Apple loyalists are about to be stopped in their tracks, in the race to buy the manufactures flagship phone, iPhone 13.
Though sales continue to skyrocket, a shocking report from iFixit reveals that all iPhone 13 models come with a “new screen repair trap that could change the repair industry forever.” iFixit says that trap is going to “cost you time and money.” iFixit’s claims that Apple attached a small chip (“about the size of a Tic-Tac”) at the bottom of the iPhone 13 screen.
The chip is a microcontroller that pairs each iPhone 13 to its display. When a display is damaged and needs to be changed, the microcontroller must pair with the new screen. To achieve that successfully, ‘Apple Services Toolkit 2’ (AST2)- an expensive proprietary service that requires consent and certification from Apple will be needed.
When the display is not with the iPhone 13 microcontroller, iFixit claims that Face ID, the iPhone’s primary form of security, is automatically disabled, and the user will receive the message saying “Unable to activate Face ID on this iPhone.” It may occur even if the repairer is using a genuine Apple display. iFixit adds that “As far as our engineers can tell, keeping Face ID working on the iPhone 13 after a screen swap should be easier than ever, since its scanner is wholly separate from the display.
Further, iFixit explains that, “screen replacement is incredibly common. Tens of thousands of repair shops around the world support their communities by replacing screens for customers at competitive prices. And Apple is, with one fell swoop, seemingly cutting the industry off at the knees.”
The repair company advises iPhone 13 owners to care about this divulgence, even users who get their devices repaired by Apple alone explaining that this move by Apple limits the options available to users who do not live near an Apple store. Secondly, if Apple manages to remain free of competition, it will be free to set prices as it sees fit. Although Apple has set the price for out-of-warranty glass repair on an iPhone 11 Pro Max at $600, AppleCare+ insurance will be required of all users.
This move, though new, is very habitual of Apple. The company has already blocked third-party repairs for Touch ID, iPhone batteries, and cameras. Each time, the public reacted negatively, but Apple walked them all back, claiming that it was a bug. Apple may make the same claim and correct it if there is significant public protest. But will other more on-the-nose features make Apple users see this and get rightfully apprehensive?
Already, Apple is facing some controversy over Right to Repair laws and this discovery by iFixit means new iPhone 13 owners cannot repair their iPhones anywhere else but with Apple.