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Old May 10, 2013, 05:47 PM   #1
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Apple to Update AppleCare with Subscription Service and In-Store Repair Options




Apple has some changes in store for its service and support program AppleCare, according to a report from AppleInsider.

The site claims Apple held a town hall session yesterday that outlined a number of changes to AppleCare that will soon be rolling out across the U.S. first, and then internationally at a later date.
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"The biggest announcement, was the way repairs for iPhones will be handled soon," the person, who asked not to be identified due to their active status as an Apple employee, told AppleInsider. "The way it is now, if almost anything is wrong with an iPhone, iPod, or iPad, the entire device is exchanged for a like-new re manufactured (sic) device, whether brought into an apple store or sent in for mail in repair. Now we are starting to actually repair the products and return the same device to the customer."

Currently, Apple Stores have the tools to replace speakers, receivers, home buttons, the vibrator motor and battery. Come June, capabilities will be expanded to display replacement, and by July cameras, sleep/wake buttons and logic boards will be dealt with in-store.
By replacing parts on defective iPhones instead of replacing the units entirely, Apple reportedly hopes to save $1 billion per year.

The site also says Apple will be changing its AppleCare service -- which currently attaches to individual devices, requiring customers to buy a new AppleCare plan for each computer and iOS device they purchase -- into a subscription service that will attach to a particular customer instead of a product. Apple's One to One program works in a similar manner.

The new subscription service could include "exclusive" 24/7 support, though AppleInsider notes that the feature set is not finalized yet and could still change. The complimentary support structure could be changing as well. Currently, Apple includes free phone support for 90 days with every product. The new AppleCare could extend that support to a year or more, and possibly include new live support options such as chat via iMessage.

No information on pricing was available, though the changes are supposed to be rolled out in the U.S. this fall.

The last big change to AppleCare was the introduction of AppleCare+ for iPhones and iPads.

Article Link: Apple to Update AppleCare with Subscription Service and In-Store Repair Options
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Old May 10, 2013, 05:49 PM   #2
monty77
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..oh dear. Another one of Apple's USPs dies a death. This will not end well :-(

One of my favourite things about Apple is if there was an issue with a product you could walk into a store and have it swapped out with minimum of fuss in no time at all. They've just lost their support differentiator IMO, how long until it's mail in repairs only?

Premium price will be born by the consumer, but only if there's a premium service to match.
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Old May 10, 2013, 05:52 PM   #3
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This doesn't sound too bad to me as long as the price is reasonable. One subscription to cover both my phone and computer, and any other product I buy? Sounds like a good idea.
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Old May 10, 2013, 05:53 PM   #4
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Apple... Ever heard the phrase "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"? (No pun intended.)

You have a great system in place. Don't change it.
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Old May 10, 2013, 05:55 PM   #5
Christian 5G
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Hmm interesting, as long as subscription price is not more than 15$ a month.
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Old May 10, 2013, 05:57 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by 1080p View Post
Apple... Ever heard the phrase "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"? (No pun intended.)

You have a great system in place. Don't change it.
While I agree with the sentiment. If Apple thinks it is going to save them $1 billion per year then Apple are going to do it.

It might not even affect people in the way that they think.
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Old May 10, 2013, 05:58 PM   #7
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In-store repair times would have to be pretty fast. It's not like I can go without my phone for a few days.
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Old May 10, 2013, 05:59 PM   #8
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It was so convenient the way it was. I exchanged my defective phone and I was out in 15 min...Now I would have to wait while it's being repaired and be without a phone? I don't see this going over too well with customers.

Last edited by ECUpirate44; May 10, 2013 at 06:41 PM.
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Old May 10, 2013, 05:59 PM   #9
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While I agree with the sentiment. If Apple thinks it is going to save them $1 billion per year then Apple are going to do it.

It might not even affect people in the way that they think.
So what do they do with the phones that they swap out? Trash them? No, they repair and then they become refurbished phones. So where does this $1bn saving come from exactly? Increased profit from new price structure?
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Old May 10, 2013, 06:00 PM   #10
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I'm honestly surprised they couldn't repair them piecemeal yet.

Subscription sounds interesting. If it covers all my apple products, then great! If I had to get a subscription for all (or even more than 1 set) of my products, no thanks.

I am slightly bummed I can't use applecare transfer as a selling point on old phones though.
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Old May 10, 2013, 06:00 PM   #11
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I think Apple mistakenly put a subscription service on AppleCare instead of iTunes.
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Old May 10, 2013, 06:00 PM   #12
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Well, as someone who worked doing phone support, the 1 year of phone support will be nice for the agents. It's difficult to explain to a customer why it's to their advantage to pay for AppleCare to answer a simple question after they spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on a product. Though, that is the job. There were some circumstances where I could tell the customer was already upset and I grimaced as I told them their support options.

It felt like I was inviting them to maul me. When the customer is upset, at that point it's like poking the bear. Especially if the issues are murky—whether it should go to iTunes support or not or whether there might be a hardware issue, in which case I would feel like advocating for the customer that a call for a warranty issue should not require paid phone support, but that was murky in terms of how it should be handled.

I know if Apple were reading this, they would say there were ways to handle those situations. And there are. And I am sure I'm not the best at what I did. There was very little training and I was working for a bottom-line-seeking contractor. But it can be hard to remember what you're allowed to do in the moment. But 1 year of phone support would be nice for customers, I think, and the agents. Less upselling and more support. There were so many exceptions for providing support anyway that it's kind of silly not to make it across the board (exceptions include an upset customer, a call transferred from a wireless carrier, etc.). The pain is each time you had an upset customer you have to get permission from a tier 2, which could require you holding on the line with the customer for a half hour or more during peak calls, which obviously isn't feasible, especially for your metrics.
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Old May 10, 2013, 06:02 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by monty77 View Post
So what do they do with the phones that they swap out? Trash them? No, they repair and then they become refurbished phones. So where does this $1bn saving come from exactly? Increased profit from new price structure?
I think the problem is that if someone's phone has visible signs of wear, that's no problem if you give it back to them in the same condition.

You can't however give someone's scratched device as a replacement for someone else.

That's why they have to go through the whole 'refurbishment' process which includes giving them a new case.
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Old May 10, 2013, 06:02 PM   #14
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great news! now i won't be confused be serial numbers when i get something fixed!
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Old May 10, 2013, 06:03 PM   #15
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That is the big issue - what will the wait time be? One hour? two? four? half day? tomorrow? Phones are important and you can't be without them for too long.

It will be interesting to see how the subscription model will change for Apple Care if it is tied to the individual. If I sell my device to another person, will he be able to take it in to an Apple store for an inspection and have it covered under Apple Care?
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Old May 10, 2013, 06:06 PM   #16
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Maybe this means that product design will evolve away from heavy, heavy (don't open it yourself) lockdown and toward more serviceable tech (maybe even more self-servicable tech)?

For the last few years, it seems Apple has been running hard toward the only WE can service your hardware model. There could be a positive in this for those of us with some skills at working on such things ourselves.

On the other hand, I wonder how much longer until corporations want to sell us subscriptions to stuff like air & water?

Last edited by HobeSoundDarryl; May 10, 2013 at 06:31 PM.
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Old May 10, 2013, 06:08 PM   #17
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terrible...
once something (laptop, phone, iPad, tablet, etc) is opened up, its never the same.
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Old May 10, 2013, 06:11 PM   #18
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It will be interesting to see how the subscription model will change for Apple Care if it is tied to the individual. If I sell my device to another person, will he be able to take it in to an Apple store for an inspection and have it covered under Apple Care?
Probably not. But they might be willing to sell him a subscription so that both you and he are flowing more money to Apple.

My suspicions are that this is a play to deal with those country (gov) actions around the world through which some countries made Apple change the terms of service by making it more favorable to consumers than Applecare as it has been. I wonder if this change "spins" them out of those requirements because they are no longer selling an extended warranty on a product but some kind of ongoing service subscription to individuals?
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Old May 10, 2013, 06:14 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by canucksfan88 View Post
terrible...
once something (laptop, phone, iPad, tablet, etc) is opened up, its never the same.
Not sure about that claim...but:

Quote:
"The way it is now, if almost anything is wrong with an iPhone, iPod, or iPad, the entire device is exchanged for a like-new re manufactured (sic) device...
Current replacements are not new either. So nothing changes except for the fact that repairs will be on in-store now.
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Old May 10, 2013, 06:14 PM   #20
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Applecare+ for the UK please!
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Old May 10, 2013, 06:15 PM   #21
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Hate to say it but this sounds like a pure money-making move, and not something intended to actually serve the customer.

Reduce repair costs, increase customer payouts with a perpetual subscription to extended warranties...

You're looking at a significant bump in revenue, while people now have to sit around waiting for their phones to be fixed.

Sounds like a total bean-counter move.
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Old May 10, 2013, 06:16 PM   #22
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Really not a fan of this at all.

If they can fix it on the spot... ie: less than an hour... I guess I can deal. But if I have to come back, that's awful - my Apple Store is about 45 minutes away in good traffic.

Also... what about AC+? If I shatter my screen do I still have to wait? That's stupid for $100+$50.
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Old May 10, 2013, 06:22 PM   #23
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So what do they do with the phones that they swap out? Trash them? No, they repair and then they become refurbished phones. So where does this $1bn saving come from exactly? Increased profit from new price structure?
Yeah, probably. My guess is that it's less "$1 bn in savings" and more like "$1 bn in new profits from customers' monthly insurance payments".
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Old May 10, 2013, 06:23 PM   #24
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I wouldn't mind the subscription if it can cover all Apple devices because I do own a lot of them.
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Old May 10, 2013, 06:24 PM   #25
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Thumbs down on in store repair. The cost of spiffing up their repair bench and hiring really skilled staff will surely offset savings. The current refurb approach appears to work well. Under the rumored system I can envision lines of people complaining about new scratches / dents on their repaired device - sounds like a bag of hurt to me.
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