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.