iPhone 5 (introduction video, parts 002)

Eight months into its September 2012 launch, Apple’s iPhone 5 is still a pricey gadget to service.

Be it a smashed screen, an earpiece that needs replacing or its most unreliable iPhone component – the Home button – some replacement components for the handset remain pricey compared against prior iPhones.

In an in-depth piece, MarketWatch looks at the iPhone aftermarket to conclude that the iPhone 5 repair costs remain high due to Apple’s tight control of Asian supply chain for components and replacement parts…

The Rupert Murdoch-owned publication quotes Jeff Haynes, editor at deal site TechBargains.com, who points the finger at Apple:

Apple controls everything from the manufacturing to the gear for the iPhone 5. Apple is trying to get people to sign up for Apple Care for $99 and to rely on their services at the Apple store.

“If you don’t, that cracked screen could cost you at least $230,” he notes.

Indeed, iFixit will sell you an iPhone 5 display assembly, seen below, for a whopping $200 versus $95 for the corresponding iPhone 4S part.

iPhone 5 (iFixit display assembly)

Part of the problem is the handset’s taller – and therefore pricier – screen than on the iPhone 4/4S.

Author Quentin Fottrell also talked to repair firm iCracked founder AJ Forsythe who commented on Apple’s tight control on the iPhone 5 components:

Market forces determine the price. Apple sells about 300,000 iPhones a day and, as the repair market grows, prices will get lower.

The MarketWatch article provides a few more examples of high iPhone 5 repairs so give it a read if you’re eager to learn more.

I’m now exclusively buying my handsets unlocked and contract-free. When it comes to my iPhone 5, I signed up for a $99 AppleCare+ plan to have a piece of mind in terms of parts and servicing costs – especially after my previous iPhone 4S had slipped spectacularly out of my hands, leaving me with a screen smashed beyond repair.

The $99 AppleCare+ plan extends your warranty to two additional years, covering two accidental damage issues with $49 deductibles. We heard that Apple will be refreshing its AppleCare offering this Fall, changing how device repairs are handled.

AppleCare Plus (logo, medium)

Specifically, rather than replace a faulty device with a like-new refurbished one, Apple will allegedly start repairing those units.

The move could be a result of Apple’s greater warranty woes in China which led to a CEO apology and improved repair policies for the iPhone 4/4S handsets sold in the 1.33 billion people country.

Have you added an AppleCare+ protection plan to your iPhone purchase?