apparent during the product development process.
As expected, Apple has asked the Court of Appeal in the Apple vs Epic Games trial to stay the injunction passed down against the company until the appeals in the trial have run their course.
Apple says that without a stay the integrity of the entire iOS ecosystem will be undermined, becoming less secure and less private. It also says users will be exposed to new scams and lose benefits that protect them and differentiate Apple from its competitors.
I wonder if Apple will also be selling tools to clean the lightning ports and AirPods cases. I will buy them.
Thanks for reading.