Rumor: Apple Store Repair Service for New iPhones Coming Soon

Source: Apple.com

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will soon begin offering in-store repairs for the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C, according to unnamed sources cited by 9to5Mac. Apple Store employees will be trained to replace screens, batteries, volume buttons, speakers, vibrator motors, and rear cameras on both new iPhones. Although iPhone 5C owners will soon be able to get their home buttons replaced in-store, retail store employees will still not be able to repair the Touch ID home button found on the iPhone 5S.

According to 9to5Mac, screen replacements will be done using a special screen calibration machine that is being provided to Apple’s retail locations. Although screen replacements can take up to an hour to complete, the process is still less time-consuming than replacing the entire device since a user doesn’t have to also replace their iPhone content when only the screen is repaired.

As noted by All Things D, the latest hardware repair service is part of Apple’s larger in-store iPhone repair expansion that it began this summer. Previously, when a device was returned to an Apple Store, the customer was given a refurbished device in exchange. Now customers will be getting their original device returned to them after it is repaired in the Apple Store.

Although this new repair service is likely to save Apple money since it won’t have to supply as many iPhone replacements, it will also benefit the customer. Instead of paying a flat fee for a device replacement, customers will now pay a varying rate depending on what needs to be repaired. According to 9to5Mac, battery replacements will cost $79, iPhone 5C home button replacement will cost $29, and a screen replacement will cost $149. As always, part replacements due to defects will be free if the device is under AppleCare warranty.

Although Apple declined to comment on these rumors or provide a timetable for the new repair service, 9to5Mac’s insider sources reported that the training materials and screen calibration machines have already started arriving at various Apple Stores. This suggests that the expanded repair program will kick off any day now.

Apple’s expanded in-store repair services may also help the company reduce its overall warranty expenses. As reported by Chuck Jones at Forbes, Apple’s warranty accruals as a percentage of revenue unexpectedly rose to 3.7 percent in the September quarter from 2.1 percent in the June quarter. On the other hand, Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um noted that the increase in warranty expenses was unsurprising and was likely due to the “higher cost structures of products sold in FY2013 as well as the general increase in total installed base.” Here’s how Apple has traded over the past five trading sessions.

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