back to article We lose money on repairs, sobs penniless Apple, even though we charge y'all a fortune

It can be tough in the repair industry, and no one knows that better than struggling corporation Apple. Cupertino has long been criticized for trying to control what its customers can do with their products, and especially so for charging what critics have said is an unjustifiable mark-up on repairing everything from iPhones …

  1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    Joke

    For each year since 2009, the costs of providing repair services has exceeded the revenue generated by repairs.

    If Apple is making such a LOSS repairing, then why put restrictions to 3rd party repairs?

    Cry me a river, will ya?

    1. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

      Because they care about their cultis^H^H^H^Hstomers of course.

      They break when you're holding them wrong already. Can't just have their sensitive Apple toys repaired by just anybody.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Did you type that on an Apple keyboard....

        :)

        1. macjules Silver badge

          It would have been like this if it was, since the apple auto text remover just removes B L M R T:

          "ecause hey cae aou hei cuis^H^H^H^Hstoes of couse."

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Their customers break if you hold them wrong?

        Just grab 'em by the wallet.

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Boffin

      Apple Store New York LLC pays Apple Spare Parts Cayman Islands Ltd $500 for a genuine Apple screen glass and does the repair, including the cost of wages etc, for $321. Thereby making a tax deductible loss.

      Your local back street repair person buys the screen glass for about $5 including shipping from Ali Express and does the repair for $80. The $75 margin allows them to cover their costs and make a reasonable living out of it.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        And don't forget Apple Genius(CI) Ltd. The NY store will be charged for the supply of labour at $5,000/hr or part thereof and licence fees for use of a 'bar', which is an iBar, quite unlike any other bar or workbench. Brimming with proprietary tools and technology. Genius indeed!

        (TBH, I think Apple just copied large auto makers with some of this stuff.)

        1. NATTtrash
          Trollface

          Well, yeah.. I mean, if you employ (stable) Geniuses, it might be that your labour costs go up. After all, they are really smart, don't they? Only wish my boss also got that memo...

      2. Cereberus

        No comparison

        Your local back street repair person buys the screen glass for about $5 including shipping from Ali Express and does the repair for $80. The $75 margin allows them to cover their costs and make a reasonable living out of it.

        <sarcasm - just in case> How dare you. Don't you realise that the fanbois doesn't just want a screen replacement, they demand a genuine Apple screen replacement. Yes they could replace the screen for $30 but it wouldn't then be an Apple iPhone - It would be a cheap knock off because it wasn't 100% Apple and they didn't need to give up their first born as part of the deal to get the new screen. A fanbois would prefer to be hanged, drawn and quartered than be accused of using non-genuine parts or not having a 100% genuine Apple product.</sarcasm>

        1. Blank Reg

          Re: No comparison

          Given how often I see iPhones with broken screens, it seems that they would rather just live with a cracked screen.

      3. Justin Clements

        Lol

        Superb idea! I'm not trying to defend Apple, but try that with the IRS and you'll be in front of a grand jury in no time for tax evasion.

        The flaw to the idea is that the IRS will not accept continued losses from an operation, and will automatically assume that you are engaging in tax evasion and will investigate. The rest of your operations will be red flagged.

        1. Frozit

          Re: Lol

          However, the IRS has stated that it goes after the little guys, because the big guys fight too hard. So don't expect the IRS to do anything about Apple.

        2. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: Lol

          As long as Apple Cayman Islands sells the parts to Apple New York at the same price that they sell them to independent third parties, then there is no problem.

          If you did buy a genuine Apple screen glass, they would charge you something like $500 for it, so that is the market price, and therefore it is not transfer pricing tax evasion.

          1. EnviableOne Silver badge

            Re: Lol

            nah they just buy the screen from samsung like apple does

    3. NightFox

      Thank goodness those losses are tax deductible eh Tim?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > Thank goodness those losses are tax deductible eh Tim?

        If they are claiming a tax-deductible loss based on that financial logic then they are committing tax fraud.

        (My new company, that I'm about to set up, will charge $1m for a plastic toy boat. But when I sell them on eBay the bidding will only get to $1 so I'm going to claim the $999,999 difference as a loss and try and claim back tax, that I haven't paid. Unlikely to work.)

        1. Steve K Silver badge

          Not quite

          You can only (in general...) offset the losses against profits so you'd need to have sold a lot of toy boats for full price before that helped...

    4. vtcodger Silver badge

      Ask Siri

      Perhaps Congress should have asked Siri rather than Tim Cook. Possibly they would have gotten a less unlikely answer.

  2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Quelle Surprise

    This is after all the company that thought you could separate the warranty and charge for it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quelle Surprise

      Am I in lala land? You pay for an extended warranty, that is standard in 99% the rest of the world for free, and then PAY to also have the repairs done?

      Like, I'ma gonna start an "Apple restaurant", where you pay for the food, but also have to pay separately me to buy, cook, and deliver it to you on a plate.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Quelle Surprise

        Would this restaurants speciality be Apple turnover ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Quelle Surprise

          Or good ol' American Apple Pie.

          And they charge you for the cooks medical insurance in case he doesn't judge the temperature correctly when he's "finishing the preparation"...

        2. Steve K Silver badge

          Re: Quelle Surprise

          Apple turnover is minimized in many countries (for tax reasons) so you can't see it on the plate....

      2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Re: Quelle Surprise

        Extended warrantees are generally paid for everywhere - the clue is in the name!

        I think you mean Apple (in the US) charge you for any costs outside of the 1st year.

        Other countries may vary.

        Here's an oldie but a goodie linky :

        https://www.wired.co.uk/article/apple-eu-warranty

        1. EnviableOne Silver badge

          Re: Quelle Surprise

          Try Norway - By tnorwegian law all electronics have a 5 year waranty, but they cost a pretty ppenny and the tax on them is extorsion

      3. KarMann

        Re: Quelle Surprise

        How much do you charge for using the toilet? Can't let that part of the food lifecycle go unmonetised.

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Quelle Surprise

        "Am I in lala land? You pay for an extended warranty, that is standard in 99% the rest of the world for free, and then PAY to also have the repairs done?"

        AIUI from the article, Applecare[+] covers you for out of warranty repairs and you pay a small proportion of the repair cost, eg accidental damage such as a broken screen. Warranty repairs are still "free".

        (Disclosure: I've never owned any Apple products)

      5. SimonC

        Re: Quelle Surprise

        You could try and open such a restaurant, but I predict heavy 'losses' :-)

      6. EnviableOne Silver badge

        Re: Quelle Surprise

        Have you met Michael O'Leary - this sounds like Ryanair will be being re-branded ....

    2. Blank Reg

      Re: Quelle Surprise

      Charging for an extended warranty isn't strange, but making to still pay for repairs even though you bought an extended warranty is something I've not seen elsewhere.

  3. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    Perhaps if they used less glue, their devices would be easier and quicker to open, resulting in less labour costs?

    1. simonlb Silver badge

      Well there's that and piss-poor design choices which should not get to market, plus the dubious technical ability of some of the 'Genius Bar' staff who break your shit putting it back together wrongly then say you've broken it and must pay full price for repair - Louis Rossman has covered this in quite some depth.

      But hey, it's 1.238% shinier than last years model and only 200 quid more so I just have to buy it. Don't want to be left behind!

    2. AIBailey Silver badge

      I think in this case, the main problem with glue is that the people in the Apple accounting team have obviously been sniffing too much!

      1. EVP

        I beg to differ. Obviously, Apple accounting team team doesn’t sniff glue, but live on nootropics. It’s the customers who sniff.

        Disclaimer: I own Apple products. 30 minutes or so with a bottle of toluene will always help with my buying decision.

    3. Annihilator

      This is the root of it. They're generally not "repairing" product. They're replacing in-store with refurbished models, using iCloud backups to transfer between the two devices. With this approach, they probably do lose money, but only because their devices are so difficult to actually repair.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        And from where the refurbished model come from? Repaired products.

        1. Annihilator

          Not necessarily - trade-ins also form part of it.

          However the refurbishment usually involves stripping back to the component level, testing the heck out of each component individually, ditching the duff elements, and putting all the good ones back together again in a cannibalistic fashion. Not quite the same as "just swap the batter/screen over" approach.

  4. David 132 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Poor struggling Apple.

    Can we start a GoFundMe to keep these noble altruists in business?

    1. simonlb Silver badge

      Re: Poor struggling Apple.

      Should really start a GoFuckYou for them.

      1. KarMann
        Coat

        Re: Poor struggling Apple.

        I see your crowdfunding name, and raise you a 'rself'.

  5. redpawn Silver badge

    Famous truths...

    "The more we make, the more we lose!"

    For customers: "The more you spend the more you save!"

    This provides the badly needed balance on which capitalism rests.

    1. The IT Ghost

      Re: Famous truths...

      I challenged a friend of mine about a recent, unnecessary purchase. I was informed "It was half off! I saved 50%." I answered "But you didn't need it. You could have not bought it and saved 100%." I just got a blank stare in return.

      People seem to respond on an almost competitive level when something is marked down, as if they think they're getting "ahead" of the poor souls who paid full price for the same item last week.

      1. Dahhah6o

        Re: Famous truths...

        I think that was my ex-GF you were talking to.

        1. MJB7 Silver badge

          Re: Famous truths...

          Are you one of my (not yet ex-) partner's previous boyfriends?

      2. JClouseau
        Facepalm

        Re: Famous truths...

        We're veering off-topic, but Amazon definitely found the right triggers (besides having EVERYTHING available).

        There was this documentary the other day about how Amazon is evil (to be fair it was a bit one-sided) (and I really dislike Amazon) showing a family unwrapping their latest purchase, and the missus doing some maths and saying "wow ! we've spent more than 1300€ in the last 3 months on Amazon ! Who knew !!".

        And the husband (assembling his brand-new, "high-quality" workout bench), to the reporter, with a sorry/idiotic smile "Well, yeah, you know, it's the 24/48h delivery, you just feel compelled to buy, it's so easy, it's hard to resist...".

        Say no more.

        Back on topic, I've never owned anything Apple so I'm a bit flabbergasted at the fact that Apple makes you pay for anything during the warranty period. Isn't the purpose of the warranty having your device repaired at no cost (provided you didn't step on it, threw it out of a window, etc...) ??

        I also don't get that "AppleCare covers you for one year". At least in the EU the legal warranty for consumer stuff is 2 years....

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          48h delivery

          That is not a reason to buy, that is just an indication of how quick you will get the thing you bought.

          I do use Amazon, but my buying criteria is whatever the hell I actually need, not how fast it is going to be delivered.

          You really have to be a moron to go and buy something you don't need just because its delivery time is in hours and not days.

          1. phuzz Silver badge

            Re: 48h delivery

            I buy things from Amazon sometimes because they can deliver it tomorrow (in some cases), when buying it from a company that's not totally morally bankrupt will take several days more.

            Sure, if I get a change to plan ahead I'll take the slight price increase to give my money to a non-scummy company, but when your customer wants something fixed yesterday, you have to go with whatever source can get the item to you fastest.

          2. TonyJ Silver badge

            Re: 48h delivery

            "...You really have to be a moron to go and buy something you don't need just because its delivery time is in hours and not days...

            Hi. You must be new here. ;-)

          3. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: 48h delivery

            "I do use Amazon, but my buying criteria is whatever the hell I actually need, not how fast it is going to be delivered."

            This is me. I buy from Amazon if I can't find what I need anywhere else, but the speed of delivery is not (usually) an issue. I generally pick the "slow boat" delivery option.

            1. alexmcm

              Re: 48h delivery

              Theres something to be said for ordering your desirable item and deliberately choosing the Donkey Express option with no tracking. You then get the days of anticipation and wating, building excitment, and watching the postie pass by each day hoping today will be the day.

              This next day delivery with tracking ruins all that.

        2. Twilight

          Re: Famous truths...

          You do get warranty repairs for free during the warranty period. You only have to pay for "oops" repairs (in other words, you dropped it, your dog ate it, or whatever).

        3. NATTtrash

          Re: Famous truths...

          There was this documentary the other day about how Amazon is evil (to be fair it was a bit one-sided)...

          Don't really agree with that take (don't start downvoting, please read on), but think that this recent article in the Guardian is more on the right track. Like every company/ sales person Amazon fuels a need that is already there (dormant). But... In the end it is you/ me/ the consumer who is the culprit. Sure, we all say we'll never [fill in what ever vice], but if it comes down to it, we all go for personal fulfilment, satisfaction, convenience, or 2 pence less every time.

      3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Famous truths...

        It's based on FOMO (fear of missing out) and is a well-understood trigger that most of us of powerless to resist in many situations. Marketing types will using anything to make the decision more emotional. Some of this is regulated in some countries (loss-leaders but also increasingly 3 for 2 offers and upselling), but people have got so used to being ripped off that they expect it.

        1. Someone Else Silver badge

          Re: Famous truths...

          It's based on FOMO (fear of missing out) and is a well-understood trigger that most of us of Millennials are powerless to resist in many situations.

          There, FTFY.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Famous truths...

            I think you broke it, not fixed it. FOMO is not a Millennial thing -- the effect has been around, and exploited, for as long as marketing has existed.

            That said, I honestly never understood the effect personally. I just know it's effective from marketing classes as well as personal observation. I don't think I've ever experienced a fear of missing out. Either I want/need something or I don't -- whether others are getting the thing (or what kind of deal they're getting) doesn't enter into it.

            But then, I've been in business a very long time, and have learned that if someone is pressuring me to "buy now!", either explicitly or implicitly, the thing that's being pitched is more than likely not a good deal for me.

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: Famous truths...

              Either I want/need something or I don't

              This means you might be less susceptible to the tricks, but studies do show that we all are to some degree. The easiest victims for a con man are often those who think they can't be conned: the honest man fallacy.

              1. JohnFen Silver badge

                Re: Famous truths...

                Absolutely. I in no way meant to imply that I'm immune to marketing tactics, only that I don't seem to have the FOMO thing. Different people are receptive to different tactics. This is just one that I don't seem to be very receptive to, but there are others that are effective on me. This is why there isn't just a single tactic that is used all the time.

                In fact, I am perfectly aware that people who think that they're immune to marketing tactics are not just wrong -- they're probably as susceptible as everyone else -- but they are more vulnerable than average to a specific subset of tactics.

                Witness the long tradition of marketing that overtly pans marketing, for example.

                I strongly recommend that people learn marketing -- not necessarily because you need to know how to market stuff, but because it's really eye-opening how easy it is to manipulate people (and occasionally useful to know how to do it yourself). But one of the thing I learned in marketing classes is that knowing the tricks in no way makes you resistant to them. In fact, it's well known that marketers tend to be more susceptible to marketing than others.

          2. Benson's Cycle

            Re: Famous truths...

            The really big scams are aimed at middle aged and older people because they have the money. Stanford and Madoff were not targeting millennials.

          3. EnviableOne Silver badge

            Re: Famous truths...

            for boomers its called sheep factor, us millenials just use shorter words ...

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Famous truths...

        As my old mum used to say

        A man came home one night and told his wife

        "I ran behind the bus to come home tonight and saved £1.50"

        She replied

        "You stupid fool why did you not run behind a taxi and save £20.00"

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Famous truths...

          I heard similar when I was younger, but it was 3d and 2/6d :-)

      5. 's water music Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Famous truths...

        I challenged a friend of mine about a recent, unnecessary purchase. I was informed "It was half off! I saved 50%." I answered "But you didn't need it. You could have not bought it and saved 100%." I just got a blank stare in return.

        Ha ha, your friend is dumb. If he were smarter he would have realised by that by following your advice he could have made two unnecessary purchases with the money he saved.

        Even she realises this------>

  6. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    1. Wilseus

      "In the meantime, Amazon pays AU$20 mil in taxes on >AU$1 BILLION in revenue."

      Perhaps, but at least companies like Amazon don't seem to treat their customers with the absolute contempt that Apple seems to.

      They go back for more as well, my Dad did, I have no idea why. He went back to a certain emission-cheating car company as well, even after they treated him like absolute shit when he bought his last car from them.

      I think companies like these employ clever psychological tricks to keep you going back.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        "He went back to a certain emission-cheating car company as well, even after they treated him like absolute shit when he bought his last car from them."

        I don't know your dad's situation, but this did remind me of an old marketing trick...

        If you know that what you're selling is a piece of crap, a standard approach to selling it is to make it pretty, price it high, and market it as a luxury good. When people pay a premium price for something, they tend to be very reluctant to admit to themselves that they have been taken, and are even more reluctant to admit it to others -- so you get into a situation where customers will give you good reviews and talk up your product to their friends and family even when it's clearly garbage.

        1. Benson's Cycle

          It's said that 60% of BMW first time buyers in the UK do not have a test drive, whereas some of their competitors are offering one or two day test drives.

          I am not saying there is anything wrong with BMWs, just that the power of brand image can be truly astounding.

          1. Wilseus

            "I am not saying there is anything wrong with BMWs, just that the power of brand image can be truly astounding."

            I'm actually on my second BMW in a row, but I wouldn't touch any model that came out after about 2004. That should tell you something.

        2. Wilseus

          "I don't know your dad's situation, but this did remind me of an old marketing trick..."

          The car in question was a nearly new Passat. It was a good car in general, but there were a number of issues with it that they refused to sort out. One was a buzzing in the roof at certain engine speeds, which seemed to be audible to all humans except ones that worked for the dealership. Another was the dual mass flywheel that kept overheating and failing. Another issue was trying to charge him for parts that didn't need replacing.

          The best one was when he wanted cruise control retrofitting, which they told him was problematic as the computer was different so they'd have to replace that, at an absolutely ludicrous total cost. That was a big fat lie, the computers were actually all the same, and in the end an independent garage managed to do the work for a couple of hundred.

          Stuff like that.

          1. Jaap Aap

            Ooh yes, I know someone who works at a BMW garage, and some of the things he told me are amazing:

            Updating or reading out the computer, or doing anything else on a modern car? You need an internet connection to the factory. No internet? No work is getting done.

            Have a problem with a certain electronic component? If it needs to be replaced, you might have to change out other electronics. So if one small part breaks, you might need to replace a few computer modules here and there. The factory software exactly tells you what to replace. The price of one of those computer modules? Not very cheap, obviously.

  7. DeKrow

    Hollywood Accounting

    Accounting. "I do not think it means what you think it means"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_accounting

    The more big companies are exposed for their creative accounting practices, the more I wonder about the motivations of politicians chipping away at individual privacy and promoting ever-expanding surveillance.

    The governments of "The West" are playing catch-up to China. The big, smart, corporates are level pegging with China.

  8. Snake

    Counter-arguments

    The question is not if Apple is presenting themselves in a good light, the (real) question is whether or not the (technologically simple) Congress will [get to] hear reasonable rebuttal that brings up the same points that El Reg does.

    ....

    And pigs start flying.

    1. The IT Ghost

      Re: Counter-arguments

      Given that most everyone in politics, whether they be members of Congress, or Parliament, Presidents or Prime Ministers, have little grasp of technology makes it very hard to have anything explained to them. A few are somewhat savvy, but most are relying entirely on aides to brief them on the "issues" while they're on the way to vote on them. An understanding of complex and creative accounting? They've never grasped how it is that a movie studio that makes a movie for $120 million, which does $400 million in revenue on opening weekend, still only reports $2 million net profits on that movie, and lost money big time overall for the year, therefore, pay no taxes

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Counter-arguments

        That one is easy. Have you seen how many actor/director/CEO tickling movies have been made as flops/

        "Why on earth did someone greenlight this movie to be made?" Easy, everyone involved got to hand out on a island resort, eating/drinking/unmentionables, and it all got charged to the loss leading tax deductible flop they released on DVD only. No to mention the advertising company, that somehow overcharged, underdelivered, is employing the CEOs nephew, and is in a tax free location.

      2. EnviableOne Silver badge

        Re: Counter-arguments

        If the Honourable Senior Congressman from Oregon was in the room he'd call BS on the lot of them

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Counter-arguments

      Although in this case it would seem the primary requirement is for Congress to have some appreciation of Hollywood Accounting practices.

      Wouldn't be surprised if Hollywood Accounting practises contributed to MS doing away with the traditional Windows delivery model (ie. include 10+ years of free fixes in product purchase Windows).

      1. Danny Boyd

        Re: Counter-arguments

        What FFS Microsoft has to do with the topic? And you forgot to mention Brexit.

    3. fandom

      Re: Counter-arguments

      Yes, of course, they will need technology lessons to get a point about accounting.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Counter-arguments

        Perhaps accountants do.

        Years ago I was doing a product profitability review and found a product that was about to be cancelled due to making a loss.

        I discovered that the bean counter who had costed the BOM did not understand that the prices he was looking at for resistors and capacitors were per hundred. When I explained it to him he made it clear that the product would be scrapped rather than him admit to head office that he had made a mistake.

        1. katrinab Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Counter-arguments

          Dear Head Office

          I have negotiated a special deal with another supplier at a 90% discount to previous price, with a couple of brown envelopes thrown in as an additional sweetener. This amazing deal will transform the profitability of the product. Please give me a very large bonus.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Counter-arguments

            This doesn't work when the BOM has to be updated on the ERP system and signed off by engineering and production.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Counter-arguments

      Rossman on Youtube uploaded the publicly available clip of the expert witness before the judges in the case.

      Expert witness introduces themselves, gives credentials list, says "I see no problem/reason to stop little stores ding repairs", and asks "any questions".

      Zero from the Judges. The good side of me would hope it's because the Judges already know everything there is to know. The bad side of me expects they just wanted to rush off for a coffee break and to check their emails on the next new shiny bling they could buy on sale.

  9. Joe User
    Megaphone

    Note to clueless Apple execs

    Design your products with ease of repair in mind and you won't have this problem.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Note to clueless Apple execs

      Tim Cook-the-books is an accountant, it's not cluelessness, he knows very well what he's doing when his company produces glued-up devices which are practically unrepairable by third parties as they're locked out and cost about 80% of the price of a new device for Apple repair or replacement (by replacement they mean take the motherboard out of another returned device and put it in yours, i.e. the same as repair) and then come up with these nonsense figures to suggest that they're losing money on repairs.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Note to clueless Apple execs

        To be fair, the glue is mostly because they want the latest iDevice to be as thin and small (and cheap to manufacture) as possible, and glue is cheaper and easier than designing a fixture that will fit in the same space.

        That it locks out third party repairs is just icing on the cake.

        1. Psmo Bronze badge

          Re: Note to clueless Apple execs

          That's not icing, just more glue.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Note to clueless Apple execs

      The phones are easy to repair. I can do a screen or a battery in a few minutes on an iPhone. That's on my home desk with a light and the basic tools that come supplied with the replacement part from ebay for a few quid. This includes a battery that performs better than the Apple one.

      I can't say the same for iPads they look like they are glued together though, and I don't have the right sort of heat gun.

      1. LeahroyNake Silver badge

        Re: Note to clueless Apple execs

        If you have nerves of steel and a steady hand you can pick up a gas powered soldering iron with a 'heat blower' attachment for around £30.

        Mine works a treat for replacing screen glass etc. It's not as good as my plug in one a it does not have tip temp control but when I don't have a plug socket handy it does the job admirably.

  10. steviebuk Silver badge

    I call bullshit

    When you're charging a fortune for repairs how can you possibly be losing money. When independent, legit, using legit dona parts shops can make money from it. You're clearly bullshitting Apple so you can get right to repair block.

    Smarmy arseholes.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    something is missing in the article

    It's whether the congress people did roll on the floor from laughter.

    Seriously, even congressmen can see through this amount of bullshit ...

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: something is missing in the article

      Yeah! What happened to the old saw' You can't bullshit a bullshitter' ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: something is missing in the article

      The Congressmen were probably taking notes for future expenses claims. (I was thinking of paying $30 for a sandwich but I actually paid only $10. But I should still claim $30 because I would have paid that had that been the price.)

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: something is missing in the article

      "Seriously, even congressmen can see through this amount of bullshit ..."

      Brown envelopes have been proven to seriously affect eyesight.

  12. Amentheist
    Boffin

    He didn't say how much was the cost for the electricity but my mate repaired his iMac's loose GPU solder (or something) himself, by putting it in the oven.

    Hi-tech apple care 'ere --->

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Trollface

      Hmm, just like wrapping your Xbox in towels.

      The problem there is that, in all but anecdotal cases, heating your entire device to solder-melting temperatures results in a completely fucked device.

      There's always one person who says it worked for them. I strongly suspect that they're all trolls trying to get sheep to brick their devices.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        I'm not really disagreeing with your point here.

        It can be effective to bake a PCB to fix a problem if that problem is cold solder joints (although that's the thermal equivalent of trying to fix something mechanical by randomly hitting it with a hammer). But it's not as simple as chucking it into an oven. You have to prepare the board (such as desoldering and removing components that will wilt in the heat), and be reasonably cautious about times and temperatures.

        My experience is that you're better off finding and resoldering the specific cold solder joint. If the bad joint is a ball under a BGA chip, then using a hot air gun on that chip is a safer option than baking the entire board (although removing, reballing, and resoldering the entire chip is even better.)

        On the other hand, as AvE likes to say, if it's already fucked, why not give it a go? It's not like it matters if you make it even more fucked.

      2. Benson's Cycle

        Modern solder melts around 200-240C.

        Components are designed to tolerate reflow temperature for, IIRC, about 10 seconds.

        Show me the domestic oven that heats a board to 240C and cools it down again in that sort of timescale.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          If you're trying to fix a board by tossing it in an oven (which I don't recommend at all), you don't actually want to get it hot enough to melt the solder, for a number of reasons. You're just trying to get it hot enough to soften the solder, and that temperature is a fair bit lower than the melting point. Low enough that most domestic ovens can reach it.

      3. Amentheist

        That's what I thought but he did it and it worked, there's tutorials on YT and everyting, it's mental!

        1. Psmo Bronze badge

          Watch out for YouTube videos; people have been caught using everything from concealed batteries to swapped devices to sell their channel advertising.

  13. Marco van de Voort

    Geniuses

    Probably all those geniuses is what costs the money. Might just as well rebrand them to idiots and safe on payroll.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Geniuses

      Those geniuses well paid? Their storefronts are in premium retail locations too, so probably smashed with rental cost.

    2. Benson's Cycle

      Re: Geniuses

      They are called "geniuses" on the basis of the public's idea of the genius starving in an attic.

  14. msknight

    I don't believe this is honest

    They don't make or lose money from repairs because, if various videos and stings are to be beleived, they tell the customer that the unit can't be repaired and get them to buy a new one instead.

    By forcing people to go to apple, they effectively rob actual repair people to ... actually repair things.

    1. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      Re: I don't believe this is honest

      Obligatory video from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation about Apple repairs.

      (P.S. Dear Reg, please enable an embed Youtube feature.)

      1. paulll Bronze badge

        Re: I don't believe this is honest

        "(P.S. Dear Reg, please enable an embed Youtube feature.)"

        Oh! Yes! And GIFs! Reg conversations are so dull on account of being mostly boring old words instead of endless copies of michael jackson eating popcorn and the,"that's bait," thing with the odd youtube clip thrown in. Now *that's* conversation right there.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: I don't believe this is honest

        "Dear Reg, please enable an embed Youtube feature."

        Dear Reg, for the love of god, please don't.

  15. Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day

    Reliability optional

    “Apple has spent time and money to make Apple devices incredibly user friendly" but apparently not very reliable.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd like to see them try put a price on the data that has been 'lost' because of Apple's stance. Jessa Jones and Louis Rossman have repaired devices and recovered data in situations where Apple have lied out-right to say it wasn't possible and just tried to sell new devices.

    Even if Apple refuse to/can't repair a device, the practice of going out of their way to prevent others from doing so is a shitty thing to do.

    1. jeffty

      The difference between Jones/Rossman and Apple is the same as the difference between a motor engineer and most car dealers.

      Jones/Rossman have expert skills in low-level hardware diagnostics/repairs. They understand the connectivity between the electrical components and have the tools needed to interrogate them for faults. They're able to quickly determine and resolve the cause of a hardware fault, usually right down to the faulty chip, IC or transistor. They'll then obtain replacement components, remove the faulty ones and solder the replacements onto the board.

      Your average Apple store will probably just diagnose the fault down to the nearest board and replace that entire assembly, regardless of which chip on it failed.

      The expert costs more in labour but less in materials used, Apple have probably worked out that it's cheaper to hire support staff of a lower expertise level and just to take the hit on the increased cost of replacement parts and lost data.

      Still, there's no reason why they can't just use conventional connectors/form factors (PCIe storage for example) to allow for easy data recovery or repair, and still produce a thin, sleek device. RAM, storage and batteries are usually the three most common hardware failures you see in a laptop (hell, they're the most common failures in a standard PC too if you swap batteries for PSUs). It's price gouging/planned obscelescence and nothing more.

      1. Benson's Cycle

        Cars nowadays have extensive built in diagnostics and dealer technicians can easily fix things. But that's because people won't accept glued-in parts.

        Except - wasn't there a Porsche or a BMW that had a glued on inlet manifold, and when it heat cracks it can't be directly replaced because the head cannot be reglued? I believe there's an engineering company that modifies the head to take a metal manifold.

        Perhaps gluing in is a sign that something is being sold to the kind of people who think "It's gone wrong, let's buy a new one."

        1. No Yb

          Dunno about Porsche or BMW, but Ford went with a composite ("plastic") intake manifold on some trucks. There's a fairly large 3rd party market for metal-reinforced replacements.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Makes it easier to recognise idiots at first sighting

    Just see if they are holding an apple product, and you immediately know you are dealing with a vain idiot and can ignore the bullshit they are going to spout

    1. NightFox

      Re: Makes it easier to recognise idiots at first sighting

      I'd say your life- and social-skills are pretty underdeveloped if you form your opinions of other people based entirely on the type of phone or computer they choose to own. IMHO.

      1. Benson's Cycle

        Re: Makes it easier to recognise idiots at first sighting

        I still tend to speak slowly and carefully to people with Dorophones. (I have persuaded a few older people to buy them, they are good for their purpose.)

        1. Antonius_Prime

          Re: Makes it easier to recognise idiots at first sighting

          Loud ringers, BIG keys, BIG type on screen, simple functions. Durable.

          Dorophones are brilliant for elderly people who don't generally need to be playing Angry Birds at every opportunity...

          I won't knock those types of devices, they have their place in the world.

      2. julian.smith
        Linux

        Re: Makes it easier to recognise idiots at first sighting

        It's a leading indicator - not conclusive but indicative.

        Ask if they have Bose speakers, if yes, it's confirmed.

        El Reg calls Apple ownership an idiot tax ... seems astute to me.

  18. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Coat

    Build quality?

    Maybe if Apple devices weren't so ridiculously fragile, and built for s#it, repairs wouldn't be so necessary, not that they're not lying through their teeth about losing money on repairs.

    Mine's the one with the 5 year old Android phone in the pocket..

  19. Wellyboot Silver badge

    They know their market.

    They're not thinking logically - super-complex machinery that requires specialist and highly trained technicians to fix would suggest a similar requirement to build them in the first place, not a sweat shop factory that pumps out milllions a month for peanuts actual production cost just like any other phone.

    They're just trying to maintain the cult status and incentive to spend real cash on a 'not much more to update' mentality.

    The only super-complex bit is designing the thing and its PCB assembly process in the first place.

  20. Rich 2 Silver badge

    Creative accounting

    Maybe they're loosing money because of all that cash the "need" to shovel over to some anon corp in a tax haven somewhere (for brand licensing etc)?

    That's how it works, isn't it?

  21. ForthIsNotDead
    Mushroom

    Just get someone else to do it

    A very nice man from Aberdeen *came to our house* and fixed my daughters *in warranty* iPad for £45. Apple wouldn't cover the broken screen on warranty (which is fair enough - I didn't expect them to) but the cost of the 'repair' from Apple was just £50 less than buying a new iPad.

    So I told them fuck off.

  22. D@v3

    seems to me, they are loosing money, because the money spent on a repair, is less than the money that would have been spent on a replacement.

  23. steviebuk Silver badge

    Makes me angry

    That people still love them and more angry that congress will end up believing all their bullshit. Considering Right To Repair appears to have struggled to get pasted in a lot of states means someone, somewhere must be doing some hard lobbying and the fuck whits are fulling for the bullshit.

    "It goes on: “Repairs performed by untrained technicians might not follow proper safety and repair procedures and could result in improper function, product quality issues or safety events. Additionally, repairs that do not properly replace screws or cowlings might leave behind loose parts that could damage a component such as the battery, causing overheating or resulting in injury.”"

    And Louis Rossman and Jessa Jones have proved that argument to be bullshit time and time again. With the "Genius Bar" fucking repairs up.

  24. N2 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    So you lose money on repairs?

    Well, firstly I dont believe that statement as Apple have locked out third party repairers and secondly they should build their shit so it doesnt break.

    So either make your stuff 3rd party repairable and more robust or fuck off

    Sympathy? none here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So you lose money on repairs?

      Taking all the hate out of your statement, when was the last time you bought an UNBREAKABLE Consumer Electronic Device? Seriously - do you even know what the word means???

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Full Metal Jacket-style testimony!

    Apple, he says Apple is the type of guy who would ... "not even have the goddamned common courtesy to give him a reach-around".

  26. low_resolution_foxxes

    As a general rule, the total manufacturing cost of all smartphones has been around £50-£150 for 10 years now.

    Looking at the major Asian manufacturers, you can get perfectly good LED displays (and spares) for £10-20 a unit. If you really need a 4K UHD with 90Hz it'll cost a heap more, but then Apple also need to pay £45 to apply the special Apple glue. But since Apple glue was formulated by geniuses, and you are really, super worth it, that's all great.

    That's largely why Trump got annoyed with Huawei, you cannot have a phone with Apple-esque technical specs retailing for £250, when Apple want £1000.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      But since Apple glue was formulated by geniuses, and you are really, super worth it, that's all great.

      When I first read that, I read: "But since Apple glue was formulated with geniuses, ..."

      Shit, no wonder it is so expensive.

      Soylent Green is people!

  27. andy 103
    Thumb Down

    I go off how much they value their own products

    I bought an iPhone XR from an Apple store for £749 cash. When the iPhone 11 was released, 3 months after this purchase, they offered me £250 as a trade in.

    When they enquired about whether I wanted an extended warranty I said no. But then why would I on a product they value at £250? It's the last Apple product I'll buy.

    I'd like to say this is sarcasm but it isn't.

  28. Tom 35 Silver badge

    They other way they make a loss

    Every time they can't convince someone that it's not worth fixing their iThing and they should buy the new better ithing they lose too.

  29. John Savard Silver badge

    I Wonder Why

    Well, if they didn't fill them with glue, maybe they wouldn't cost so much to repair.

  30. Luiz Abdala Bronze badge
    Gimp

    Unless whatever you need to do demands an Apple, you are an idiot...

    ...for choosing it, and you deserve to have your money parted from you.

    I pity those that are locked into the ecosystem against their best judgment. For them, I hope the Right To Repair™ comes to fruition.

    I will see myself out.

    Downvotes below.

  31. JohnFen Silver badge

    One of the reasons

    There are a handful of reasons why I don't buy Apple products, and the repair situation is in the top 3. Although it could arguably be a subset of one of my other top 3 reasons -- lock-in.

  32. SVV Silver badge

    Does their answer match their balance sheets?

    Surely in the accounts they can only record the actual cost of parts and labour involved for a repair. And the point of a warranty scheme is that it is a type of insurance where most people who buy one don't claim, so what they paid contributes to the cost of repairs of those who do claim. The warranty price will be set extremely carefully in order to ensure Apple don't make a loss from this, and the accountants will have spent a lot of time working this out carefully.

    So I'm very dubious about the claim that you can record "the full price they would have paid if not covered by warranty" on your blanace sheets as an actual loss in this straightforward way. If it is allowed, then some accounting rules need changing rapidly, as it would be possible for any company to dream up similar types of "what-if losses" in order to avoid having to report any profits at all.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Does their answer match their balance sheets?

      "So I'm very dubious about the claim that you can record "the full price they would have paid if not covered by warranty" on your blanace sheets as an actual loss in this straightforward way."

      Imagine how rich Hollywood would be of nor for piracy? Because *every* pirate copy is a full price sale lost in their accounting system.

  33. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Don't buy Apple products

    Honestly, I don't know why Congress is raking Apple over the coals. There's so many policies about Apple I do not like. I mean, the having their software intentionally lock out 3rd-party components: sleazy. Inflated repair prices: sleazy. Charging for a high-cost warranty then still charging a lot for repairs: sleazy. Essentially lying to Congress about this: sleazy (pretending the full retail price is Apple's price to repair in order to claim loss on every repair is basically lying.) Want a headphone jack? Want a replaceable battery? Want to be able to use standard cables (USB-C these days)? Want... well, the list could go on and on.

    Apple is not some kind of monopoly, at any given point, there's dozens of excellent phones on the market, dozens more cheap and cheerful phones (and that's not counting the straight from China Alibaba models... I'm not counting them since relatively few support the USA cell phone bands.) Don't like Apple's policies? DON'T BUY APPLE PRODUCTS.

  34. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    The act of handing money to Apple is a much better user experience than handing it to any other person or business. That's just facts.

    Apple's stated goal is to maximize the user experience via their products.

    QE2

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      Upvote for the reference to the Queen.

  35. User McUser

    Actually, they do make money on "Free" Apps

    Apple makes none of nothing from the 84 per cent of apps that don’t charge.

    Except for the fact that if one wants to put their "free" App into the AppStore, one must be a registered developer - at a cost of US$99 per year!

  36. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    pennies

    We lose money on repairs, sobs penniless Apple...

    Well of *COURSE* Apple is penniless, they never bother with anything smaller than a C-Note.

  37. Robert Grant

    Presumably they lose money on everything, if you don't count it against the purchase price

    Raw materials, R&D, software, running the App Store, logistics, employees. We lose money on everything!

  38. Ribfeast

    I used to work for an Apple reseller back in the early/mid 2000's. Just before the Apple-branded stores started appearing. Repairs were a nightmare even back then, a lot more fiddly than regular PCs. Lots of tiny screws of varying lengths, bizarre procedures and tools to take the things apart, I can sort of agree with them to a certain degree about restricting repairs to trained people.

    They got a bit restrictive towards the end, wanting serial numbers, board IDs and all sorts of stuff to be exactly correct on the part we were sending back. Other times we'd have something with an intermittent fault that kept being rejected when we sent it back. Tesla coil fixed that lol

    Profit margins on sales and repairs was pretty poor towards the end too, expecting repairs to be done in unrealistic times. Glad I got out when I did.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      " I can sort of agree with them to a certain degree about restricting repairs to trained people."

      I can't. Even if all third party repair shops were terrible (and they're clearly not), I'd still disagree. It's my device, and I should be able to get is repaired in any fashion that I wish, even if that's to take it to the slimiest, least qualified repair technician I can find.

  39. Someone Else Silver badge

    "Creative accounting"

    They must be using the same accountants that Amtrak uses to "prove" that the Northeast Corridor is "profitable", while all other long distance and corridor trains are losing shitloads of money. (They do that by moving a handful of NEC costs to other long-distance trains; e.g. the cost of removing snow from platforms on NEC stations miraculously showsup as a cost for the trains gointg to or originating in ... wait for it ... Miami.)

  40. Apple is Dirty

    Wow I'm in shock that you called apple out on the crap they pull..... I seen the apple math yeah i can see them crying. Poor poor us everyone is taking our money. If you let shops work on our crap then we will be holding a sighn up in street.

    What it is people are seeing how apple is selling crap and putting it on the internet. Apple like no we must stop this we need to tell people that it's good and then you buy. It breaks we charge you arm and a leg..... then ur like I could buy a new one...... good boy that's what we wanted from the beginning.... here u want another icrap for your wife....

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      "Wow I'm in shock that you called apple out on the crap they pull"

      Stick around, friend: you're in for a treat

      C.

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      The Reg is one of the few publications that does. It's also why El Reg is on Apple's shitlist and why "We reached out to Apple for a comment and will update the article when we receive a reply" is such a massive in-joke on here at this point. Because it will likely never happen anyway.

  41. kirk_augustin@yahoo.com

    The quality of Apple products are ok, but I would never own one because their pricing is ridiculous.

  42. Big_Boomer Bronze badge

    Cupertino idiot-tax operation

    Nice sum up right there. Personally, I've never been a fan, despite having had 2 company iPhones and having been forced to support Apple laptops and desktops over the years. The company are difficult, obstructive, controlling, manipulative, and seem to make all their products as incompatible with anything else as possible. It wouldn't surprise me at all to hear that they actually design their products to make them more difficult to repair simply to boost sales of replacement items. I'm out and will remain out.

  43. DougS Silver badge

    The reason they 'lose money' is real estate

    If they account for a portion of their overhead in the "cost", like any business would, that will add up pretty quickly since Apple stores - where most of these repairs are carried out - are some of the most expensive real estate in the world.

    One of the reasons the little kiosk in the "bad mall people usually avoid" can charge so much less is because they pay about 0.01% of the cost Apple does for their presence. They likely pay their employees less too; even if the hourly rate was the same they probably don't get health care like the Apple Store employees do.

    Even if the cost of the parts were the same, those ultra expensive glass palaces are going to account for a majority of the disparity in repair prices.

  44. SEDT

    I don't get it. What's the issue, there are plenty of alternatives to Apple products.

    I have never owned an apple product. Yet I have been computing since Commodore Pet, and using cell phones since Philips Philips, PRC30E I think, 1988 (still got it somewhere)

    If you don't like the way Apple wrings money out of you, don't by their products.

  45. Step'n'Fixit

    Still the Best Choice

    Apple nontheless remains the best choice for people who don't understand computers and have more money than sense.

    1. Benson's Cycle

      Re: Still the Best Choice

      I would say "and have enough money that Apple prices are small change."

      I know someone like this who had a kid beginning violin. Spent £2500 on a violin for beginners. Kid sat on it. Only spent £1500 on the next one. For these people (the people who would think that guy on £80000 a year on QT was in the bottom half of earners), an iPhone is kid's toy price.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hate Apple for supplying shoddy products. They break at the slightest knock.

    Great marketing strategy, design a toy to appeal to kids that costs as much as a second hand car and give it to kids who promptly break them.

  47. Andrew Scott

    apple warranty

    most warrants are never used, bet apple didn't include the money taken in for warranty sales as offsetting their huge losses.

  48. Tim99 Silver badge
    Gimp

    A lonely bouquet in the brickbats

    I admit it. I (still) own an iMac now out of AppleCare. Two months from the end of the 3 year warranty I had a problem with the screen which showed a single line of green pixels. I phoned Apple, who suggested that I took the iMac to the local retailer; I told them that I was a pensioner, so they arranged for an on-site repair the next day.

    I might not be typical of the average Apple user, having been around software since 1971; but after writing software for many different OSs, including some Windows shrink-ware, the experience suits me. It allows me to still use the UNIX commands I learnt in the 70s when the (nice) GUI can’t do everything that I need.

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