A “cracked screen” is certainly not a good sight for a smartphone owner. Trust me; it’s absolutely not a good feeling, as I have myself gone through this phase a couple of times. Not only this, it also burns a huge hole in your pocket to get it fixed. And I am not exaggerating here!
While there are third party shops that can fix screen of your Android smartphones for you, in case of Apple iPhones, the current process (certified by Apple) is to either ship your device back to Apple or schedule an appointment at your local Apple Store location where they will do the repair for you on site. Alternatively, Apple says its customers can also get their devices fixed at non-authorized shops without voiding their warranties as long as the technician caused no damage.
Now, according to a new report from Reuters, Apple is all set to introduce its own screen repair machines into hundreds of third-party stores. The company is looking to make it easier for its customers to get a reliable screen repair for broken or cracked iPhone screens by putting its elusive repair gadget called the “Horizon Machine” in stores around the world. Apple allowed Reuters to view and photograph the machines in action at a lab near its Cupertino, California headquarters.
This move by Apple is looked by many as its reaction to the “Right to Repair” legislation. The Horizon Machines, which is quite a guarded asset, was previously used by Apple exclusively only in its own stores and mail-in repair centers. However, Apple said legislative pressure was not a factor in its decision to share its technology.
For those unfamiliar, the “Right to Repair” legislation (also known as the Fair Repair Act in some states) are designed to make it easier for people to repair their broken electronic products, such as cell phones, computers, appliances, cameras, and even tractors. Under this legislation, the manufacturers are required to release repair information to the public and sell spare parts to owners and independent repair shops. In other words, these bills argue that you bought the device, and you should be able to repair it. The eight U.S. states that have introduced this bill are Illinois, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Minnesota, Kansas, and Wyoming. Currently, Apple is in the midst of fighting legislation in eight states that goes after its secretive device repair practices.
“We’ve been on a quest to expand our reach,” told Brian Naumann, Senior director of service operations to Reuters, adding that the move was prompted by increasing repair wait times at some of the company’s busiest retail stores.
The Horizon Machine, which is about the size of a microwave can not only fix the screen crack but can also fix the tougher cracks frequent on an iPhone along with cracks to the fingerprint sensor.
Apple’s proprietary machine is expected to be available in around 400 authorized third party repair centres in 25 countries by the end of 2017 for as little as $129. While 200 authorized service centres will get Horizon machines over the next “few months”, the remaining 200 authorized service centres will receive the machine by the end of 2017. Among the first to receive the machines are Best Buy stores, including one in the Miami area, and one in Sunnyvale, California.
While Apple doesn’t specify how much it earns from screen repairs, but analysts say the company’s annual revenue from repairs could range in between $1 billion to $2 billion a year.