The European Commission recently proposed that mobile device manufacturers should provide software updates and spare parts for five years, with tablet spare parts available for six years. It also wants to force manufacturers to publish the prices of the spare parts and ensure they don’t increase, and deliver said parts in no more than five working days.
Smartphone makers like Apple and Google should be required to provide security updates and spare parts for their mobile devices for at least seven years, according to new environmental responsibility proposals from the German government to the European Union.
However, Germany wants the EU to go further by demanding seven years of updates and spare parts availability. In addition, it wants manufacturers to offer spare parts at “a reasonable price,” and faster delivery of spare parts, a point it wishes to discuss further with the Commission.
The German government also supports the European Commission’s push to introduce ecodesign rules, including an energy label and a repairability index for smartphones and tablets. The production of the equipment accounts for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EC, and only part of the raw materials can be recovered during recycling.
The DigitalEurope Industry Association, representing manufacturers including Apple, Samsung, and Huawei, believe the Commission’s proposals go too far, and have suggested that makers provide security updates for three years and OS updates for two years.
The association also believes that it should only be required to offer replacement batteries and displays to consumers, since these parts have the highest failure rate. In contrast, components like camera sensors, microphones, and connectors “rarely fail,” and therefore should not come under the mandate.
Apple has often been criticized for disproportionate repair prices, such as the $79 fee to service the $99 HomePod mini, as well as arbitrary limits on repairs, such as barring repair of the iPhone 12’s camera without access to Apple’s proprietary cloud-linked System Configuration app.
The European Parliament last year voted to support the recommendations of the EU Committee on the “Right to Repair,” including a system of mandatory labelling on consumer electronics to provide explicit information on the repairability and lifespan of products.
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- Germany Urges EU to Require 7 Years of Updates and Repairs for iOS Devices
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