When does Apple stop making parts?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by Tech198, Apr 29, 2014.

  1. Tech198 macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #1
    In today's tech age, apple has replaced/upgraded all Macbook lines and none but the 13-inch still has an optical drive left.


    Moving forward, this is why i still have my MBP non-Retina from Mid-2012.

    However what happens when apple starts saying "we have no more parts available?" when it goes in for repair.

    Even though parts would be available, there would be no indefinite.... Therefore at some point the parts may no longer be available.. In such a case, what would Apple do, tell the customer to upgrade their Mac ?

    Even though you could find parts if eBay and DIY, that's at your own rusk anyway, and at least if you repair through Apple, you know if will be genuine and reliable.

    If, and when, such a day comes, you may say "users may upgrade before parts run out", but what if you don't want to upgrade...?

    Aka it's the only Mac you like using, and while the rest are thinner, your comfortable with what you have.
     
  2. Tsuchiya macrumors 68020

    Tsuchiya

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    #2
    Ah well this thread has been timed well because I went into Apple on Friday to enquire about replacing the screen on my 2007 MacBook Pro.

    Turns out that they don't stock the parts, and that they can't even book the machine in because their software won't allow it (the Genius literally showed me that the book in button was greyed out).

    He then told me how to find service centres but said to avoid any authorised place because they'll be in the same situation as Apple. Or just buy the parts form eBay.
     
  3. noisycats macrumors 6502a

    noisycats

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    Location:
    The 'ham. Alabama.
    #3
    What is your point? Any product by any manufacturer will cease to be supported at some time.
     
  4. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    Aug 24, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    There was no point. It was a question.

    OP, many 3rd party (and usually locally owned) PC repair stores have parts for Macs, even those that Apple no longer provide.
     
  5. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #5
    My understanding is that they stop stocking replacement parts three years after the last one is sold -- basically covering people who buy AppleCare.
     
  6. noisycats macrumors 6502a

    noisycats

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2010
    Location:
    The 'ham. Alabama.
    #6
    Read the post again. He's not even really asking a question except for a rhetorical "what will happen then?"

    In such a case, what would Apple do, tell the customer to upgrade their Mac ?

    but what if you don't want to upgrade...?
     
  7. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    UK
    #7
    Oh, so you did find the question then. :rolleyes:
     
  8. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    Inside
    #8
    Apple's hardware products have three stages to their life cycle. The first is the Supported stage. Products stay in this stage while on sale to the public and for five years after they are removed from sale to the public. During this stage, Apple will service and maintain a parts inventory for the product.

    After this stage is the Vintage stage. This stage starts at the end of the Supported stage and lasts for another two years. Products in this stage can be serviced only if purchases in California and serviced in California due to a law in California. Apple does not maintain a parts inventory during this stage, but will use remaining inventory until exhausted.

    The last stage starts when the products has been off the public market for seven years. This stage is the Obsolete stage. Apple will not service the machine in any way.
     
  9. noisycats macrumors 6502a

    noisycats

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    Jun 1, 2010
    Location:
    The 'ham. Alabama.
    #9
    Well, in that case, you didn't answer either question.

    Enjoy yourself.

    ----------

    Incredibly helpful. I never knew. Thanks.
     
  10. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    I offered a solution if he was to find himself at the wrong end of either question (ie. Apple isn't supporting his Mac anymore). Are you incapable of common sense or something?
     
  11. Mr Rabbit macrumors 6502a

    Mr Rabbit

    Joined:
    May 13, 2013
    Location:
    'merica
    #11
    So here's the deal...

    Apple has three relative stages to a product's life cycle:

    Current, or the expected usage time span, ranges from the date of introduction/purchase to 5 years old... Basically this is the expected maximum time span that the "majority" of people will own a single Mac/iPad/iPhone/Time Capsule/etc. New software is almost always expected to still perform on Macs within this time frame. One of the very few exceptions to this in recent years was Snow Leopard, which required an Intel powered Mac, which had only been available for 3~ years at the time of release. Some PowerPC holdouts were burned by this, however Apple didn't push to end PowerPC support until Lion in 2011, which marked the 5~ year point following Intel introduction and PowerPC's end.

    During this time frame Apple manufacturers and actively reconditions replacement components for Macs. It's my understanding, from training in the field, that the decision to manufacture replacement parts or refurbish existing parts is based solely on their inventory. Say Apple manufactures 1000 MacBook Air logic boards, if they use all 1000 but there are 600 that are salvageable through the reconditioning process then they likely won't manufacture any more until that number drops much lower, likely from boards coming back as BER (beyond economical repair) due to liquid damage or whatnot.

    These parts are all thoroughly tested (though mistakes can still occur) regardless of them being new or reconditioned, and as such are sent out without a distinction being made to being new or reconditioned. The only way to know for a technician to know for sure that they are ordering a brand new part is to order one within a month or so of a Mac's release. After that the chances for it to be a reconditioned part increase as time goes by, not that anything is wrong with that. As a seasoned technician I have no reason to doubt Apple's reconditioned parts, I've never seen a trend that would lead me to believe they're inferior in any manner.

    Vintage... These are Macs that are older than 5 years old but less than 7 years old. This is the part of the lifecycle where Apple stops manufacturing new replacement parts but still offers and may (depending on the age) still recondition returned parts based on demand and availability. If your MacBook Air, that you bought on launch day, just turned 5 a month ago, and you need a replacement logic board, then there's a good chance that an AASP can still order one. If Apple see's a trend of these requiring logic boards, but their inventory dropping, then they can elect to recondition those that come back to refill their supply.

    This is also the part of the lifecycle where software support starts to dwindle. Parts of OS X Server start to require newer OS' on clients, most Apple software starts to show signs of dropping support, etc. Basically this is the time where most people start to doubt the usability of their Mac and should probably start looking for a replacement.

    Obsolete... This is the final stage, at least in regards to Apple support. The Mac is 7 years or older. Parts are no longer stocked/manufactured/reconditioned/etc. Officially you can no longer order a part for a Mac in this status but sometimes, very rarely, you might get lucky and be able to order it if you happen to know the part number and it just happens to be in stock. Software support from Apple has ended for most of the major applications and a lot of third party software support will be dwindling or non existent. At this point the Mac will start facing major compatibility and usability issues for the majority of end users.

    But screw that! I love my PowerMac G4 Cube! I want to replace it's failed airport card so I can surf wirelessly while using Tiger. All hope is not lost, enter the third party...
    • iFixit - An absolutely wonderful site with tear downs and step by step repair guides for most Macs and a load of other products. They have a pretty decent inventory of replacement parts as well at decent prices.
    • PowerBookMedic - They tend to have a great inventory and decent prices for most components.

    Obviously there are MANY more resources but those are the two I tend to stick with when tasked with repairing an older Mac. I've bought several things from both and have had pleasant experiences each time. You might also seek out local AASPs (Apple Authorized Service Providers) as they often stockpile old parts in the event an older Mac comes in. These parts are often stripped from Macs that were left to rot and can be sold without fear of Apple scolding the AASP. You can search for AASPs using Apple's service locator tool - https://locate.apple.com

    Hope that helps!

    My background - several years as a former Genius at Apple and as an ex technician for an AASP, and as someone who is still ACMT certified and works with repairs frequently in my position as a Mac admin. I've repaired well over 1,000 Macs over a 6~ year time frame, in warranty, out of warranty, with a shop and on my own, etc.

    As someone who owns several Macs currently in each generation I outlined above I can confidently say I don't agree with Apple's lifespans but they also aren't that outlandish. The vast majority of people on this forum will be Apple / Mac enthusiasts, and as such will get joy for using their Macs far past Apple's 3-5 year time span. However, this is a niche. The majority of people in general still consider computers to be a 3-5 year, or less, commitment. We know that Macs, given proper software support, will typically go 7-8 years easily but this is so far outside the norm for the majority of people that Apple would be silly to adopt it.
     
  12. Tech198 thread starter macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #12
    Looks like i confused a few people, but thanks....
     
  13. Southern Dad macrumors 65816

    Southern Dad

    Joined:
    May 23, 2010
    Location:
    Georgia
    #13
    I've got some old eMacs and can still find parts without too much difficulty on the internet. Some will sell used and some third party vendors will start making compatible parts.
     

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