Of course you could already go to an independent shop to fix your iPhone's smashed display or replace your battery, but under the new program, all independent repair shops - no matter how big or small - will have access to genuine Apple parts, as well as the same tools, training, repair manuals and diagnostics as Apple Authorised Service Providers.
According to Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer: "When a repair is needed, a customer should have confidence the repair is done right. We believe the safest and most reliable repair is one handled by a trained technician using genuine parts that have been properly engineered and rigorously tested."
Independent repair shops won't have to pay to be part of the new program, but they will have to have an Apple-certified technician within their business to perform repairs.
If they are part of the program, an independent repair shop will still be able to offer a choice between a third-party part and a genuine Apple part to fix your device, presumably with a price difference too, but at least the choice of a genuine part will be there for you to choose if you want it.
When a genuine Apple part is used, Apple requires the independent repair shop to return the core failed part to Apple in order for it to be responsibly recycled.
The new repair program will launch in the US initially but Apple plans to expand it to other countries.