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AppleCare+ Punishes the Careful


Apple recently introduced its new iPhone extended warranty and accidental damage plan, AppleCare+.  Every new iPhone comes with one year of hardware warranty and 90 days of telephone technical support.  Like basic AppleCare, AppleCare+ increases the iPhone hardware warranty and telephone technical support coverage to two years.  AppleCare+ also adds coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage with a $49 deductible (service fee) per incident.  AppleCare+ for iPhone is priced at $99 and it replaces the older basic AppleCare for iPhone, which was priced at $69.

I am not a fan of the new AppleCare+ plan.

I am careful with my electronic gadgets.  All I will ever want is the extra year of hardware warranty to protect against manufacturer defects.  Now Apple is requiring me to purchase an accidental damage plan at the same time and charging me an extra $30 for the pleasure.  The way I see it, Apple is punishing the "careful ones" by charging us for something we don't want.  Put another way, we are being forced to help subsidize those that are careless or accident-prone.

Another Significant Change

With the orignal AppleCare plan for iPhone you could wait a full year—until the day before the included one-year hardware warranty expired—before deciding whether to purchase a second year of hardware warranty.  This ability to delay the AppleCare purchase is something that made AppleCare plans different from other manufacturer's extended warranty plans.  It's part of what made Apple, well, Apple.

Delayed purchase also saves money for consumers because it gives them a chance to shop for the best deal.  Some retailers sell AppleCare plans at a significant savings over Apple's prices.

AppleCare+ changes all of that.  Now you have to make the decision to purchase AppleCare+ at the same time you purchase your new iPhone.  (Apple is granting a grace period through November 14, 2011 for new iPhones purchased on or after October 14.)  And I don't expect we'll see Apple, AT&T, Verizon or Sprint giving any discounts on the AppleCare+ plan.

Pony up the C-Note

If you're careful with your gadgets, the AppleCare+ for iPhone plan isn't a change for the better.  AppleCare+ is now more like a run-of-the-mill extended warranty plan.  It's not very "Apple-like" and it forces careful customers to spend an extra $30 for coverage they don't want and will likely never need.  Worse, it makes them pony up the $100 purchase price at the beginning of their new iPhone ownership.  Apple should have provided the accidental damage coverage as a separate plan that could be purchased in addition to the basic AppleCare plan.

I am sure that AppleCare+ will be popular with the iPhone owners that are more apt to drop their iPhone into a toilet or forget that their iPhone is in their back pocket when they sit down.  I'm simply not one of those owners.  And I don't like being forced to pay extra for something I don't need or want.

By the way, it brings me no pleasure to be critical of Apple.  I just think they missed the mark with this decision.

I sincerely hope that AppleCare+ doesn't spread to other Apple products.



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