1 July 2016, 05:45
UPDATE: Louis apparently isn’t being sued, and in fact has some good news. See our update.
Over the last few months I’ve become addicted to Louis Rossmann’s YouTube channel, in which he repairs Apple hardware alongside dispensing life wisdom. Typically the hardware he repairs is older MacBook Airs and Pros.
Using a microscope connected to a camera, Louis walks the viewer through the entire procedure, which involves tracking down the problem via common sense and diagnostic tools, and then replacing the faulty components. This is the kind of “surface mount” repair Apple considers impossible – much to Louis’ frequent amusement. Because Louis charges a few hundred dollars to repair stuff, rather than the $1000+ Apple typically requests for a complete new motherboard, Louis is able to save people 70-80% of the cost of an “official” repair. Gallingly for Apple, not only is Louis able to repair motherboards via surface mount replacement but he does so typically in the space of 15-30 minutes.
But more than this, Louis is one of life’s good guys and believes in the spirit of sharing and helping, as many of his non-techie videos demonstrate. And now he’s under attack, as his latest video shows (see embedded below). Louis doesn’t name the “attacker” although we’re prepared to bet it’s either Apple or one of Apple’s suppliers. Again, it’s a stab in the dark but our guess is that somebody somewhere has taken issue with Louis accessing schematics of Apple circuitboards. These are created in China and are entirely non-official. In fact, Louis frequently complains that Apple doesn’t make available this data, leaving him no choice but to visit the grey murky depths of the Internet.
The schematics are very probably protected by copyright and it’s likely the complainant is asking Louis to stop using them entirely. The schematics may well be created by reverse engineering but they might also be stolen documents, we just don’t know.
The problem is that not only would the removal of these schematics stop Louis making useful repair videos, and cause him to remove most if not all of the existing repair videos, but it also stops him doing his job. Essentially it shuts-down his business as well as similar businesses worldwide.
I’ve got to stress that all the above is only my best guesses and Louis understandably can’t say much at the present time. But we want Louis to know that we’re on his side and are incredibly grateful for this videos and his work so far (which understandably is being archived by several individuals, so will likely never be entirely lost – the Internet always routes around any kind of censorship). We’ll be watching how this case proceeds. If this is indeed legal action taken by Apple then we’ve got to say that it’s very, very uncool. We’ll be letting Apple know that and we encourage you to do so too.
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Apple offers a $300 flat rate repair for Macs that are off warranty. They will replace any component that is not up to spec and is not working.
I did this for two of my MacBook Pros. And they are returned like brand new – including a new motherboard, screen, etc.
This is a bargain compared to sending it to a repair shop.
— James Katt · Jul 1, 10:30 AM · #
Hi James. There are actually four tiers of flat rate support from Apple — with tier 4, which covers things like accidental water damage, coming out at over $1000. A lot of what Louis fixes is of this type and he does so for circa $300.
One point James also neglected to say is that when you take a device for repairs to Apple, while they may replace the board with a new one, which in some cases isn’t even as good an option as something that an independent repair shop can offer (iPhone 6/6+ touch IC, I’m looking at you), you will also lose any data you have not backed up elsewhere. Again, one more point for the independent repair shops over Apple.
— Petri Helenius · Jul 1, 02:02 PM · #
There is a petition.
— alex camilo · Jul 1, 08:07 PM · #