Late last year, Apple announced the launch of “Apple Self-Service Repair”, allowing customers to complete simple common repairs on products starting with the iPhone 12 and 13. Throughout 2022, the program will be rolling out across the US and additional countries, and will be the first time that customers have access to Apple authorized parts, tools and manuals. Pretty exciting stuff – but what does this mean for MSPs and IT pros? Let’s dive in.

 

Increasing the choice that customers have

 

Flexibility is everything to today’s customers, and a long-standing complaint about Apple products is the tie-in to Apple Authorized Service Providers, a type of vendor lock-in. “Creating greater access to Apple genuine parts gives our customers even more choice if a repair is needed,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “In the past three years, Apple has nearly doubled the number of service locations with access to Apple genuine parts, tools, and training, and now we’re providing an option for those who wish to complete their own repairs.”
While the program is starting out with options for the latest iPhones, Apple has confirmed that it will soon be followed by more than 200 individual parts and tools, including parts for Mac computers that feature M1 chips. The process will involve customers reviewing the repair manual, then placing an order for the repair parts and tools, and returning used parts for recycling to gain credits towards new purchase, incentivizing recycling and reuse.

 

How will MSPs get involved with this initiative?

 

Apple has commented that Self Service Repair is “intended for individual technicians with the knowledge and experience to repair electronic devices. For the vast majority of customers, visiting a professional repair provider with certified technicians who use genuine Apple parts is the safest and most reliable way to get a repair.” However, as MSPs and IT professionals have the expertise and tech know-how to fix devices, this is an exciting opportunity for upsell and support.

 

Previously, imagine a customer who had an issue with any of their Apple devices. While an MSP might have been able to diagnose an issue, they would have needed to turn to an authorized Apple service provider or a registered independent repair provider who had access to the relevant manuals, tools and parts in order to provide a fix. For MSPs, handing this would have been an added errand, taking up time and resources, with little or no return. If the Apple repair vendor took their time with the fix, or made any mistakes, it was likely to be the IT support that took the blame, despite them having no choice but to turn to this provider and deal with the outcome.

 

With Apple Self Service Repair, managed service providers can take the driver’s seat, handling the mitigation for common issues, making it part and parcel of a holistic IT management solution, or even offering additional support and charging a premium for the service.

 

What should MSPs be considering?

 

Although this is exciting news, the results so far show that MSPs should temper any superlative hopes and dreams for this new feature. A recent report put Apple at the bottom of the list in terms of repairability, both for mobile phones and also laptop computers.

 

One lawsuit even claims that Apple has purposely obstructed customers from being able to fix their own devices. The lawsuit, which is requesting class action status, even comments that for small businesses like IT management companies or managed service providers – the very makeup of these devices is unfair, preventing businesses from offering their clients affordable fixes to their technology.

 

Watching the evolution of “fix it yourself” with interest

 

Apple’s announcement is part of a wider shift in the market which is often called the “Right to Repair” movement. The goal of advocacy groups taking on this challenge is to push Original Equipment Manufacturers to make parts, tools, diagrams and information available to the wider public, making it more cost effective and simple for consumers to fix their own products.
In the UK, the Right to Repair Law was passed in July 2021, which has enforced that electronics providers offer consumers spare parts for what the law calls “simple and safe repairs”. In France, a different approach has led to a repair scoring system, so that consumers can view how easy repairs are on a repair scoring index, before buying an item, making it part of the criteria for purchase.
In the US, Apple has traditionally lobbied against Right to Repair bills – so it’s interesting to see the company moving in the right direction, supporting customers and IT service providers in getting more control without heavy costs.

 

What should MSPs be doing?

 

Watch this space! For MSPs and IT service providers, the market is changing fast. As an increasing number of consumer electronics come under Right to Repair laws, and OEMs like Apple start making parts, tools and guides available to the public – there is an opportunity for upsell and support that can’t be missed.
More widely than Apple’s specific Self-Repair program, the Right to Repair is one to watch. Over time, MSPs can plan to:
Buy in a stock of common items ahead of time to ensure quick fixes when clients need them.

Onboard new technicians with physical repair skills who can take on the role of repair team within your business.
Explain to customers that they can bypass official channels to save money and time when coming across common issues with everyday devices.

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