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Apple has changed its policy, initially in the US, of swapping faulty iPhones for a new one – a move that will please some and anger others.

Apple’s previous policy was to swap faulty phones with a new or refurbished replacement – leave it to contract manufacturer Foxconn to fix the problem. It appears that honeymoon is over.

In April, iTWire reported that Apple had returned 8 million ‘faulty’ iPhones to Foxconn.

Foxconn’s relationship with Apple has been strained over this and other issues - it will no longer wear the cost of Apple’s generous, costly, customer focused, replacement program. Analysts report that it wants to levy a significant charge on Apple to repair any ‘non-manufacture’ defects.

It is no surprise that Apple have decided to introduce repair services for the 5c and 5s via its local Apple Stores.

According to 9to5Mac, Apple stores will each receive tools, parts and a jig – a kind of worktable - to allow it to open the device and replace screens, home buttons, batteries, volume buttons, vibrating motor, rear camera module, speaker, and the screen. Module replacement only requires a steady hand and some care – it is not rocket science.

The service will coincide with a renewed push for customers to take out AppleCare – AU$79 for an iPhone - a kind of insurance policy extending warranty to two years. Sales revenue from which goes straight to Apple’s bottom line.

Otherwise, the replacement prices seem pretty much in line with third party providers who use a variety of sources - mostly non-genuine - to obtain such parts. A new screen costs US$149 and battery AU$95.

Reaction in the US where this program has started has been mixed. Some say that it is a relief not to have to spend time in backup of data and settings and others say that they prefer to get a new shiny replacement.

Comment:

This article is based on US information. Prices and terms may vary in Australia. A Genius at my local Apple Store stated that it would be shortly be offering 5c/s and iPad repair services in store but could provide no additional information on how this affected its current replacement policy, its ERS (express replacement service) or AppleCare program.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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