The iPhone maker will sell 400 of its proprietary screen repair machines to third-party authorized service providers, which include chains like Best Buy and smaller independent shops, in 25 countries. Reuters reports that the machines, which Apple calls “Horizon Machines,” are “gray metal boxes the size of a microwave with a swing-out windowed door” and that they prefer between 10 and 12 minutes to repair a cracked screen without much human involvement.
Distributing these repair machines to third-party shops is a shift in strategy: Apple has largely controlled the processes and technology involved in repairing iPhones. whether you brought your phone to one of Apple’s authorized third-party service providers in the past, the shop didn’t actually repair it itself. Until now, these third-party stores would mail iPhones to Apple stores or repair centers for certain repairs, including screens.
Apple is initially rolling out 200 machines to some of Apple’s 4,800 authorized third-party service providers in Miami, the San Francisco Bay Area, London, Shanghai, Singapore, and other places.
There are currently approximately 500 screen fixing machines in the wild, nearly perfect of them operating behind the scenes at Apple’s own retail stores or the company’s mail-in repair centers, according to Reuters.
The motivation for the distribution, Apple told BuzzFeed News, is twofold: assembly increasing demand for same-day repairs, particularly in places without Apple stores, and relieving pressure on Apple stores, which are facing rising wait times as more people buy iPhones.
Estimates peg phone repair as a $4 billion commerce, trade worldwide. Apple previously charged $99 for a screen repair whether you had Apple Care (which cost $99 or $129 per year, depending on the size of your phone); now the price for a screen repair whether you pay for Apple Care has dropped to $29.
Some independent, unauthorized repair shops say they’ll fix a phone for as small as $10. But you’ll void your guarantee and Apple Care whether these unapproved smartphone mechanics damage your device in any way. Apple also told Reuters that the Horizon Machine is the only thing that can fix a phone that needs more complex repairs, like whether its touch sensor needs replacing.
The legislation would require tech companies to construct individual parts, diagnostic tests, and repair manuals available to consumers and third-party retailers, something Apple has refused to carry out since the iPhone debuted a decade ago. iPhones aren’t the only target of the bills though: Farming equipment is high on the list, too.
Apple has lobbied against the bills, saying that these laws would open up the nearly 1 billion iPhones worldwide to hacking and that it won’t be able to ensure that third-party repairs meet quality standards. The company wouldn’t comment on whether it will continue to lobby against these bills.
Apple told Reuters that the legislation — introduced in unusual York, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Wyoming — had nothing to carry out with the timing of its procedure to give third-party repair shops the ability to repair iPhone screens on their own.