By law, electronic devices, and indeed all devices in general, must offer certain guarantees. Beyond what the warranty covers, a key point of these laws is the length of time that repairs, parts and software updates must be offered. A point where the German government has its suggestions.

Seven years is an eternity in technological terms

The European Commission recently proposed legislation requiring manufacturers of mobile devices to guarantee software updates and spare parts for repairs for five years and six years for tablets. Legislation that would also require manufacturers to publish parts prices and deliver their orders within a maximum of five working days.

In Germany, they want to go much further and suggest that the European Union increase the number of years to seven and also oblige companies to sell the parts “at a reasonable price”. The measures proposed are in line with ecological design standards and aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced during the manufacture of parts.

This regulation would affect both Apple and other manufacturers, like Samsung or Huawei, all represented by DigitalEurope, who would see how they should allocate part of their production capacity to manufacturing parts for devices which, judging by current standards of technological development, would be more than obsolete after seven years.

A measure that can have an impact on the final price of new devices.

Apple has been offering software updates for many years now. Proof of this is that iOS 15 will even reach the iPhone 6s, a phone that was launched in 2015 and which will fulfill, when the next system officially arrives, seven years of support. As for security updates, they go much further by seeing updates that cover the iPhone 5s and even the iPhone 4s.

The rest of the industry, however, says the commission’s proposal went too far and calls for two-year operating system updates and three-year security updates. Remember that the standard contract with Google for manufacturers is to receive a larger version of the system and 24 months of security updates. The association also suggests that companies offer only the most demanded components, such as batteries or screens, while camera sensors or microphones do not fall under this proposed regulation.

For now, the bill is in a phase of negotiation and conversation. The European Union plans to introduce the proposals during 2023, from which they would follow the relevant steps until they enter, if they do, into force.

The truth is, this is a very delicate situation. All device manufacturers must factor any repair costs into the final product price. Asserting that parts of the same device have to be manufactured for seven or five years, bearing in mind that we renew our phones much more often, is something that can impact the final price of new devices.

For now, we can only wait and see how this bill unfolds. A proposal that will undoubtedly be debated as the different points of view agree on appropriate measures for all parties.

Image | James lewis