iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus successfully launched last week with some decent hardware improvements including a water resistant body, improved camera resolution, 256GB capacity and promised to change the headset market with funny looking wireless earbuds dubbed “AirPods”.
Improvements across the board grabbed headlines while Apple’s concurrent announcement about their new “crack friendly” AppleCare+ protection probably failed to get the attention it deserved.
For only $29, will Apple’s new plan finally give users prone to cracking their screens an affordable option that successfully converts?
Regardless, the move is Applecare’s 3rd consecutive release that reduces consumers total cost for fixing users cracked screens.
Applecare+ Plan Details
Users till have to purchase AppleCare+ when they first purchase the device or within 60 days if they bring it back to a Genius Bar.
- The plan cost $129 for iPhone 7 and $149 for iPhone 7 Plus
- Covers predecessors iPhone 6s and 6s Plus for the same cost ($129/$149).
- Those with existing Applecare+ plans are also covered.
- Covers 2 claims of accidental damage subject to a $29 service fee for cracked screens and $99 for everything else.
- A $6.95 charge will be added for shipping cost if not taken directly to an authorized Apple Store.
This is significantly less than the previous $99 screen replacement fee for newer models and $79 for older devices.
Previous Plan vs New Plan
Let’s compare previous and new costs of AppleCare+ with both the latest and previously released models.
Values of the actual devices change overtime so let’s look at it from a percentage standpoint.
- It’s now 30% cheaper to repair the latest models cracked screen.
- Users with AppleCare+ will pay a total of $158 to get their cracked screen fixed.
- Users prone to cracking their screen have an average all in cost of $94/repair after the 2nd fix.
- All of the above numbers include the upfront cost of the protection plan and the deductible.
Screen repair only repairs remain the same cost for devices out of warranty.
- $149 – 7+ and 6/6s+ models.
- $129 – 7, 6, 6s, 5/5s/5c and SE models.
While the price is the same, repair cost price points are strained as replacement LCD screen costs seem to keep rising after each release.
Impact & Thoughts
Apple doesn’t seem to be heavily promoting this option outside of their direct channels. However, users that have paid out of pocket to Apple or 3rd Party repair shops for cracked screen repairs in the past are sure to reconsider purchasing AppleCare+ this time around. For those who don’t, out-of-warranty prices are still competitive when comparing the rising cost of a repairs from 3rd parties. It makes financial sense for those who frequently crack their screen and are willing to pay upfront.
It’s unclear yet if Apple’s cracked screen repair covers actual LCD defects or just a cracked touch screen. If it does, then repair shops will have a very difficult time competing on price for jobs where the old LCD can’t be recycled for cash.
Factories producing copy LCDs for i6/6+/6s/6s+ are resolving touch IC issues but won’t hit the market till November. Once they do, repair prices on these models will likely give 3rd party repair shops an advantage for the long term.
For i7/7+, repair price points will likely be strained for quite sometime and the key unknowns will be determined by how expensive i7/7+ replacement parts will initially cost and how much they depreciate over time.
Once again, Apple is clearly showing their growing intent to slowly and quietly profit from post-sale repair services.
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