Apple is working towards reducing the long wait times for iPhone repairs with the company planning to put proprietary machines for mending cracked iPhone glass in about 400 authorised third-party repair centers in 25 countries.
In a statement to Reuters, Apple executives said that one of the first recipients of this particular machines will be Minneapolis-based Best Buy, which has long sold and serviced Apple products. The electronics retailer already has one of the screen-repair machines at a Miami-area store and one coming soon to an outlet in Sunnyvale, California.
While fixing a broken display in a smartphone may not sound all that lucrative, but globally it is a multi-billion-dollar business where there is potential to make millions each day. Apple hasn’t been open to placing its Horizon Machine at a lot of places and only has 500 retail stores and mail-in repair centers to ensure that the design of the system is closely guarded.
Apple’s change in stance to place the machine in 25 countries comes weeks after eight US states launched “right to repair” bills aimed at prying open the tightly controlled repair networks of Apple and other high-tech manufacturers. Apple said legislative pressure was not a factor in its decision to share its technology.
The initial rollout aims to put machines in 200, or about 4 percent, of Apple’s 4,800 authorised service providers worldwide over the next few months. The company plans to double that figure by the end of the year notes a report on Reuters.
In addition to Miami, a few machines already are operating at third-party repair centers in the Bay Area, London, Shanghai and Singapore. Shops in some countries where Apple has no retail presence will also be early recipients, including locations in Colombia, Norway and South Korea. Apple would not say how much its partners are paying for the equipment.
Apple says its customers can get their devices fixed at non-authorised shops without voiding their warranties as long as the technician caused no damage. But the Horizon Machine is needed to remedy the trickiest mishaps, such as when the fingerprint sensor attached to the back of the glass gets damaged when a phone is dropped.