AppleCare+ debuts for $99, offers to cover accidental damage in addition to the standard fare

Once upon a time, the AppleCare Protection Plan was a service provided by Cupertino to extend out the life of your iPhone warranty for an extra year and enable Apple reps to help with additional customer service concerns. It still offers all of that, but now a Plus has been added to the title. The new plan was revealed as the cloak over the Apple Store lifted after today's keynote, with the boxes shipping out the same day as the iPhone 4S. What's so "plus" about it, you might ask? It's plus $30, for one, getting a price bump from $70 to $100. The good news, though, is that it also now offers two instances of protection from accidental damage... for a $49 fee each time. It's a fair deal less than shelling out full retail price for a fresh one, of course, but there doesn't appear to be any other new features beyond what we're already used to getting. Oh, except for "one more thing": whereas its predecessor could be obtained and activated anytime within the first twelve months of your purchase, it appears that AppleCare+ has to be bought at the same time as the valuable treasure it's protecting. We're still sifting through the fine print, so we'll holler if we come across any other changes. This raises the question: does the accidental damage handling justify the higher cost?

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]