Apple could actually start repairing faulty iDevices in June

iPhone 5 (black, Retina display 001)

A letter Apple allegedly sent to Brazilian Authorized Service Providers signals significant changes to how the company handles iPhone and iPad repairs. Specifically, rather than replace faulty devices with their good-as-new refurbished counterparts, Apple should finally start performing device repairs in-house as early as next month, reports AppleInsider which got hold of Apple’s letter to distributors.

We heard earlier in the month that major changes are coming to Apple’s AppleCare warranty this fall so the development could signal Apple’s intent to test the new policy in Brazil ahead of a broad roll-out later this year…

AppleInsider cautions the photo represents a computer screen showing the email rather than the actual email itself. The publication advises that “the text is in line with a previous rumor saying Apple would be making dramatic changes to its repair services later this year.”

Here’s the photo.

AppleCare changes (Brazil, AppleInsider 001)

The message is from John Meneghel, who claims to be Apple’s Technical Assistance manager in Brazil. Translated into English, it advises Apple’s installed base of technicians in the country to expect an updated training manual with details of the new repair policy.

Specifically, Apple is set to begin repairing the iPad’s cover glass. Additionally, it would also seem Apple wants its service technicians to handle all iPhone repairs under warranty given independently of purchase.

The letter instructs Apple Authorized Service Providers not to return such units back to the carrier that sold them. Apple currently sells an optional $99 AppleCare+ plan which extends iPhone warranty to two additional years and covers two accidental damage issues with $49 deductibles.

iPhone 5 teardown (iFixIt 001)
Image via iFixit.

Here’s the full English translation of Apple’s letter, via Tiago Leite.

São Paulo, 17th May 2013

Dear Apple Authorized Service Providers,

My name is João Meneghel and, in May, I’ve taken the responsibility for all Apple’s Technical Support in Brazil. During the next 3 months my goal is to straiten the relationship with all our technical support base, and also have a structured team to support that relationship.

Nevertheless, we have some key aspects that I would like to clarify in this first touch:

1. GSX: The correct of GSX repairs is critical. In the coming weeks will be available a training manual of the GSX update on repairs.

2. iPad repair – Soon begin the procedure of repairing the iPad’s glass. More details will be available next week.

3. iPhone repair – The change of the exchange model for AASPs will be a reality, with details of the plan to be sent June 13.

4. iPhone – In case of a warranty repair, apart of the date of purchase, all iPhones must be taken to a AASP and not back to the carrier.

5. 100% manual verification – All iPhones to be repaired must be opened and manual verified. Using this procedure the AASP voids *missing text* by taken iPhones that lost their *missing text*

Apple’s current policy of replacing damaged iPhones with refurbished units rather than service faulty parts in-house came under heavy scrutiny in China, Apple’s second-largest market which attributes to as much as one-fifth of its revenue.

Following co-ordinated attacks by state-run media, the company relented and issued an apology while pledging to improve its repair policies for the iPhone 4/4S handsets sold in the country.

On a related note, MarketWatch yesterday quote several executives at repair shops who attributed high iPhone 5 repair costs to Apple’s tight control of the components aftermarket.

At any rate, I’m glad Apple will be starting to actually repair the products and return the same device to the customer rather than exchange it for a like-new re manufactured device.

And with WWDC just around the corner, perhaps the firm will share some AppleCare updates during the June 10 keynote, alongside the iOS 7/OS X 10.9 previews we’ve been told to expect.