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Old May 23, 2013, 09:38 AM   #1
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Apple's Tight Control Over Components Keeping iPhone 5 Repair Costs High




MarketWatch takes a look at the state of the repair industry for the iPhone 5, noting that costs for display replacements remain very high eight months after the device's launch in the United States. The report points to Apple's tight control over components as being the major contributor to high costs, even as the device's new design makes it simpler to replace the display than on previous models.
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There is a tight control on iPhone 5 components in the market, [repair firm iCracked founder AJ] Forsythe says. "Market forces determine the price," he says. "Apple sells about 300,000 iPhones a day and, as the repair market grows, prices will get lower."

"Apple controls everything from the manufacturing to the gear for the iPhone 5," says Jeff Haynes, editor at deal site TechBargains.com. As the iPhone 5 is larger than the 4, the cost for replacement parts rises, he says.
The display is the most frequently cited repair item on the iPhone, given the frequency with which users break the glass front of the device, and it is also the most costly component.

For the iPhone 4S, repair firm iFixit currently sells the display assembly for $95, with users needing to follow a difficult 37-step guide to perform the repair. On the iPhone 5, iFixit is charging $200 for the corresponding part, with the white version not even available at this time. But for those who can get their hands on the part, the replacement process requires only a 23-step guide judged "moderate" in difficulty.

The report notes that many repair firms have even not yet begun offering iPhone 5 display replacements, due to both the shortage of parts in the market and the high costs. Apple itself frequently performs repairs by swapping out the user's device, then putting the damaged device through a refurbishment process and reselling it at a discounted price.

Recognizing the prevalence of accidental damage issues with its mobile devices, Apple rolled out an AppleCare+ extended warranty plan alongside the iPhone 4S in October 2011. The $99 plan extends warranty coverage to two years and includes coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage with $49 deductibles. The plan is not, however, universally available throughout Apple's global sales footprint yet.

Apple is said to be planning to revamp its AppleCare offerings later this year, with Apple reportedly moving to perform more repairs on iPhones rather than simply swapping them out. The company is also said to be transitioning AppleCare into a subscription agreement that would cover multiple devices owned by a customer, rather than having to purchase coverage separately for each device.

Article Link: Apple's Tight Control Over Components Keeping iPhone 5 Repair Costs High
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Old May 23, 2013, 09:42 AM   #2
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Never shattered/cracked the glass on any of my iPhones *touchwood*
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Old May 23, 2013, 09:48 AM   #3
brucku
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The $95 cost for the 4s screen is high (you are reflecting a popular retailer with their markup) just for clarity - I have a Chinese supplier that sells parts to many of the biggest online retailers (I have heard ifixit is among them but I can not confirm)

My supplier sells the 4S screens at $23 a piece with a reasonable quantity minimum. From the same supplier, the iPhone 5 part is $150. There is such a huge difference in cost that it is forcing repair places to lower their margins, this is also why many places are not doing repairs.
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Old May 23, 2013, 09:49 AM   #4
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AppleCare + accidental damage cover = I don't care if it costs a lot to repair
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Old May 23, 2013, 09:50 AM   #5
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Why would you pay $200 to ifixit when you could just pay $229 to Apple?

And it's and off-warranty fix so it doesn't matter if you have a warranty or not.

Ifixit seems incredibly overpriced, I think it was last year I noticed they were charging $39 for a 4S back when Apple only charged $29.
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Old May 23, 2013, 09:51 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by acorntoy View Post
Why would you pay $200 to ifixit when you could just pay $229 to Apple?
I think that's a large part of why Apple is doing this. They would rather be in control of repairs.
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Old May 23, 2013, 09:52 AM   #7
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Is there any reason why Apple still clings to the "non-removable" battery concept while nearly every other phone allows user access to the battery?
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Old May 23, 2013, 09:52 AM   #8
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More screen real estate + thinner display tech = more costly replacement
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Old May 23, 2013, 09:55 AM   #9
acorntoy
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Originally Posted by quickmac View Post
Is there any reason why Apple still clings to the "non-removable" battery concept while nearly every other phone allows user access to the battery?
What year are you in? :-P

Lately Samsung has pretty much been the only manufacturer to let you access the battery, other phone makers are moving away from it.
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Old May 23, 2013, 09:55 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by quickmac View Post
Is there any reason why Apple still clings to the "non-removable" battery concept while nearly every other phone allows user access to the battery?
Can't think of any, but I don't really see a big need to remove the battery anyways. Even if a few batteries fail or need to be replaced, I don't think it's enough to justify making it removable.

I might be wrong but why would you want a removable battery?
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Old May 23, 2013, 09:56 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by acorntoy View Post
Why would you pay $200 to ifixit when you could just pay $229 to Apple?

And it's and off-warranty fix so it doesn't matter if you have a warranty or not.

Ifixit seems incredibly overpriced, I think it was last year I noticed they were charging $39 for a 4S back when Apple only charged $29.
Not to mention to replace the back it is literally only popping out to two screws sliding the back off putting a new one on and tightening down the screws.

I have replaced a number of front screens for iPhone 4s and iPhone 4. Most of the time it cost me just around $30 for the replacement compared to a $200 charge from Apple for a non apple component.

Overall the markups in the repair industry or from Apple itself is exhorted in way overpriced. Anyone with even minor technical knowledge can do most of repairs themselves
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Old May 23, 2013, 09:59 AM   #12
Four oF NINE
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So how will this translate to the iPhone 5S ?
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Old May 23, 2013, 10:03 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by bjsterilite View Post
Can't think of any, but I don't really see a big need to remove the battery anyways. Even if a few batteries fail or need to be replaced, I don't think it's enough to justify making it removable.

I might be wrong but why would you want a removable battery?
So you can boast about it, that's all the Sammy lot seem to do.
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Old May 23, 2013, 10:06 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by acorntoy View Post
Why would you pay $200 to ifixit when you could just pay $229 to Apple?

And it's and off-warranty fix so it doesn't matter if you have a warranty or not.

Ifixit seems incredibly overpriced, I think it was last year I noticed they were charging $39 for a 4S back when Apple only charged $29.
I paid eur100 to fix my shattered iP4 front with a generic (in greece, off warranty phone anyway)
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Old May 23, 2013, 10:09 AM   #15
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ifixit is a horrible example. They sell the same non-oem part from china that you find on ebay. 95 bucks for the same 27-30 dollar part on ebay.

I love their guides but have only ever bought one thing from there (and I realize I overpaid).
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Old May 23, 2013, 10:09 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acorntoy View Post
Why would you pay $200 to ifixit when you could just pay $229 to Apple?
$149 if you are lucky enough to find a store that can do display only. According to my source it's a pilot repair not that the engineers have sorted out what issues are display and what's the logic board.

If its damage there is a possibility they might refuse a display only if the enclosure is damaged but seems to me that that is rare and its just the screen is cracked to hell.

Takes about a hour for them to do cause according to my source they test all the iPhone 5's post replacement on this 'ugly ass machine' to make sure it's properly calibrated and the multitouch is working. And that's 20 minutes right there.
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Old May 23, 2013, 10:11 AM   #17
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I shield the screen of my iPhone 5 with the back side of my Driod Razr Maxx. I can get just the glass for the Maxx for $24 or less. And the iPhone is in a huge OtterBox. I am concerned.

When will we have iOS Hackinphones? Love the OS. Dislike the expensive to repair hardware.
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Old May 23, 2013, 10:26 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by lordofthereef View Post
I think that's a large part of why Apple is doing this. They would rather be in control of repairs.
The price isn't the only factor in that desire. The whole terms and conditions and flagging that the phone was ever messed with is about keeping repairs under their control since folks look to them to warranty the devices. They won't and don't have to warranty something that isn't all Apple parts. Especially when the installation of said part means screwing around with the whole phone.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by quickmac View Post
Is there any reason why Apple still clings to the "non-removable" battery concept while nearly every other phone allows user access to the battery?
To give you a bigger battery. If they don't have to allow you to remove the battery then they don't have to include a mechanism for it to pop out nor do they have to include a hard shell that adds bulk so you don't pierce the soft cell and cause a thermal event that could be hazardous if not deadly. Lithium batteries can explode if the lithium mixes with a large amount of oxygen. At least smoke and fume with a smaller amount. By restricting removal to trained techs in a safety room, they can use that same space to give you more battery

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When will we have iOS Hackinphones?
If you know what you are doing you could likely make one now
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Old May 23, 2013, 10:33 AM   #19
lordofthereef
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Originally Posted by charlituna View Post
The price isn't the only factor in that desire. The whole terms and conditions and flagging that the phone was ever messed with is about keeping repairs under their control since folks look to them to warranty the devices. They won't and don't have to warranty something that isn't all Apple parts. Especially when the installation of said part means screwing around with the whole phone.
So did you miss the part where I said this is a large part of the reason?

I get that they don't want to warranty non Apple parts. That is perfectly fair. In a pc, if I replace my hard drive, they can't claim no warranty on a cpu, right? Likewise, if I replace a screen on an iPhone 5, and my ram kicks the bucket, I shouldn't be held responsible, IMO, for that part. I realize the difference here lies in the manufacturing process, size of components, and the very real fact that by taking this intricate and compact piece of tech apart, I very well may have damaged the product myself. But my point still remains. Most companies will still RMD a cpus, gnu, ram, etc. even if the damage is due to the user (ie static shock) as a sign of good faith and standing behind their product. Apple chooses not to do this, however neither do any other mobile handset makers, so I give credit where credit is due. Apple still is the best in the business when it comes to mobile handset warranties and repairs IMO. But that doesn't mean it couldn't be improved.
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Old May 23, 2013, 10:35 AM   #20
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This is Apple forcing obsolescence and/or forcing repairs through their cost and revenue structure. You can see them going back in this direction with their Mac lines and this could be devastating to their Mac business. In a notebook or desktop computer, a minimum of Drive and Memory replacement is expected to keep a system from going obsolete within a couple years. Personally the line I draw is when they solder the memory to the $1500 logic board, I am "OUT". If they pursue this path, I can't see myself buying future Mac computers.

The dark days of Mac was when they were proprietary. They might have a bit of an ego as a result of iPad/iPod/iPhone success and as other solutions become on par or better, they might be in trouble. The wave is has crested and their stock shows it....
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Old May 23, 2013, 10:45 AM   #21
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Dislike the expensive to repair hardware.
Then don't drop it. Sounds silly, but it is all it takes - not to drop. Just like any other expensive and fragile device (a watch, mp3 player, hard drive and so on) some of those devices aren't even repairable.

I dropped my 4S once and i was lucky it firts landed on my sports bag and then slided on tile floor. No harm done, but if there was i'd only blame myself.
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Old May 23, 2013, 10:48 AM   #22
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Then don't drop it. Sounds silly, but it is all it takes - not to drop. Just like any other expensive and fragile device (a watch, mp3 player, hard drive and so on) some of those devices aren't even repairable.

I dropped my 4S once and i was lucky it firts landed on my sports bag and then slided on tile floor. No harm done, but if there was i'd only blame myself.
"Then don't drop it"

"it is all it takes - not to drop"

"I dropped my 4S once"



These things happen by accident, and accidents happen. What you said is as useful as telling someone to not crash their car.
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Old May 23, 2013, 10:51 AM   #23
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In a notebook or desktop computer, a minimum of Drive and Memory replacement is expected to keep a system from going obsolete within a couple years. Personally the line I draw is when they solder the memory to the $1500 logic board, I am "OUT". If they pursue this path, I can't see myself buying future Mac computers.
I completely understand the sentiment. With SSDs assuming adequate capacity, the driver thing may be less of an issue for some users. With ram it's annoying. At least in the 15" you can order it cto. Unfortunately it costs more. Ram has gone back up recently, but at some point it will be $50-70 for 16GB as opposed to the $200 Apple charges. 32 will never happen in the current macbook pros. The people who mention it fail to understand that it applies only to notebooks that can take 4 sodimms. I suspect 16GB sticks won't make it to sodimm form factor prior to DDR4. I've got a Samsung 830 512GB in my macbook pro. If the rMBP would use something like mSATA and cto ram prices stay within $200 or so (currently about a $100 premium) I could personally live with it.
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Old May 23, 2013, 11:04 AM   #24
Walter White
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Originally Posted by Jsameds View Post
"Then don't drop it"

"it is all it takes - not to drop"

"I dropped my 4S once"



These things happen by accident, and accidents happen. What you said is as useful as telling someone to not crash their car.
I know that accidents happen, but if i was to judge from the time i've spent in the US then it's more carelessness than anything else. You people don't appreciate what you have. Just watch youtube unboxing, reviews and so on. Piles of stuff all around, dropping, throwing and so on.

That's the picture i saw in my 6 months there.
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Old May 23, 2013, 11:05 AM   #25
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AppleCare + accidental damage cover = I don't care if it costs a lot to repair
And you probably think that you are the smart one. You are doing exactly what Apple wants you to do. I am pretty sure that they make sure that component prices stay high thus forcing people to buy two insurance policies for a single device. Woul'd not it be better if you did not need to buy this CrappleCare and instead was covered for one year with regular warranty and occasionally payed, say, $50 for replacing a broken screen? That's what people who buy normal phones do.
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