There has long been a battle between consumers and device manufacturers over whether or not they actually won their devices. Consumers believe that they own a phone or a tablet when they spend money on it. On the other hand, companies like Apple believe that your money does not give you full ownership over the device and they still control part or all of the experience. But that battle is beginning to wane as the government has gotten involved, taking the side of consumers - starting with New York State.
Who Owns Your Phone?
It's one of the most surprising trends that consumers didn't fight - the closing of electronic devices. HTC's PPC smartphones could be opened and parts replaced - especially batteries. Palm, Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, LG, and more all offered phones that could be opened and repaired. And then came the iPhone and everything changed. Suddenly, the body was sealed and you couldn't do anything. Not everyone followed the trend - Nokia and Palm continued making phones with replaceable batteries after the iPhone - but it did become the norm. It's moved into the tablet and laptop spaces, as well.
What it brings up, however, is who owns your device? Consumers believe that the receipt they receive when they pay for their phone signifies that they own their phone. However, Apple goes out of its way to ensure that you don't have any rights when it comes to that phone you have a receipt for. They make it difficult to fix small problems, such as a bad battery, by sealing the device. But, if you do go get a battery or screen replacement on your own, you may still run into problems because you don't have the right software to report that the repair was completed.
A Changing Tide
Clearly, consumers want the ability to repair their devices, or at least choose who can work on the phones. Last year, the Biden Administration signed an Executive Order which, among other issues, covered Right to Repair. The EO did not specify how to address the issue, just that it should be investigated and addressed.