Apple is going to make the process of getting your broken iPhone repaired quicker and easier, by sending its proprietary repair machines out to hundreds of third-party locations this year.
According to a recent Reuters report, Apple will send the machines it’s dubbed ‘Horizon’ to a total of 400 third-party repair centers across 25 countries by the end of 2017.
Before now, Apple only allowed these machines to be fitted in its own stores and repair centers.
Although it authorized some third-party repair centers to fix broken devices without voiding the warranty, the Horizon machines are the only way to carry out more serious repairs as they can access every part of the iPhone rather than simply exchange components.
For example, they’re the only machines capable of correctly replacing Touch ID sensors.
This meant if you were looking for anything other than a straightforward repair, you had to go to Apple directly if you wanted your warranty to remain valid at least.
Limited and restrictive repair procedures such as this are now being targeted by the United States government across eight States under a series of ‘right to repair’ bills.
These bills are aiming to make it harder for tech companies to monopolize the lucrative repair market for their own devices and empower consumers as well as third-parties.
It’s not known exactly how much Apple makes from repairing devices, but considering standard repairs can cost more than £100/$100 for customers not covered by AppleCare+, analysts have suggested it generates around $1 billion a year in revenue.
The global screen repair industry is believed to generate around $4 billion a year which means Apple is potentially taking a fairly large chunk of the money for itself.
Apple told Reuters that it’s not just the pressure from this legislation that’s made it take these steps, it’s also the fact that it’s seeking to reduce wait times for repairs at its stores and “expand [its] reach”.
The Cupertino firm started piloting the program around a year ago, bringing machines to a small number of stores in California, London, Shanghai and Singapore but now it’s planning to expand it further.
According to Reuters, Apple will soon be bringing the machines to authorized centers in countries such as Colombia, Norway and South Korea where Apple currently has no retail presence.