Much like the evolution of the smartphone market, it’s much-needed after-market service arena has to evolve too. With every inch added to each new iPhone, each feature to the latest Galaxy’s design, and every new innovation or competitor, repairers have had to keep up with the ‘game’, so the speak.
We caught up with weFix founder Alex Fourie to find out how the leaders in the repair space have gone from humble beginnings to the go-to specialists, always evolving as the industry has moved along.
How drastically has the repair processes changes over the years? And have repairs got easier or more difficult with the evolution of technology?
“Since I got involved more than 10 years ago, the process has changed a lot. As technology shrinks in size and all tech becomes smaller and better, the repair process has also became significantly harder. Today, most board level work is done through microscopes and is far removed from the beginner level repairs that I got into in 2007.”
When comparing a repair on the original iPod in your dormroom, to the most complex device of today, what thoughts do you have?
“Today’s devices are far more complex than those old iPods. The amount of technology being packed into every year’s new device is growing exponentially. Also, now you have features such as Touch ID and Face ID which utilise biometrics for security. The risks involved in working on these are huge.”
When you started, iPods were your main devices to repair, you then went to smartphones, and now even handle DJI drones. What do you think is next for the after-market repair market?
“The after-market repair market will continue to evolve. Everything is getting ‘smart’. Smart-homes, TVs, kettles, cars, bikes etc. Everything is being connected to the web and is developing low-level intelligence. Together with this comes opportunities to repair as we are just as, if not more reliant, on this tech now more than ever. But whilst ‘smart’ tech is in our mortal hands, there will always be a market for repair.”
What do you miss about working on the old iPods of yesteryear?
“I miss seeing the smile on the client’s faces when you’ve helped them. Back then, it was just me and client’s really appreciated if you’d helped them. Our techs often still receive recognition from clients, but I hardly get the chance to see it on a daily basis anymore.”
From a repairers perspective, are there a lot of challenges when trying to keep up with the constant-evolving technology of brands?
“Yeah, 100%. You need to constantly stay up to date with the latest in tech solutions.”
With video tutorials and DIY repair manuals now readily available to consumers via the internet, what’s the game-changer when taking in your device to weFix the game-changer?
“You can learn anything on the internet and YouTube. From plumbing, to building, to coding to repairing your phone. But just because I can learn plumbing on Youtube, it doesn’t mean I’m going to attempt to try and do my own plumbing. Having the resource online is great, but I would still not advise anyone that is non-technical to open one of these devices. The chances of self-damage is too big.”
How has the outlooks of the manufacturers themselves (Apple, Samsung etc) towards third-party repairs, and specifically weFix, changed over the years?
“The manufacturers have definitely ‘friendly-ed’ up to weFix. Unfortunately, I think this is primarily due to our size now and not because a change of approach from their side. However, we try and maintain good relationships all round.”