First, the right to repair, as well as modify and upgrade our devices. This right allows us to do with our devices as we see fit. The right to repair advocates say that, once you buy a device, you should be free to use it or modify it within the scope of regular laws e.g. do not modify it for the purpose of committing a crime or breaking the law in any way. For example, you get an Android phone and you want to install a custom version of Android operating system, so you should be allowed to unlock it and make this possible. Or, if you have a desktop PC and you want to upgrade a low end processor to the most powerful one that fits in your motherboard, you should be allowed to not only do it, but perform the task by yourself if you have the time, energy and the know how. Another example would be upgrading your laptop from a hard drive to SSD. So, the right to change a device, repair it, make it better, and the right to do it yourself or shop around for a tech specialist who will offer you the best deal to do the job for you. This seemed reasonable to me, so imagine my shock when I found out that Apple has taken huge steps to suppress and almost eliminate these rights and is trying to get other large companies to follow the trend and do the same! I heard of horror stories such as $1,000 repair quotes on $1,200-$1,500 Macbooks, plus sometimes you lose your data!!!
So, speaking of Macbooks, a couple of things made me give up on the idea of buying them because out of all things out there, I am anything but stupid. :) Sure, you get warranty, but here are some of the warranty details:
- "Our warranty doesn't cover damage caused by accidents or unauthorized modifications." So, this includes water damage. Sometimes, the litmus paper inside the Macbook Pro can change to red due to high humidity and this is something we get in Toronto. I refuse to take the risk. Also, and this is related to an iPhone, when I took a 6S to Apple for a battery replacement some time ago, I forgot this would be the second replacement and the first one was done at a third party repair place. They noticed it and said that, because of this, they would not do the battery replacement. Not cool.
Now we get to Intel NUC. The damn processor is soldered to the motherboard! This, dearest readers, is super scary. They are trying to convince us that these and other small Desktop PC's are cute and fun and they look great even in a living room, until we roll over and accept a near future with small computers where everything is soldered on and you no longer have the ability or the right to repair, maintain and upgrade it. It will become a consumer product with a two-year life cycle, same as smartphones, and this is a locked down, underhanded and expensive way to go. Oh, and apparently there were some Intel NUC models that have RAM soldered to the board too. Again, I am anything but stupid and I decided I will not accept that scenario or support it in any way.
Bottom line, these products are way too expensive for me to dump an entire one and buy a brand new one when I want an upgrade. Or, say my Macbook is out of warranty, I go to an Apple store and they want $1,000 to repair it or I have to spend around $2,000 to get a new one. Give me a break! It is bad enough that the consumer electronics industry got us to dump our smartphones and buy new ones every few years without thinking about the cost of doing this over a period of 5, 10 or 20 years. Now, they want us to turn a blind eye with laptops and desktops too? No way.