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Should You Get AppleCare+ For The New iPad? Here Are The Pros & Cons

Should You Get AppleCare+ For The New iPad? Here Are The Pros & Cons

Do you really need this?

Buying a new iPad? Be sure that you’re well aware Apple has made some changes to AppleCare. This past year Apple changed the iPhone AppleCare option to AppleCare+ and it has now done the same for the iPad. Unsurprisingly, AppleCare+ offers you more protection for your new iPad than was previously available under standard AppleCare plans, but there are a few differences, which everyone should take a moment to understand.

Just like Apple’s standard AppleCare service plan, AppleCare+ effectively extends your iPad or iPhone’s One-Year Limited Warranty to two years (up from the standard one year) and gives you access to certain other support benefits (e.g. software support for iOS and iCloud, etc.). AppleCare+ also includes a repair/exchange program for accidental damage from handling. In addition to the obvious benefits, having AppleCare+ on your new iPad may make it easier to resell a year from now when the next iPad is released. Apple permits the transfer of all AppleCare plans between owners of Apple products. Having another year of complete protection may help your iPad stand out from the rest.

The accidental damage protection does come at a price. AppleCare+ for the iPad costs more than standard AppleCare did – $99 instead of $69. AppleCare+ only offers repair or replacement services for two accidental damage incidents. After that you’re out of luck. There’s a $49 service fee (deductible) per incident. In addition to the extra cost, AppleCare+ must be purchased either: 1.) at the same time as you purchase your new iPad; or 2.) within 30 days after you purchase your iPad, provided you take your iPad in for a Genius Bar appointment so that an Apple representative can inspect your iPad (bring your new iPad and proof of purchase).

The takeaway is that you need to decide whether or not to buy a rather pricey and perhaps unnecessary protection plan in a very short amount of time. The new iPad isn’t going to go on sale for a few more days, so take this opportunity to decide whether or not AppleCare+ is right for you.

Arguments To Consider In Favor Of AppleCare+:

  • Apple’s One-Year Limited Warranty is extended from one year to two years.
  • You get access to additional iOS and iCloud software support.
  • You get accidental damage protection.
  • Having AppleCare+ may increase resale value because you can transfer the AppleCare+ plan to future owners.
  • Peace of mind, which many people may value highly. iPads are expensive.
  • AppleCare+ is Apple’s own protection plan and service may be obtained at any Apple retail location.

Arguments To Consider Against AppleCare+:

  • The plan costs $99.
  • You must purchase AppleCare+ within 30 days of purchase.
  • Repair or replacement due to accidental damage costs an additional $49 per incident.
  • Accidental damage limited to only two incidents.
  • In reality your new iPad may not be subjected to a sufficiently high risk of accidental damage (i.e. compared to an iPhone).
  • You’re already fully protected from defects for the first year after purchase thanks to Apple’s One-Year Limited Warranty.

The decision whether or not to buy AppleCare+ is a very subjective one. There’s a big risk that some buyers may get pressured into making what amounts to an unnecessary purchase (i.e. past experiences, enthusiastic salespersons, the 30 day limitation and the plan’s inspection requirement, impulse buying, etc.). On the other hand, with AppleCare+ being Apple’s only protection plan for the new iPad, there’s also a significant risk that the unwary customer may incorrectly assume that AppleCare+ may be purchased at any time within the first year after purchase – as is the case with standard AppleCare offered for other Apple products. It would be unfortunate if such a misunderstanding resulted in some customers missing the boat.

Will you buy AppleCare+ for your new iPad? Do you have any other opinions about the benefits or drawbacks of AppleCare+ for the new iPad? We would love to hear what you think.

  • Tyler Kirkland

    Not as necessary for the iPad as it is for the iPhone. Unless you are using your iPad in an environment where it may be more prone to damage than say, the coffee shop, your living room, or the office, it’s not worth it. I’m just going to stick with a good case and not let my kids get their grubby mitts on it, and I think I’ll be fine.

  • Mark Andersen

    I’m going with Squaretrade (use it for all my electronics) They will be cheaper and don’t charge the $49 fee per incident.  They sent me an email the day the ipad was announced saying they will have “their lowest priced iPad warranty they’ve ever offered” on release day.  Great company, super easy, painless and I even get prorated money back from them if I sell or get rid of the warranty before it expires.  (no I don’t work for them, I promise) 

  • Griffincomputers

    I got it because I’ll be carrying it bicycle commuting and when bike camping. The iPhone with a case is pretty resistant to abuse and if it rains any zip lock bag will work. But the iPad will be in my pannier, with a case, but I could see potential for more accidents with the ipad and its bigger glass screen. 

  • David

    Your credit card company may already offer an additional year of warranty coverage.

  • Xia Hua

    SquareTrade for the new iPad costs $89, and they do also charge a $49 deductible. And SquareTrade’s parts are come from 3rd party suppliers, I’d rather go with AppleCare+ for the original parts

  • W.M.M. M

    If Apple offered the standard AppleCare along with the new AppleCare+, then buyers would have an option and I think most would prefer standard $69 AppleCare.  The extra $30 is not worth it for me, but I sure would like the extra year of support offered by the traditional Apple Care, which includes phone support too.

  • ChristopherPayne

    I ordered an iPad 64gig with AppleCare+ as I have had a few software issues with my iPad 1. Now I know that I can call Apple any time over the next 2 years and get any issue resolved fast. That’s worth $99 to me.

  • Jdsonice

    Additionally if you have something like Visa Signature they may offer a replacement policy also. 

    Is the $69 plan also available or only the $99 plan? 

  • JoshObra

    Apple also asks you how that “accident” happened, compared to square trade.

    But if square trade uses third party parts, I’m sticking with Apple.

  • baleara

    I think it’s definitely worth it, given that my friends have paid $300-500 for new iPads when they have inevitably done something stupid to theirs.  XD

  • Barrett Jasper

    I think it’s also a must have. When I seel an old iDevice that has the warranty it helps increase the value and it always locks in the sale as it’s a no-brainer being that it’s covered. I alweays buy the applecare. It’s damn near bullet-proof (or at least it has been for me) you take the iDevice in and it gets fixed or replaced. (usually fixed) but they’ve never charged me a cent. (I do realize this iPad warranty has a 49.00 fee in some case) but I astill say ABSOLUTELY! Money well spent.

  • Douglas

    I’m annoyed with the sloppiness of this article. Now dicsussion of credit card protections nor basic information on how much to repair a screen if you go to Apple without a warranty http://support.apple.com/kb/in

  • Josh Yates

    I think it’s money well spent as well.  The iPad is NOT a cheap device.  All it takes is one good drop and you’re outta luck.  The “replacement fee” for an iPad in an Apple store is $299 for user damage.  I had that waived with my iPad 1…but they didn’t have AppleCare+ then.  I’m not sure that they’re gonna be so “nice” now that they actually have a warranty that you can buy…but you chose not to. I’m also a bit skeptical that they will actually make you pay the $49 if you do have an accidental damage issue.  They very well may, but my experience with Apple Stores suggests otherwise.  (My wife’s iPhone 4 was a month out of warranty and she dropped it into a toilet.  Took it to an Apple Store, was honest about what happened, and walked out 30 minutes later with a replacement…no charge.)  My feeling is that level of service will now be given to those with the AppleCare+ agreement. 

  • Hbeardave

    Many people don’t realize that you can add a “Personal Articles” rider to your homeowners/renters insurance for high-value items like cameras, computers, and jewelry for much less than this deal from Apple. Usually there is NO DEDUCTIBLE.
    Phones usually don’t qualify, but iPads usually do.
    Talk to your insurance agent.

  • NativeNeuYorker

    I can barely afford the IPad so I will have to live without the Applecare.  I will just be extra careful and invest in a durable case and screen protector.

  • Bob Forsberg

    I’ve never purchased an Apple product without AppleCare, iMac, MacPro and now the new iPad being delivered Friday. As an owner of the first Mac and many since I’ve always been ahead with AppleCare covering repair/replacement costs. My last 24″ iMac had 4 screen replacements and other hardware exceeding $4,000 during the 3 year warranty. AppleCare is worth ever nickel.

  • CharliK

    When AppleCare plus for the iPhone came out they dropped all the one time exceptions for the iPhone. You can bet they will do the same with the ipad

  • Corey L. Robertson

    Yeah, the deductible with SquareTrade definitely evens the playing field. Actually, since you have to mail the device to Squaretrade to fix it, versus taking it to an Apple store for them to replace it, I’ll be going with AppleCare+. Before they added the deductible, I would have agreed with Mark.

  • Starman_Andromeda

    This used to be the way to go!  Theft, loss, damage, etc. all covered for a pittance.

    However, many insurers have changed their policies in this regards… State Farm, e.g., in certain regions (nationally?) now requires a $500 deductible, making such policies worthless.Others exclude certain types of products, such as cell phones or tablets.  People considering this really need to ask the right questions of their agents (well, their agents’ receptionists as they seem to do all the work!  :-) ) and read the fine print! 

  • Starman_Andromeda

    If you can barely afford the iPad, then maybe you shouldn’t get it!  :-)   It is a luxury item rather than necessity after all.

    Your notion, though, of a durable case –especially one that covers the screen–and a screen protector is good in any event!

  • Starman_Andromeda

    I’m with you Bob!  I’ve used Apple Care over the years on almost every product on which I’ve had it!  And several times, with the replacement of entire logic boards–or with keyboard, hard drive, and battery replacements– it’s more than paid for itself.  I’m way ahead in terms of cost-benefits… and I treat my stuff with kid gloves.  I’d hate to see what happens to those who don’t — and don’t have AC!

About the author

Jonathan ZschauJonathan was introduced to Apple at the age of five when his family bought its first computer, an Apple IIGS, in 1986. He has owned and used Macs almost exclusively ever since. He is an attorney from Boston, Massachusetts where he focuses on litigation technology. As a contributor he writes about consumer protection issues related to Apple products. He is also the author of Buying and Owning a Mac: Secrets Apple Doesn't Want You to Know.

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