Skip to main content

Apple rumoured to be mulling subscription-based AppleCare service

New changes are in the works for AppleCare, Apple's service and support plan that combines hardware warranties and technical support for product purchasers — can you say Genius Bar, anyone?

And in a bit of a departure from the usual way this works — "A company is changing one of its major offerings; it is likely to be worse than it was before, if not more expensive" — Apple is rumoured to be looking to improve AppleCare for those picking up tablets, PCs, laptops, or phones (to name a few covered devices).

Nothing is set in stone yet; however, the changes are said to have been discussed in a recent Apple open meeting between the company's tech staff and Apple Vice President Tara Bunch. That's according to an unnamed Apple employee who spilled the beans to AppleInsider – so take the news with whatever grain of salt you feel befits Apple rumour-mongering.

According to the source, Apple is looking to transform the familiar way that iPhone, iPad, and iPod repairs are handled at retail Apple stores. Instead of just taking a user's malfunctioning device and exchanging it on the spot for a nearly new model, Apple employees will now attempt to repair the devices themselves and return a customer's fixed-up device to him or her.

These "in-house" repairs will reportedly allow Apple to save approximately $1 billion (£650.5m) each year. By July, Apple stores are expected to be able to handle issues with display replacements, cameras, sleep/wake buttons, and logic boards. That's in addition to the current lineup of fixes Apple retail techs can handle, which includes batteries, vibrator motors, and speakers, to name a few.

Apple is also supposedly changing up how AppleCare itself works, either turning the support service into a subscription model instead of its current purchased-per-device model or adding a new tier to AppleCare that offers these benefits.

The change would allow Apple fans to pick up one AppleCare policy that covers all of their devices, rather than having to purchase a separate AppleCare policy for each individual device. Additionally, the altered offering might also grant purchasers access to 24/7 Apple support – the latest reports do caution, however, that the aforementioned AppleCare changes aren't finalised or confirmed, so they might ultimately differ if or when a new version of the programme is announced.

Apple is also allegedly extending its free phone support for Apple devices from its current policy of 90 days to one year – with a possible future extension to two years.