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Revamped AppleCare means changes for Genius Bar employees

When my iPad 3 was acting funny –– and by that I mean a sleep/wake button that would only work on every third press -- I made an appointment at the Genius Bar at my local Apple Store. Fifteen minutes later I walked out with a brand-new replacement iPad. Many readers who have owned a faulty iPhone, iPod or iPad will have had experiences similar to my own: broken iDevice, go to Apple store, get new one. But now that's all set to change.

According to reports from AppleInsider, Apple vice president Tara Bunch announced to employees last week that AppleCare will be changing in the US, with international markets to follow. Soon iDevices with faulty hardware won't necessarily be replaced with new units. The role and capabilities of Geniuses in Apple stores will soon be expanded to allow them to fix the faulty parts, instead of having to issue completely new hardware. As AppleInisder explains:

Currently, Apple Stores have the tools to replace speakers, receivers, home buttons, the vibrator motor and battery. Come June, capabilities will be expanded to display replacement, and by July cameras, sleep/wake buttons and logic boards will be dealt with in-store. In addition, employees will have access to advanced diagnostics tools that can remotely assess hardware issues and relay the data directly to technicians, allowing for quicker turnaround times.

The move is expected to save Apple a whopping US$1 billion a year in replacement costs. As to how the move will affect customers' perception of AppleCare remains to be seen. AI also reported on other potential changes to AppleCare, including a switch from per-device coverage to per-user coverage. Under the new model, all of a user's devices would be covered under an AppleCare subscription-based model.

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