Apple is reportedly preparing a “Repair Vintage Apple Products Pilot” program for a number of devices that were previously too old to repair, according to 9to5Mac. Although Apple reserves the right to refuse to repair a device if it doesn’t have the parts in stock, the pilot program will eventually mean that devices as old as 2011’s iPhone 4S or a MacBook Pro from mid-2012 will be eligible for repair by Apple and its authorized service providers. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.
Earlier this week, Apple proudly proclaimed that its new MacBook Air and Mac mini are both made from 100 percent recycled aluminum. The company also recently hit the milestone of being powered entirely by renewable energy worldwide (albeit with some caveats). Extending the usual five to seven years of repairs it offers will provide another boost to Apple’s environmental impact by ensuring that devices don’t end up in a landfill after developing a fault.
Repairing older products is definitely a good thing, but Apple’s restrictive repair practices still mean that devices end up being thrown away when they otherwise could have been repaired. The company has lobbied against right to repair legislation in the US, and it has used proprietary software to prevent its laptops from being repaired by unauthorized companies.
Apple is reportedly planning to introduce old devices into the repair program in waves. Currently, the program covers the following:
- iPhone 5 (GSM/CDMA)
- MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2012)
- MacBook Air (12-inch, Mid 2012)
- iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2011) – US and Turkey only
- iMac (27-inch, Mid 2011) – US and Turkey only
However, on November 30th, the list will reportedly expand to include these devices:
- iPhone 4S
- MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2012)
On December 30th, the final wave of devices will reportedly expand to include these Apple products:
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2012)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2013)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012)
- Mac Pro (Mid 2012)
- iPhone 5 (GSM)
It’s a significant list, and it includes some of the most popular phones and laptops of all time. If true, the initiative is a definite step in the right direction. But it just feels like it wouldn’t be quite as necessary if Apple made it easier for other people to repair its products.