updated 09:40 am EST, Thu November 7, 2013
Plan should save time, money for Apple
Apple will soon start offering in-store repairs for the iPhone 5s and 5c, sources say. The people explain that clerks will soon be able to replace several individual parts of the phones, instead of having to simply hand someone a new unit. To deal with the complexity of replacing a touchscreen, Apple Stores will reportedly get special machines needed to calibrate displays. Clerks will also be able to replace parts like volume buttons, vibration motors, speakers, and even the rear camera; only the 5c's button is expected to be replaceable, however, since it's believed that the 5s' Touch ID sensor may be too complicated.
As usual, if a device is covered under AppleCare, repairs for defects will be free. If an iPhone is out of warranty though there will be out-of-pocket fees for each individual part that needs swapping. A new battery will cost $79, for example, while a 5c's home button will be $29. A new screen will be about $149.
A screen replacement should typically last an hour, but could be as short as 30 minutes in some cases. Either would be considerably shorter than the time needed resync and/or replace content on a new iPhone.
Apple has been performing in-store screen replacements for the iPhone 5 for several months. This saves both Apple and customers time and money; even wholesale an iPhone costs several hundred dollars to replace, ignoring factors like shipping and labor. Parts, calibration machines, and manuals for the 5s and 5c are reportedly arriving at some Apple Stores already, hinting that the expanded repair program will launch shortly.