updated 08:05 pm EST, Fri November 18, 2011
Previously had to be bought with handset
Marking a change in policy, Apple has updated the terms of its AppleCare+ iPhone warranty, now letting customers buy it within 30 days of the iPhone purchase rather than immediately. The change was reflected on the company's support page for AppleCare+, and brings the iPhone warranty closer in line with the Mac AppleCare policy, which encouraged but did not require buyers to add the extended warranty at the time of purchase.
The standard AppleCare plan extends the one-year warranty to an additional two years, and can be purchased at any time before the 364th day after purchase. Apple encourages customers to buy the AppleCare warranty for Macs within the first 90 days after purchase, as doing so extends telephone support through the full three years.
The AppleCare+ plan, which costs $99, also extends the original one-year warranty, but only to two years total. It was not originally available when the company began accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 4S, though early adopters later received an e-mailed offer from Apple allowing them to purchase the warranty until November 14th. Until now, that was the only way customers could delay purchasing the warranty add-on.
Customers who opt to delay getting the AppleCare+ plan must bring the iPhone back into a Genius Bar for inspection before they will be approved for the extended coverage, which adds coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage as well as the normal cases of manufacturer defect. The AppleCare+ warranty also includes telephone and Apple Retail Store support, including answering questions about the default Apple-included apps and connectivity issues between the iPhone and a Mac or PC.