Big changes coming to AppleCare this fall: warranty subscriptions, in-store iOS device repairs, more

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
In a town hall session held on Thursday, Apple informed tech staff that major changes to the AppleCare and AppleCare+ service programs will be enacted starting this fall, with a broadening of current policies likely to cut costs and make the service more attractive to consumers.

AppleCare


The town hall session was led by Apple Vice President Tara Bunch, who revealed a set of after sales policy shifts would soon be rolling out across the U.S., and eventually the world, with many of the changes referred to under the "One Apple" brand, said a person familiar with the matter. While Bunch was referred to as Vice President of AppleCare, AppleInsider cannot confirm this assertion. On her LinkedIn page, Bunch lists her current job as simply "Vice President at Apple," but it is known that she was previously vice president of Global Customer Support Operations at Hewlett-Packard prior to joining Apple in 2012.

As for the "One Apple" moniker, it is unclear if the term is an internal designation for the vast restructuring about to take place, or is intended to become a consumer mark once the new changes are in place.

"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. In addition, employees will have access to advanced diagnostics tools that can remotely assess hardware issues and relay the data directly to technicians, allowing for quicker turnaround times.

The new in-house repairs are to be rolled out across the U.S., with international support coming online soon thereafter. Bunch reportedly said Apple expects to save nearly $1 billion per year with the change in policy.

In another huge departure, Apple will reportedly reconfigure its paid AppleCare service as a subscription model, or introduce a new tier, which will be attached to a customer rather than a specific product. Under the proposed system, a customer is entitled to in-store training similar to the One to One program available to new Mac buyers, with each device owned being covered by the warranty. The new AppleCare may also include "exclusive" 24/7 support, though that has not been confirmed as a full set of features and pricing is not yet etched in stone.

Gratis after sales coverage is also slated for an update, and will move over to a new system where phone support will persist for at least an entire year, with possible two-year support offered in the future. Apple currently offers 90 days of free phone support without buying the add-on AppleCare plan. Online support, knowledge base articles, online live chats and Genius Bar visits will continue to be free.

AppleCare Terms
Apple's current term limitations for after sales coverage and service for AppleCare+ for iPhone.


Apple is also looking to grow its home advisor team, which currently consists of over 4,200 technical advisors who work from home instead of an office, approximately double the number from one year ago. The program is meant to cut overhead costs and provide for a larger pool of potential employees.

Finally, the person said Apple's online resources will see an overhaul in the coming months as the company is working to expand its current offerings to include support over iMessage and a revamp of the Support Pages website, which is expected to focus on interactive tutorials and video content. Unsurprisingly, the Web-based enhancements will be optimized for both computer and iOS device perusal.

In addition, Apple personnel will begin to take a more active role in the discussion boards, helping to answer questions, consolidating threads and performing general maintenance.

Most of the changes mentioned above will roll out by fall if all goes according to plan. AppleInsider has reached out to Apple for comment and will update this article upon receiving a response.

Update: In a follow-up correspondence, the person briefed on Apple's upcoming changes pointed out that in-store repairs would also be a plus for those customers whose products are no longer under warranty. Instead of paying a universal "swap out" fee, out of warranty hardware issues will be fixed on a per device basis. Apple has reportedly deployed advanced in-store repairs at select locations, with customer response being largely positive.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 70
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Ooh, ran it through Live Trace, did we? Is there a problem with using the copywritten images proper? I kind of like the effect it creates, if not this particular outcome. 


     


    Anyway, this is great. One of the concerns with Apple's rapid growth over the past decade is keeping up its level of customer service, and while that hadn't even shown up to be a problem, it's good to know that Apple just keeps improving it!

  • Reply 2 of 70
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    As neat and painless as it is to walk out with a swapped iPhone in 30 seconds, this sounds more efficient/less wasteful. Less wasted fuel, fewer wasted parts... and no need to restore your old iPhone's contents to the new one. Waiting for an in-store repair (while you wait, hopefully) may take longer at first--but less pain in the end.
  • Reply 3 of 70
    adrayvenadrayven Posts: 460member
    Mixed feelings on the warranty subscription.. Per account, rather than per device. Hmmmmm..

    1) how much.. that will determine a lot for me.

    2) If I had 1 year left on my iPhone, and sold it, that was a bonus for the buyer and let me get a little more out of it.. I wont be able to do that if this comes true. :(
  • Reply 4 of 70
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,438member
    Thanks Bunch!
  • Reply 5 of 70
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,116member


    These sound like these could be positive changes in general, both for Apple and the consumer. We'll see. 

  • Reply 6 of 70
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Yea to a subscription model that is tied to the consumer and not the device. Hopefully it's not too expensive.
  • Reply 7 of 70
    gijoeinlagijoeinla Posts: 213member
    Funny, but I wrote Tim Cook a email a couple of months back that asked if warranties for my Apple devices could be tracked and renewed, extended or whatever through itunes instead of it being pitched when I'm calling for support.

    I own so many Apple products that I'm totally down for a blanket plan.

    Makes so much sense, I think these changes are all positive news for customers and the ecosystem...
  • Reply 8 of 70
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post



    As neat and painless as it is to walk out with a swapped iPhone in 30 seconds, this sounds more efficient/less wasteful. Less wasted fuel, fewer wasted parts... and no need to restore your old iPhone's contents to the new one. Waiting for an in-store repair (while you wait, hopefully) may take longer at first--but less pain in the end.


     


    It is quicker the current way, but it has it's drawbacks even for the end user.  I've had some kind of manufacturing defect on every iPhone I've ever bought so I've had the experience of replacing each one of them (one model twice!), and it's not the rose garden many make it out to be.  On top of the fact that you're $900.00 phone is being replaced with a much cheaper refurbished product (a rip-off in and of itself), there are often problems with the refurbished phone having information in it that ties it to the previous owner.  


     


    My current iPhone for example had the previous owners AppleID associated with it (even though it was supposedly completely wiped, refurbished and "new" in it's refurbished box), and their home phone number as well.  This has happened to me several times, so it's not just a one off either.  Up until the iPhone 5, this has never been a big deal, but with the 5, I still to this day have a lot of problems with iTunes in that the ownership of the media on my devices is always in question because somehow Apple's servers don't really "believe" that the phone is mine now.  Lots of times my music won't play for instance even though I bought it right on the device with my own Apple ID.  


     


    Also, on the initial setup, the ownership of my media was so mixed up, that I had to manually delete all the media off the device and then put it back on item by item.  This process took over 2 days to do.  Just because some goon at an Apple store gave me a refurbished device that wasn't properly prepared (in some unexplainable inscrutable way).  


     


    I think they should skate a little closer to the law on this one and they wouldn't have so many problems and pissed of customers.  If a brand new iPhone, bought off contract for the full price, and it has manufacturers defects, it's 100% wrong of Apple to replace it with refurbished junk of lesser quality and value.  It's also technically illegal (at least in my country) if anyone has the money and the time to take them to court over it, or fix the problem in store if they can.  


     


    On the flip side however, a part of the reason my experience is so bad, is Apple is far too lenient on most users in terms of AppleCare and repairs.  I know people who have got two or three phone replacements for issues that were of their own making.  IMO instead of trying to make every cheapskate loser in the world happy and screwing over the customers they have that actually pay for their products, they should be nicer to folks like me and a little less nice to those abusing the current system.  

  • Reply 9 of 70
    rogifan wrote: »
    Yea to a subscription model that is tied to the consumer and not the device. Hopefully it's not too expensive.
    Be nice if they offer deals to consumers with multiple old & new purchases, that would add an extra layer of stickiness for Apple
  • Reply 10 of 70
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Ooh, ran it through Live Trace, did we? Is there a problem with using the copywritten images proper? I kind of like the effect it creates, if not this particular outcome. 


     


    Anyway, this is great. One of the concerns with Apple's rapid growth over the past decade is keeping up its level of customer service, and while that hadn't even shown up to be a problem, it's good to know that Apple just keeps improving it!



     


    I'm not sure why anyone would think it wasn't okay to show a picture of the actual box.  Perhaps this is someone's idea of "Art"?


     


    Since I always enjoy breaking the law ...


     



     


    there!

  • Reply 11 of 70
    tkell31tkell31 Posts: 216member


    Sounds great to save 1 billion a year, but who the heck was in charge before this change?  I could understand some fine tuning saving a few bucks, but for a billion dollars someone should be getting canned.


     


    That being said I have nothing, but positive experiences in dealing with Apple's customer service unlike about 90% of the companies I deal with.

  • Reply 12 of 70
    irelandireland Posts: 17,549member
    gazoobee wrote: »
    It is quicker the current way, but it has it's drawbacks even for the end user.  I've had some kind of manufacturing defect on every iPhone I've ever bought so I've had the experience of replacing each one of them (one model twice!), and it's not the rose garden many make it out to be.  On top of the fact that you're $900.00 phone is being replaced with a much cheaper refurbished product (a rip-off in and of itself), there are often problems with the refurbished phone having information in it that ties it to the previous owner.  

    My current iPhone for example had the previous owners AppleID associated with it (even though it was supposedly completely wiped, refurbished and "new" in it's refurbished box), and their home phone number as well.  This has happened to me several times, so it's not just a one off either.  Up until the iPhone 5, this has never been a big deal, but with the 5, I still to this day have a lot of problems with iTunes in that the ownership of the media on my devices is always in question because somehow Apple's servers don't really "believe" that the phone is mine now.  Lots of times my music won't play for instance even though I bought it right on the device with my own Apple ID.  

    Also, on the initial setup, the ownership of my media was so mixed up, that I had to manually delete all the media off the device and then put it back on item by item.  This process took over 2 days to do.  Just because some goon at an Apple store gave me a refurbished device that wasn't properly prepared (in some unexplainable inscrutable way).  

    I think they should skate a little closer to the law on this one and they wouldn't have so many problems and pissed of customers.  If a brand new iPhone, bought off contract for the full price, and it has manufacturers defects, it's 100% wrong of Apple to replace it with refurbished junk of lesser quality and value.  It's also technically illegal (at least in my country) if anyone has the money and the time to take them to court over it, or fix the problem in store if they can.  

    On the flip side however, a part of the reason my experience is so bad, is Apple is far too lenient on most users in terms of AppleCare and repairs.  I know people who have got two or three phone replacements for issues that were of their own making.  IMO instead of trying to make every cheapskate loser in the world happy and screwing over the customers they have that actually pay for their products, they should be nicer to folks like me and a little less nice to those abusing the current system.  

    Wowzer.
  • Reply 13 of 70
    irelandireland Posts: 17,549member
    tkell31 wrote: »
    Sounds great to save 1 billion a year, but who the heck was in charge before this change?  I could understand some fine tuning saving a few bucks, but for a billion dollars someone should be getting canned.

    Apple doesn't work like other companies. I'd rather they didn't save that billion so all of us customers get a new product handed to us saving precious time, and not being without your device for long, but this change was all but inevitable.

    Your comment reminded me of the guy who said as a shareholder he was angry that Apple is spending $60,000 per fully grown tree they are having planted on the new campus park grounds and would rather Apple save all those millions and bring in young trees instead. The bigger picture, though, is 13,000 Apple employees seeing all of those big trees as soon as the campus is open, and having a mature looking pasture to inspire them. This may sound sentimental, but it's that thinking that misses the point. The most important people who work at Apple are the creative people, and they, above everyone, need stuff like this to function right. I know I personally get very inspired when I'm in nature, and I especially have a thing for big trees. One good idea from one of those people could easily pay for all of those trees many times over. An idea which may have been a product of the inspiration those very trees provided, and overall the work at Apple would be better as a result. This is what gets missed if you just look at the numbers.
  • Reply 14 of 70
    aussiepaulaussiepaul Posts: 144member
    Maybe they can invest that billion saved into making products more sturdy and reliable?
  • Reply 15 of 70
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by aussiepaul View Post

    Maybe they can invest that billion saved into making products more sturdy and reliable?


     


    Maybe. If that was needed. But it isn't.

  • Reply 16 of 70
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Finally! This is one area that Apple not only excels but can push the envelope even further without the competition being able to follow suit. Peace of mind goes a long way when determining user satisfaction and by extension getting a repeat customer.

    nagromme wrote: »
    As neat and painless as it is to walk out with a swapped iPhone in 30 seconds, this sounds more efficient/less wasteful. Less wasted fuel, fewer wasted parts... and no need to restore your old iPhone's contents to the new one. Waiting for an in-store repair (while you wait, hopefully) may take longer at first--but less pain in the end.

    When you factor in time to restore a device from iCloud over Apple's fast internet connection an on-site repair might be faster.
  • Reply 17 of 70
    tkell31tkell31 Posts: 216member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post





    Apple doesn't work like other companies. I'd rather they didn't save that billion so all of us customers get a new product handed to us saving precious time, and not being without your device for long, but this change was all but inevitable.



    Your comment reminded me of the guy who said as a shareholder he was angry that Apple is spending $60,000 per fully grown tree they are having planted on the new campus park grounds and would rather Apple save all those millions and bring in young trees instead. The bigger picture, though, is 13,000 Apple employees seeing all of those big trees as soon as the campus is open, and having a mature looking pasture to inspire them. This may sound sentimental, but it's that thinking that misses the point. The most important people who work at Apple are the creative people, and they, above everyone, need stuff like this to function right. I know I personally get very inspired when I'm in nature, and I especially have a thing for big trees. One good idea from one of those people could easily pay for all of those trees many times over. An idea which may have been a product of the inspiration those very trees provided, and overall the work at Apple would be better as a result. This is what gets missed if you just look at the numbers.


    You are on drugs right now right?  I mean, I just want to confirm your "tree" theory of inspiration is the product of some chemical reaction and not an actual drug free thought. 


     


    That being said what the heck does one have to do with the other?  The trees are a one time cost and the other is a repeatable expense.  Further, one has to do with an individual customer the other some crazy idea that trees will someone inspire the next revolutionary device.  You realize how crazy you sound right?  Anyhow, your analogy is way off base.  But now that you mention it, it is insane paying 60K per tree, when they could probably pay $250 for young trees to be planted.  How about a mix at least?


     


    Anyhow, enjoy your bud if you think people are getting inspired by "mature" trees rather than young growing ones.  If anything the young ones would be symbolic of growth and change, the old, mature trees symbolic of..well maturity and stagnation.

  • Reply 18 of 70
    tkell31tkell31 Posts: 216member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post





    Apple doesn't work like other companies. I'd rather they didn't save that billion so all of us customers get a new product handed to us saving precious time, and not being without your device for long, but this change was all but inevitable.



    Your comment reminded me of the guy who said as a shareholder he was angry that Apple is spending $60,000 per fully grown tree they are having planted on the new campus park grounds and would rather Apple save all those millions and bring in young trees instead. The bigger picture, though, is 13,000 Apple employees seeing all of those big trees as soon as the campus is open, and having a mature looking pasture to inspire them. This may sound sentimental, but it's that thinking that misses the point. The most important people who work at Apple are the creative people, and they, above everyone, need stuff like this to function right. I know I personally get very inspired when I'm in nature, and I especially have a thing for big trees. One good idea from one of those people could easily pay for all of those trees many times over. An idea which may have been a product of the inspiration those very trees provided, and overall the work at Apple would be better as a result. This is what gets missed if you just look at the numbers.


    Hey, even better idea, how about have the employees plant their own trees?  Save some $ and everyone could be inspired by their own growing tree.  But thanks for the laugh.

  • Reply 19 of 70
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,205member
    The device repairs things isn't new. I've taken in 10 iPhones over six weeks and 8 of them had part repairs not swaps. And 3 in Cali, 5 in various other states

    And I doubt that whole 'apple care by the person not the serial' cause that would be a legal nightmare. But I do buy the notion of extending phone support cause I bet a lot of issues could be fixed over the phone probably more than have to be in a store. So a full year of phone support makes it easier to make folks have to call first and tests etc can be done be ready for the in store folks to do the repairs/swaps. Folks have have no reason not be backed up cause the phone person walked them through it, restores can be over the phone. They will know warranty status so no more of the yelling and cussing at the poor tech like I saw a couple of days ago.
  • Reply 20 of 70
    macbook promacbook pro Posts: 1,605member
    tkell31 wrote: »
    Hey, even better idea, how about have the employees plant their own trees?  Save some $ and everyone could be inspired by their own growing tree.  But thanks for the laugh.

    I am fairly certain that statutes mandate that any tree which is displaced or removed must be replaced by a like tree. In fact, here is the reference.
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