Apple rinses customers for more money with Apple Watch warranties

On Friday Apple started taking orders for Apple Watch, and the world is agog. It's online only this time around, so there are no amusing articles about nutters camping outside Apple stores for six months living on noodles and coffee just to be first through the door - people are, in many cases, buying blind.

We've already baulked at the price of the Apple Watch Edition, but today Apple released details of its AppleCare+ extended warranties and, my God, do they make for interesting reading.

There has already been much said about the pricing of the various Apple Watch models - not least the Apple Watch Edition - and Apple is sure to make quite a markup on the precious metal version. Not content with raking in the cash through its sales of wrist-bound hardware, Apple is trying to squeeze every last possible cent from its customers. If something goes wrong with your Apple Watch, even if you are covered by the extended warranty, it's going to cost you a pretty penny to get things fixed. If you were foolish (er... lucky) enough to invest in the Edition, the costs are absolutely astronomical.

AppleCare+ for the Apple Watch Sport will set you back $49 (£33) for a year. Quite reasonable. The warranty covers not just the Watch, but also the battery, and the magnetic charging cable and power adapter. Lovely! But that's not the end of the story. Should you be unfortunate enough to need to send back your Apple Watch Sport for repair, you'll need to pay a $69 (£47) service fee plus tax.

Part of the point of buying a warranty is to gain peace of mind against accidental damage - dropping your device, smashing the screen, and so on - but the warranty only includes provision for two incidents. After this you'll have to pay for out of warranty repair, or stump up another AppleCare+ fee.

If you've opted for the middle of the road Apple Watch, you'll have to pay a little more: AppleCare+ (for the same hardware, remember, albeit a different chassis) will cost you $69 and any repairs incur a $79 (£53) plus tax fee. The policy has all of the same features and caveats as the policy for the Apple Watch Sport, but there's a slight premium to pay.

But then things get really silly.

Anyone who has parted with up to $17,000 for an Apple Watch Edition has already paid through the nose. But Apple's not going to cut any slack when it comes to extended warranties. AppleCare+ for the Apple Watch Edition is $1,500 - regardless of the version you have opted for. Admittedly, this does buy two years' of extended coverage, but here's the killer: if you send back your Apple Watch Edition for repair, there is a $1,000 plus tax service fee. And again, you're only buying coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage, despite the fact the warranty is for twice as long.

Let's just put this into context. If you manage to smash the screen of your gold Apple Watch Edition or cause some form of internal damage, you'll have to pay $921 (taking tax out of the equation for now) more to get it fixed than if you have precisely the same problem with an Apple Watch Sport. If the thing dies for some reason, it will cost you the thick end of $1,000 to get a replacement for your Apple Watch Edition, compared to $69 for an Apple Watch Sport. Apple has given itself a license to print money. Nice work if you can get it.

Of course, the warranty covers other things. You might, somehow, manage to completely crush your gold Edition. Perhaps you decided to wear it to work for your job as a house builder and dropped a brick on it, or it got run over by a backhoe. Then you get a good deal.

You've paid your $1,500 and for just $1,000 plus tax more, you can bag yourself a replacement - obviously a lot cheaper than buying afresh. But what sort of markup is being made on a gold Apple Watch Edition?

If you were wondering what the cost of out-of-warranty repairs is, MacRumors has the answer: $229 for Sport, $329 for Watch and $2,800 for Edition. Do you risk it, or hand over the cash?

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