back to article Hey, you know why it's called the iPhone X? When you see Apple's repair bill, your response will be X-rated

With its iPhone X about to figuratively hit the streets, Apple has today revealed what it will charge when the new handsets literally hit the streets. The Cupertino iGiant said it will cost $279 to repair a damaged screen for the new flashy handset if it is not covered by an Apple Care plan. Damage to any other part of the …

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  1. Lee D Silver badge

    Honestly do not get it.

    That repair costs more than any phone I've ever owned.

    The phone costs more than anything I've ever owned with the exception of 1 car and 2 houses (not simultaneously!).

    Just... but... I can't... and it's just... the worst possible option.

    Literally a "designer" brand. All looks over substance. Have never owned one of their products. Ever. (But manage several hundred, begrudgingly, and only as far as you can "manage" any of their junk).

    Also, if the screen doesn't have all that stuff listed in it, why is it MORE EXPENSIVE than the models that do?

    1. K Silver badge

      In my humble opinion, the costs have nothing to do with actual parts, overheads and margins - Its more about selling more handsets. Lets face it, you see that price, your more likely to just purchase a shiny new one, which at the end of the days adds even more to Apple's bottom line.

      This is the evil twin brother of 2 for 1... Buy 2 screens, or buy a new phone!

      Personally, Apple calls its self a "responsible" company, I'm not an environmentalist by a long shot (Global Warming, WTF is that?!).. But even I think Apple is f*cking evil on this front!

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        First adopter risk

        I’ll expect those prices will come down in time. They are currently driven by cantimg to reserve all the parts for new retail models not spares and repair.

        I also bet there are only 1 or 2 service centres that have the skills and tools to repair them.

        Haven’t seen an iFixit tear down yet but I bet it will be even harder to fix than previous models.

        1. Not also known as SC

          Re: First adopter risk

          "I’ll expect those prices will come down in time. They are currently driven by cantimg to reserve all the parts for new retail models not spares and repair."

          Look at the prices for the other models. My 6s could cost $150 for a screen and $299 for other damage. That's still not cheap compared to the price of the phone and I think I'll have to agree with 'K' above, its all about getting people to buy new phones.

        2. macjules Silver badge

          Re: First adopter risk

          Not only that, they also admitted to not running QA, in order to meet demand quotas. Think I’ll stick with my 6s for a while longer.

          1. gnasher729 Silver badge

            Re: First adopter risk

            "Not only that, they also admitted to not running QA, in order to meet demand quotas. Think I’ll stick with my 6s for a while longer."

            I'd like to see where Apple is admitting this. Even if it were true, I can't see any company admitting this. And if there is a problem that wasn't caught by QA, that's why you have a year warranty. I'd expect that the customer detects anything within a year that QA would have caught.

            1. Lee D Silver badge

              Re: First adopter risk

              1) I object to being a QA tester for any company I buy products for.

              2) Standard EU warranty is a LOT LONGER than 1 year, no matter what Apple might try to tell the courts.

              3) Apple have admitted - in court no less - that their products are only designed to last a year (hence why they only want to give one year's warranty... shame that argument got thrown out).

              That said, I don't know if Apple stop QA or not, but certainly their hardware fares less well in the field than ANYTHING ELSE that I use in volume.

              By "field", in my case it's a school.

              By "hardware", I include anything from iPhones to iPads and Macs.

              By "volume", sure it's only a few hundreds of devices in my case but the statistics show.

              In a year of Chromebook use by children, I got two screen breakages that cost £25 each to repair after one was stood on and one ended up under a pile of cricket equipment.

              In a similar year of iPad use, I got upwards of 30 screen breakages costing £70-80 each to repair, and which mostly COULDN'T be adequately repaired without leaving the device vulnerable, as well as several DoA or random deaths. And those devices cost twice as much, and if we'd paid Apple prices, 4 times as much as a Chromebook to us.

              Given that they were both given to the same children, in the same site, for the same amount of use, and the Chromebook had "nothing" in the way of protection while the iPads had the best cases we could possibly find (thick rubberised things that made it hard to type on the screen), I think that kind of speaks for their quality control and "design" (as in "making things fit for purpose" not "what fancy shite can we make this out of so it sounds good").

              Additionally, out of the staff, we had zero breakages of Android phones, Window phones (not my decision!), etc. that were used for/taken on trips every week. However, I repaired/replaced the headmaster's iPhone no less than 7 times in the same period, despite the fact he lives on-site and it never really went anywhere.

              Apple QA - if it exists - is damn near atrocious. Don't even get me started on how many of their crappy lightning cables (official Apple, as supplied with the iPads) break each year and how much they cost to replace versus either - the cheapest unbranded Lightning-like cable on Amazon, or the cheapest micro-USB for other devices from Amazon.

              I don't even get a hardware failure rate of 0.1% on PC's, over 4 years (I have the stats on my helpesk, would you like to see? Most of those are storage failures!). I've already got a 10% failure rate on Macs (drive failures and mysterious just-not-turning-on), 8% on iPads (breakages, screen failures, button failures, not turning on, failing to accept charge, etc.), and almost 100% on iPhones (mostly accidental breakage because you didn't treat it like cotton wool despite it being an item you carry everywhere and hold in your hand), Android phones 0%, Windows phones <1%. Hell, even the old server equipment that we've kept from our purchase of ex-2012-Olympic stock fares better and mostly they only suffer storage failures!

              Different use case, blah, blah, blah, but a Mac isn't as robust as a PC, an iPad isn't as robust as a Samsung tablet / cheap Chinese Android costing £20 / Chromebook, an iPhones you might as well just smash the screen when you buy it to save you the heart attack later.

              1. Bob Dole (tm)

                Re: First adopter risk

                Given that they were both given to the same children, in the same site, for the same amount of use, and the Chromebook had "nothing" in the way of protection while the iPads had the best cases we could possibly find (thick rubberised things that made it hard to type on the screen), I think that kind of speaks for their quality control and "design" (as in "making things fit for purpose" not "what fancy shite can we make this out of so it sounds good").

                I bought a couple iPads for my kids several years back - one is a second gen iPad, another is a third gen. I also have four iPhones in my house, two 5s and two 6s. Every single one of them is covered with a case from LifeProof.

                The iPads have been thrown (literally) down stairs and submerged for an unknown amount of time in a bathtub. I even found one that had spent the night outside after a rainstorm. Two of the phones have been fished out of toilets. One fell out of an open window of a moving car and subsequently hit concrete and was run over multiple times - don't put your phone on the dash when you have an open window ... All of these devices have been jumped on, thrown and abused by children ranging from 2 years old to 15.

                I've never had to replace a screen, nor have they needed any other type of repair. To date, I have replaced 2 of the cases because a toddler decided the soft parts were good tooth sharpeners.

                The moral of this is simply: there are good case options. Yes these aren't cheap but they are far cheaper than replacing devices or sending them out for repair.

            2. macjules Silver badge

              Re: First adopter risk

              Report is here and here

              Quote:

              Another report, from Bloomberg, claimed that Apple was forced to remove some quality control elements from its production line in order to increase output to an acceptable level.

              FTFY

          2. Updraft102 Silver badge

            Re: First adopter risk

            "Not only that, they also admitted to not running QA, in order to meet demand quotas."

            So they're copying Microsoft in more ways than skipping 9 in their numbering series!

            1. Radio Wales

              Re: First adopter risk

              At least M$ thought up a respectable excuse by avoiding confusion with the 9X previous series.

              I have noticed that APP£E have always sucked up the magic X when and wherever they could.

              I'll take odds on the next release being a variation of X to prolong the beloved number for as long as possible - XI or XE or somesuch (as long as it's not Xeon).

      2. Tim Seventh

        "Buy 2 screens, or buy a new phone!"

        Meanwhile Australia: $419 for screen repairs, $819 for other damage

        $819

        Only $180 from a new iPhone X!

        1. Adam JC

          Re: The Need For Speed

          Those are AMERICAN dollars (AUD), not USD.

          $419 AUD = $320 USD

          $819 AUD = $628 USD

          Still expensive, but the AUD price of an iPhone X is $1579 AUD ($1211 USD) - Seems the ozzies are paying a hefty markup!

          1. Naselus

            Re: The Need For Speed

            "Those are AMERICAN dollars (AUD)"

            I think you mean AUSTRALIAN dollars, unless you're buying a very different AUD from the rest of the Forex.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      It's not about the screen probably....

      It's about selling the "care" plan, I daresay. If most folks bought the care plan, I'm laying odds, most of those "owners" would never need a repair. It's playing with the odds. So the care plan is pure profit. They do the same thing (with seriously heavy pressure at closing the deal) with new cares and their "care plan". Pricey but most buyers never use it so "profit".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re. why is it MORE EXPENSIVE

      when you google the answer about dog's balls being licked by their rightful owners, you will know why ;)

  2. thesykes

    At those prices

    It's a good job iPhone screens never break....

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: At those prices

      You forgot the joke icon... you still have time to edit!!! :D

    2. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: At those prices

      There's always insurance. Our youngest rolled over in bed and her phablet iPhone flew up and hit the corner of her fiance's laptop (they are both geeks). Their insurance paid for the repair. Insure your phone when it costs that much. Mine cost less than £60 on special in Argos. Sim only deal.

      Would I get an iphone if I could afford to have and run one? yes. In the meantime I'll make do.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: At those prices

        Insure your phone when it costs that much. Mine cost less than £60 on special in Argos

        Wait until you see the cost of insuring an iPhone X. In the longer term, the insurers have to cover the actual cost of spares and repairs and make a profit, so the cost of insurance will be proportional to the repair/replacement cost. I suspect with the vast replacement cost, that'll be more significant driver of the premiums than the repair element. Expect a significant insurance excess if the price is anywhere reasonable. AppleCare on an iPhone 8 is almost as much as the outright purchase price of my phone (a 5.5" screen, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage octa-core device that works perfectly well).

        That's such poor value that I'm with Lee D, this isn't a product I'll ever buy.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Meh

        Re: At those prices

        Or you just claim on your house contents insurance. For many no special cover required.

        Still, pay extra for pointless cover if you wish.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems proportionate

    If you are happy to pay $1000 for a phone, you should be happy to pay $300 to fix said phone in the event of a catastrophic accident. Or sign up to Apple Care, you tightwad.

    There's a reason every Apple product comes with a complimentary tube of lube.

    1. Flatpackhamster

      Re: Seems proportionate

      Not any more. Now a tube of iLube costs $79.

      1. Louis Schreurs BEng

        iLube costs $79

        now waiting for YouLube

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: iLube costs $79

          "now waiting for YouLube"

          Sponsored by Claims Indirect.

    2. Radio Wales

      Re: Seems proportionate

      I came across this confidential memo addressed to APP£E from USG:

      A new government initiative for companies with interesting financial incomes allows for excused account status providing they can produce new 'smart' items to capture and continually update the Fizzogs of their owners and log their financial status and current locations in data bursts directly to the NSA from anywhere in the world.

      Unfortunately, we are unable to fund research, development and running costs for this project and must leave it up to the manufacturer to recover the additional costs from the end user.

      Field studies indicates that they will not object as long as you impress on them that it is 'Too expensive for them to afford'.

      Reply from APP£E ran: We have completed this challenge and named the resulting surveillance device: iPhone X. Details attached.

      Please confirm tax exemption for us in writing, just to tie up the odd tiny details...

  4. Chris Miller

    If God did not want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That reminds me of the preacher caught being very naughty in the sheep fold. His defense was that if the Good Lord hadn't wanted them used that way, He wouldn't have built them waist high.

  5. James_H

    A fool and his money are soon parted.

    1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
      Pint

      A fool and his money are soon parted.

      (To an) iPhoneX owner: A fool and his money are soon parted.

      Apple, Inc: A fool and his money are soon PARTY!!!!

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Fools are one thing, but there are enough people in the world that can splash a few grand and not feel it at all, enough for there to be a market for Apple..

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm disappointed, did you not ask for a comment?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I thought El Reg was website non grata, to Apple?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Pirate

        Manufacturers generally keep very close tabs on product reviewer sites. At least they do for the (unaccountably) influential ones...

  7. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    OLEDs

    I don't know what Apple is using, but many OLED panels are on an insanely fragile silicon plate. Knock your phone against the table and the OLED panel will shatter without any damage to the glass. This means no "living with it" option when the screen breaks. It will go black and make faint little twinkles as the edge sparks.

    Hopefully Apple is using one of the flexible OLED panel designs. All the cool kids use cracked iPhones.

    1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: OLEDs

      I doubt the oled costs more than 120$, so at this price it is ridiculous.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: OLEDs

        No it's not. Your garden variety iFone just isn't designed to be opened up at all.

        Oh, it can be done, by Apple Ninjas secreted in the back recesses of the iTemple, and even they sweat bullets. Because if, during their incredibly exacting ministrations, they bust it up worse (a distinct possibility), they will have to give you a new one in its place.

        So I'd guess these heavenly bills are about 60% labor, plus a big cushion for Apple to cover the occasional new phone no-sale. About 10-20% goes for actual parts, probably.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: OLEDs

          Tricky As someone who has owned and managed an I.T repair shop that has done iPhone repairs since the iPhone 3G onwards, I can hand-on-heart say that even the iPhone 7 takes me around 20 minutes to change the entire screen assembly and I'd charge £165.00 - The part costs me £90 (Yes, there are MUCH cheaper amazon knock-offs, been there, done that, sod the 75% return rate!!) - The iPhone 8 screen isn't available from my usual supplier as they haven't found a source with 'reliable' enough parts.

          Interestingly... one of the few phones I won't touch is the Samsung S6/7/8 as the screen prices are absolutely *astronomical*. I smashed my Galaxy S6 Edge Plus which was insured and they didn't even bother fixing it, they offered me a cash settlement of £500 (Minus a £50 excess) which I quite obviously ripped their arm off at, and bought an S8 with the cash. I have a feeling that due to the manufacturing difficulty of these screens and the apparent 'low yield', the usual chinese knock-off screens either aren't going to appear like in past iterations of the iPhone or there are going to be non-OLED knock-offs which don't even feature genuine OLED panel(s). Who knows.. it's getting to the point where I can't be arsed to do the repairs and likewise people don't want to pay that much money. From my experience, iPhone owners aren't *minted* and driving swanky motors, they're everyday folk who don't realise just how expensive that little slab of metal in their pocket really is!

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: OLEDs

            From my experience, iPhone owners aren't *minted* and driving swanky motors

            Judging by the number of them walking round with broken screens I'd have to agree with you.

            When the screen on my S5 went, I checked the cost for fixing and found I could get a second-hand S5 for the same price, which would also means I've got a backup in case I lose or break my phone.

            1. MrBanana

              Re: OLEDs

              I've seen so many broken iPhone screens that I thought that it was a special, extra cost, option.

        2. Radio Wales
          Happy

          Re: OLEDs

          60% of the costs of the Xi-Phone are swallowed up in the design and implementation of anti-intrusion devices.

          It would be much cheaper but they have to make it accessible to the very small army of official repairers - and that is where it gets complicated.

          Sealed beyond human reach is relatively easy, making it so only a few can enter is fiendishly expensive.

          The best solution found is to glue the middle of the back of the screen to the rear half of the case so that on removal the screen is destroyed. Genuine repairers can insert a new discounted screen out of the profit margins and pretend it never happened.

          Other 'repairers' will have heart attacks and have to buy full priced screens then decline to work on Xi-Phones ever again,

          Job sorted. Higher sales of new Xi-Phones, no unofficial repairs intruding, and the owner pays for everything.

          What's not to like?

          Only downside is having to pay royalties to the Chinese boss for use of his name.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: OLEDs

      Unsurprisingly Apple is using screens from Samsung, which is why the new Apple phones can really be called Apple Galaxies.

      I've had OLED screens for nearly the last 10 years. All of them have taken at least one tumble, usually from a shirt pocket onto the ground, and only one of them has broken, and that was not from a fall; it now has a diagonal hairline fracture but remains perfectly usable.

      The new screens are big and complicated and, hence, expensive. And, if you watch any of the videos about replacing phone screens, you'll know that it's doable but tricky, which makes it expensive. So, while Apple's margin on the replacement will be decent, it might not be as high as some are making out.

      The bigger scandal with Apple phones is how much they manage to charge for their "Apple Care" insurance. It's clever marketing, no doubt, but it also demonstrates how reluctant people are to press for their statutory rights as consumers.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    The obvious thing to do then...

    ...is to buy two.

    1. Rusty 1

      Re: The obvious thing to do then...

      But if you buy two, and one breaks, you'll only have one. That's going to be rather a risky and uncomfortable situation to be in.

      Shouldn't the canny shopper buy three?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The obvious thing to do then...

        Shouldn't the canny shopper buy three?

        That would make them an engineer.

        Accountant: "How many pumps do we need?"

        Engineer: "One"

        Accountant: "Right, I'll order one"

        Engineer: "No, that's not enough"

        Accountant: "You said you needed one, that's what the business case was based on"

        Engineer: "That's one in general duty use. I'll need another for duty-assist, and a further one for standby. I need three - and even then I've cut down by not having a fourth in the warehouse."

        Based on many years experience working with engineers.

        1. K Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: The obvious thing to do then...

          Completely agree...

          Always have at least 3.. 2 on active duty, and 1 on standby..

          Unfortunately my wife threatened divorce when I told her my requirements.

          But in all seriousness, your spot on, You need an Active, Passive and Standyby..

          1. Mike Timbers

            Re: The obvious thing to do then...

            3 active with each one capable of handling the entire load, then when one is down for maintenance a failure still leaves one working.

            I worked in a refinery once where there were three pumps for the main cat cracker. When I asked for the rationale (as a naive IT bod) I was told that if all three went off in an uncontrolled manner, the resulting explosion would destroy my server room even though it was 3 km away!

  9. Dr. Ellen
    Flame

    And now for something completely different:

    Your article has nice black type. Then you put in a list of repair costs, and it is pale grey. Why cannot you Web-design jerkwads realize that you are communicating here, not committing Art? I admit, I've seen even paler text, but this isn't a competition to be the least legible. Keep the stuff READABLE.

    1. Barry Rueger Silver badge

      Re: And now for something completely different:

      Your article has nice black type. Then you put in a list of repair costs, and it is pale grey

      I'm with you. When did it become de rigueur to use type so pale that it can't be read by anyone over forty, or with eye weaknesses.

      There's reason why every book in the world published with black ink on white paper.

      (OK, there was one publisher of paperbacks in the seventies that used pale green paper which was supposed to eliminate eye strain. Can't recall who.)

    2. emmanuel goldstein

      Re: And now for something completely different:

      You're not reading it right.

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