Former Apple design honcho Jonny Ive’s legacy of form over function provided Apple with certain benefits. AppleCare. Did you buy a Mac notebook with the notorious butterfly keyboard design much beloved by Apple’s designers and accountants? Yes, that made the Mac thinner and lighter. It also made Apple’s accountants rejoice because Mac customers were, 1) required to pay money to fix the wonky keyboards, 2) consider buying AppleCare to reduce the price tag on repairs.
Thankfully, Apple’s customers made enough noise that getting a Mac notebook keyboard repaired these days costs less money, but the idea is the same. Apple’s devices are sufficiently complex that repairs are not easy to implement, so customers should pay insurance to help defray repair costs.
This week Apple launched a new product; the long-awaited successor to the highly successful AirPods. AirPods Pro. $250 for two ears and a recharging case. What happens if you damage an AirPod and need a new one? That’s going to cost you about $90 out of warranty.
When you opt-in on the $29 AppleCare+ subscription fee then you’ll only pay $29. See how that works? You pay more money for longer and more extensive care. If you lose an AirPods Pro earbud, that will set you back $90, in warranty or not.
Apple gives customers a one-year limited warranty on hardware and with an AppleCare+ subscription you can extend that. In many cases, AppleCare+ is the way to go with refurbished hardware– which also comes with a one-year warranty– and for products that were not purchased from Apple.
Who wants to pay $199 upfront for a longer service plan? Nobody and that explains why AppleCare+ also has a monthly plan for many products.
Jason Cross has an excellent primer on the details and a list of AppleCare+ prices for various iPhone models. There’s even an option called Theft and Loss. We started using the iPhone Upgrade Program a few years ago and it comes with AppleCare built-in for the two-year agreement. That started us on the road to getting extra AppleCare for other products.
We keep iPads and Macs about five years each, iPhones for two years; sometimes three. Watch, too. The value of AppleCare for AirPods is beneficial because often the battery dies completely within two years.
AppleCare once was considered expensive insurance for those with extra money to burn, but I would rather pay a little each month and make sure those gadgets are taken care of.