Apple today will be rolling out a couple of significant changes to its AppleCare support offerings. As we detailed in a report last month regarding Apple’s future plans for AppleCare, Apple will making a significant push for its premium AppleCare+ service. AppleCare+ is the iPhone and iPad protection plan offering that provides support for an additional two years (on top of the free 90 days of support) and support for up to two incidents of accidental damage.
Previously, customers were required to buy the plan within 30 days of purchase of an iPhone or iPad, but today’s change brings that purchase window to 60 days. This gives customers more time to decide if they will need enhanced support for their mobile Apple devices. The AppleCare+ plan costs $99 for both recent iPhone and iPad models. The plan can be purchased both via Apple’s Online Store or inside of official Apple retail stores. The AppleCare+ change is supported in all AppleCare+ regions except Japan, where the timeframe remains 30 days…
In order to boost usage of AppleCare+, Apple is discontinuing the previous, less-expensive AppleCare protection plan (without support for accidental damage) for both the iPhone and iPad. This change will be going into effect today in the United States, Canada, and Japan, and the shift will likely take place in other regions in the future. This move is significant as Apple is solely offering either the standard 90 days of support that comes free with iPhones and iPads or its most premium support service. This push will boost AppleCare+ sales numbers, revenues, and likely the amount of pay-per-incident fees Apple collects as some users may not want to pay nearly $100 for AppleCare+.
Apple’s website has now been updated to reflect the changes, and AppleCare phone support and Apple Store support employees will be made aware of the changes today. Apple has not made any changes to AppleCare support today for Macs, iPods, and other non-iPhone/iPad devices.
Apple’s push for AppleCare+ comes a few weeks after AppleCare vice president Tara Brunch expressed the importance of the program to AppleCare support technicians. Bunch said that AppleCare+ has had over 30 million signups and has registered over $2b in revenue for Apple since its debut in 2011. The changes going into effect today will certainly increase those numbers. Bunch also hinted that Apple is developing further improvements for AppleCare+ such as improved iPhone insurance plans to battle carrier offerings as well as an expansion internationally. Bunch said Apple is also researching a Mac variant for the program, but such a service seems far off due to legal and financial complications.
In addition to AppleCare+ changes, Bunch earlier detailed upcoming screen share support for iOS devices and improvements to Apple ID management. Both of those changes are expected by the fall. Apple also recently revamped its online support forums in a push to allow customers to have an easier time self trouble-shooting online rather than over the phone with an AppleCare representative. The Cupertino company has also recently flipped the switch on enhancements to its online chat support service.