During last week’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” event, Apple introduced AppleCare+ for iPhone buyers. A $99 replacement for the previous $69 extended warranty plan. One of the appealing features to this plan included coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage , compared to the previous plan which didn’t cover any accidental damage. Furthermore, under the terms of the new plan, customers who experienced factory defects or problems with their devices, such as premature battery failure or issues with their headphones, would be covered for free for two years. The accidental damage caused by the user would cost the customer a $49 deductible, which would be considered a “service fee.” Users would also be given two full years of free software support. The caveat to the software support was that any beta software was excluded from the warranty.
Going back to the most appealing feature here, the accidental damage coverage, Apple refers to this as “ADH” (Accidental Damage from Handling) and defines it as "operational or mechanical failure caused by an accident from handling that is the result of an unexpected and unintentional external event (e.g., drops and liquid contact) that arises from your normal daily usage." The ADH doesn’t provide "protection against normal wear and tear, theft, misplacement, reckless, abusive, willful or intentional conduct associated with handling and use of the Covered Equipment.” Also excluded from coverage are "abuse, misuse, fire, earthquake or other external causes," "scratches and dents, that do not otherwise affect the functionality," other wear and tear due to normal aging of the product, devices "with a serial number that has been altered, defaced or removed, or has been modified to alter its functionality or capability."
This may not appeal to everyone due to the fact that the device needs to have an issue with functionality for it to be deemed worthy of replacing for Apple employees. I can safely assume that Apple will be a bit stricter on replacing these as asking for a $49 deductible will probably reduce their profit margins. I wouldn’t exactly recommend purposely damaging your iPhone if you dented it just to get a nicer looking one. All in all though, it still is pretty nice that Apple will give you a new or refurbished model at the price of $49 as opposed to the $200 it would cost outside of the warranty.
Previously, Genius Bar employees also had the ability to waive that fee, which makes the potential value of the AppleCare+ plan seem negligible. This policy has ended though, pretty much forcing all users who expected a cheap replacement for their accidental damage to opt into the AppleCare+ plan and pay a fee each time they damage their device (with a two incident limit as well). Apple also seems to be enforcing a stricter requirement for purchasing the AppleCare+ option, mentioning that it must be purchased together with new covered equipment. The contract also goes as far as noting that it will not cover the "pre-existing condition on any Covered Equipment if you purchased the Plan after you purchased the Covered Equipment."
The price of the plan does seem pretty hefty to me but I can see where it may be appealing to others. I personally never opt in to any warranty plans and try to take care of my tech gadgets from the get-go. I haven’t had any bad luck yet but know people who do and end up jumping on warranty plans such as this one. The $49 accidental damage replacement does seem pretty appealing but I am not sure it would be worth it for someone like me who would probably never even get to take advantage of the replacements.
So what do you think of the AppleCare+ plan? Did any of you purchase it along with your iPhone 4S or plan to at the time of purchase? Share your thoughts and comments below!