San Francisco Replacement parts for electrical devices such as iPhones will soon be available in California for at least seven years. This is provided for by a law that the US state parliament passed on Tuesday parallel to the presentation of the new iPhones from Apple. The Californian representatives passed the law with 40 votes – there were no dissenting votes. It needs another vote before it goes before Gov. Gavin Newsom.
California is not the first US state to make spare parts mandatory – New York and Minnesota have introduced similar rules. However, California law requires companies to provide customers with access to repair materials such as parts, tools, documentation and software for a longer period of time than other states.
It provides for a period of three years for products in the price range of $50 to $99.99 and seven years for products priced at $100 or more. The law applies to electronics and household appliances manufactured and sold after July 1, 2021.
California laws are often groundbreaking
The importance of this law lies particularly in its origin: California. Not only are most of the large technology companies based here, such as Apple, Google’s parent company Alphabet and the Meta Group. California is also one of the most populous states in the USA. Legislative trends that begin in California often spread nationwide.
The initiative is likely to be followed closely in Europe. In March, the European Commission presented a proposal for common rules to promote the repair of goods. However, the project is not yet as advanced as in California. The seven-year deadline in particular could attract interest in Europe.
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According to the EU Commission, many products end up in the trash even though they could still be repaired. This results in 35 million tonnes of waste per year in the EU, a loss of 30 million tonnes of resources and emissions of 261 million tonnes of greenhouse gases, the Commission calculates.
Apple supports repair law
The California law has prominent business support. After years of opposition to the right to repair, iPhone company Apple has now spoken out in favor of the California law.
This is a significant step, especially after Apple recently equipped the new iPhone 15 with a USB-C port following pressure from European regulators. It is the first smartphone with which Apple says goodbye to a special plug and instead adopts the international standard.
Apple announced that customers can send old cables and spare parts to Apple free of charge that become useless when switching to the new connector. Apple introduced the Lightning standard in 2012.
Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, a company that sells replacement parts for electronic devices, was positive: “The era of manufacturer repair monopolies is coming to an end, and that’s a good thing,” said Wiens. “Accessible, affordable and widely available repairs benefit everyone.”
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