Apple’s New iPhone 16 Design Plans Will Save Money For Buyers

Apple’s New iPhone 16 Design Plans Will Save Money For Buyers

The iPhone 16 is shaping up to be one of the most consumer-friendly devices Apple has released in years.

That is largely thanks to a raft of pro-reparability moves the company has made, or rumored to be making, in recent months. This week The Information reported that Apple was developing a new “electrically induced adhesive debonding” technology that will make it easier to remove batteries.

As it stands, removing batteries from an iPhone requires some skill to pull out the adhesive strips that glue it to the chassis. It’s not an easy thing for a regular user, without experience, to do. But Apple wants to change by using bonding technology that would release the battery after “administering a small jolt of electricity.”

The Information’s sources claim that this new technology could hit at least one iPhone 16 model this year, with it rolling it out to the entire iPhone 17 lineup in 2025.

The move appears to be an attempt by the Cupertino-based company to comply with ecodesign legislation passed by the European Union last year. Specifically, the law states that replacing batteries in a smartphone should be “feasible with no tool, a tool or set of tools that is supplied with the product or spare part, or basic tools.”

Several other announcements, or quiet changes, show that Apple’s incoming iPhones will differ greatly from the last decade of Apple handsets.

For example, the iPhone 15’s redesigned internal chassis makes it easier to remove the back panel without shattering the glass. Last year the company introduced a self-service repair program that made it easier for people to fix their devices at home, which has now been partially extended to Europe.

Then there’s the company’s new policy on parts pairing, which means iPhone users will be able to replace parts without Apple’s authorization. The change applies to the iPhone 16 and is likely in response to Oregon’s Right To Repair law. The new legislation bans the practice of disabling features if an unauthorized repair is carried out on a smartphone.

Elsewhere, a recent patent for a future iPhone detailed a modular phone that had an easily removable back panel. The idea is that the back cover can be swapped in and out for panels with one or more additional hardware features. So if a user wanted more battery life, they could plug in the battery module, or if they wanted another screen they could attach a second display.

Nothing about that patent application screams Apple to me, it looks more like the LG G5, the ultra-customizable, Inspector Gadget smartphone from 2016. But the patent application also reads like the EU bill’s vision of smartphones, which talks about reusable fasteners (the clips, screws and bolts that hold components together) and spare parts having the effect of “upgrading or restoring the functionality of the device in which they are installed.”

There are caveats to all of this. Patents often don’t become reality. The independent repair program (separate from the self-service repair program) has come under criticism for squeezing the profits of repair shops that signed up. The new parts pairing policy seemingly only applies to iPhones (read this story on iPads that won’t draw straight lines after a repair) and Apple has fought hard against some of the new regulations, arguing that the Oregon law would “undermine the security” of iPhone users.

The good news is that Apple’s recent moves suggest that the next iPhone will be one of the most repairable in the company’s history. That means savings for buyers over the lifetime of the device because iPhones won’t require expensive repairs that can only be done by Apple. Handsets also won’t have to be thrown away when something goes wrong.

Replaceable batteries are also one of the major battles consumers lost in the last decade. Partially because Android manufacturers, like Samsung and LG, fought to claw some of Apple’s market share by aping the iPhone’s sleek design. We might be back on the path to easily swapping out batteries as and when necessary, instead of paying Apple $99 to do it.

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