As a general rule, I avoid extended warranties such as Apple’s AppleCare program; they very rarely pay off in the end. For many modern gadgets such as tablet computers and smartphones, the concept of an extended warranty makes even less sense. I have owned several smartphones including all iterations of the Apple iPhone, and I have never suffered a hardware failure that would have been covered by a warranty. I have broken a few phones, and even washed an iPod, but AppleCare, sadly, doesn’t cover stupidity. The extended warranty only covers hardware or software defects.
This has changed with Apples introduction of AppleCare + for the iPhone. When I picked up my iPhone 4s, I added the AppleCare + coverage. For the first time in the past five years that I have owned smartphones and tablets, the extended coverage makes sense. Not because the iPhone 4s is more likely to fail, but because I am still stupid.
What is the AppleCare + Plan for the iPhone
With every Apple product purchase, you receive 90 days of telephone support and one year of support from Apple directly. This support is the standard AppleCare program, and I feel it is the best support program in the tech industry. If a device is a lemon or if it is going to have a hardware failure, it will likely happen in the first six months of ownership, but it will almost certainly happen within the first year. For most situations, the standard AppleCare program is all that you would ever need.
The iPhone 4s, however, needs a bit more love, and that is where the AppleCare + program comes in. The iPhone 4s is a highly technical piece of technology that is used on a daily basis and it is encased almost entirely of glass. Granted, the iPhone 4s has Gorilla Glass which is a bit more resilient than standard glass, but it is still fragile. For a fee of $99, you get to extend the standard AppleCare program to cover drops, spill, liquid damage, and general stupidity. If I wash the iPhone, or if I accidentally run it over (my wife has actually done this), I am covered. There is a $49 dollar deductible, but I chalk that up as a “stupidity tax.”
Why the AppleCare + Plan for the iPhone Plan is Worth It
I am on my fifth generation of iPhone, and in that time I have only had one with a hardware failure. The back light on my iPhone 4 died, but it happened within the first month I owned the device. Because iPhones and other smartphones do not have moving parts, and they generate limited amounts of heat, they rarely fail. Owners do break them, and in my experience, they get broken often.
Out of my five generations of iPhone, I have broken three of them. Two screen breaks and one partial submersion. I am not a clumsy oaf with my devices, but life happens. I have slipped and fell in a river with a phone, a child dropped one, and my very first iPhone fell out of my pocket while riding a bike. In every case, the device cost much more than $149 to replace. AppleCare + would have saved me time and money.
Is the AppleCare + Program Right for You?
Have you purchased a new iPhone? Have you ever broken a phone? Do you try keep phones for the entire term of your contract? I could answer yes to all of the above questions, then the AppleCare + plan is probably right for you. If you do purchase it, you can transfer it or get a prorated refund if you decide you don’t need it. When you look at the plan as a combination insurance policy and extended warranty, it makes sense.
The AppleCare + plan is $30 more expensive than the original AppleCare plan, and you must purchase the AppleCare + plan at the same time you purchase your iPhone. Also, you need to make sure and register the plan so that coverage begins immediately. Whether or not you decide to purchase the AppleCare plan for your new iPhone, I hope you enjoy your new device, and make sure to keep it safe.