Apple apologizes to Chinese consumers, revises local warranty policy for iPhone 4 and 4S

Over the last couple of weeks, Chinese consumers and media had been up in arms over Apple's lesser warranty coverage -- specifically over refurbished replacement devices for faulty iPhone 4 and 4S -- compared to that applied in other countries, and Cupertino's seeming arrogance from its lack of response at the time didn't help at all. But in an open letter addressed to Chinese consumers earlier today, CEO Tim Cook apologizes on behalf of his company and promises that "Apple's commitment and passion for China are no different than for other countries." After taking a closer look at China's "Three Guarantees" law (repair, refund and replace), Cook's China team will now be offering the following:

  • Improved warranty policy for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S: the first 15-day grace period offers full device replacement as usual, whereas the remainder of the one-year warranty period will now offer brand new parts replacement or brand new device replacement (depending on the situation), as opposed to replacing with refurbished parts or a refurbished device; and the warranty period is restarted for the new device, as required by the "Three Guarantees" law

  • More concise repair and warranty policy statement now available on Apple China's website -- which clarifies that the iPads still only get a two-year coverage on just the key components, whereas the batteries and accessories only get one year, sadly

  • Strengthened supervision and training for Apple Authorized Service Providers

  • Direct online feedback link now available for Chinese consumers

Looks like a good start here (especially for the second hand market, of course), but let's see if the Chinese consumers will see an effective change at the stores -- maybe the next wave of virtual protest will eventually force Apple to add full two-year coverage for the iPads as well.