Add AppleCare+ Through 14 November 2011
New with the iPhone 4S release is something Apple is calling AppleCare+, which turns the standard AppleCare extended warranty into an insurance policy of sorts. Whereas traditional AppleCare only protects against manufacturing defects and extends the tech support call window from 90 days to 2 years, AppleCare+ also covers up to two incidents of accidental damage. AppleCare used to cost $69; AppleCare+ retails for $99, and each incident of accidental damage may have a $49 service fee.
Previously, if you damaged your iPhone, you could attempt to throw yourself on the mercy of the people at an Apple Genius Bar for a free repair or replacement, but failing that, it could cost $200 or more. AppleCare+ replaces AppleCare for the iPhone in general, and it’s available for any new iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, or iPhone 3GS. Whether AppleCare+ is a good deal for you depends on how careful — and lucky — you are with your portable electronics; I generally like such insurance policies for devices that are easily dropped.
Apple said initially that AppleCare+ had to be purchased at the same time as the iPhone 4S, and that’s now possible, but we didn’t remember any indication of AppleCare+ appearing during the pre-order process. And when Tonya activated the iPhone 4S while talking with an AT&T tech support rep who was helping get all of our numbers associated with the proper devices, she didn’t remember seeing anything about AppleCare+ then either, though she was moving quickly. So the question is, if, like us, you somehow ended up with an iPhone 4S but not AppleCare+, how do you add it after the fact?
When asked, the AT&T reps at our local AT&T store found some indication in their information that AppleCare+ could be added only within the first 24 hours after activation, although they hadn’t yet tried to add it to any account either during or after the first 24 hours. Unfortunately, since Tonya activated the iPhone 4S on Saturday morning, we were outside the 24 hour window by the time we learned this information. So they recommended calling Apple at 800-MY-IPHON (800-694-7466), which we did. The Apple rep on the other end had no information about how long after purchase or activation AppleCare+ could be ordered, but his computer system allowed him to add it to our account. Phew!
When I started researching the situation online for this article, I found this note on the AppleCare+ page in the Apple Store. It clarifies the situation, noting that anyone who pre-ordered an iPhone 4S or 8 GB iPhone 4, or who purchased any model of iPhone after 14 October 2011, is eligible to purchase AppleCare+ through 14 November 2011.
So there you have it. If you want AppleCare+ for a just-purchased iPhone 4S, you have a month to add it. But after that point, you’ll need to purchase AppleCare+ with the phone, or perhaps within that 24 hour period after activation that AT&T told me about.
I went with my mom to get accessories at the ATT store this weekend. It was after 24 hours for my phone but within 24 hours for hers. The ATT tech who ran up our cases was also able to sell us the AppleCare+ plans. I got an email at home later that evening that they were effective from Oct 14th, the day the phones were delivered. Was very easy. There was an Apple store at our shopping mall too, but it was super crowded and this took about 5 minutes at the ATT store.
My Verizon store tried to sell me the old AppleCare boxes (which I knew was wrong), and then they tried to sell me the $11/month Verizon insurance (nearly twice the cost of AppleCare+). Since I knew what I wanted (AppleCare+), I demanded they figure out how I get it. After many minutes of waiting, they informed me to go home and call Apple to get AppleCare+ added. Then, after nearly two hours and three phone calls later, I think I finally got AppleCare+ bought for my two new iPhone 4S (mine & my wife's). Man, what a lot of hastle, but hopefully now it's all good to go.
Any idea if this works internationally? If I buy an iPhone 4S in the US while on a trip, do all the terms still apply if I need to get the phone fixed when I'm back home in Europe?
I can't find any legal documents for AppleCare+, no doubt because it's so new, but the old AppleCare was offered in multiple countries, so it's likely that AppleCare+ will be as well. However, from reading some of the old AppleCare agreements, I think you'd want to buy AppleCare+ in your home country; it appears to be country-specific.
According to an AppleCare rep. I spoke to yesterday, AppleCare+ is US-only. It’s certainly not available here in Canada.
So is traditional AppleCare still available in Canada?
It is, and like most AppleCare offerings it can be purchased any time during the initial one year of warranty coverage. I'm not sure why AppleCare+ is not available in Canada at this time, difference's in consumer purchase protection laws maybe?
I suspect you're right - legal frameworks are sufficiently different in different countries that extending a warranty could be very different from providing insurance.