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Why AppleCare+ for iPad May Be Worth Buying

I recently wrote an article about why AppleCare+ for iPhone isn’t worth buying, basically because repair costs aren’t that much more expensive without it than with it. But now, Apple has introduced AppleCare+ for iPad, and while I still feel the same about the iPhone version, AppleCare+ for iPad could be worth buying.

The Basics of AppleCare+ for iPad

AppleCare+ for iPad costs the same as the iPhone version ($99) and offers basically the same terms: a two-year warranty (the iPad by default comes with a 1-year warranty), coverage for accidental damage that includes a $49 fee to fix each time for up to two times, and free technical phone support.

So if the terms are similar, why is the iPad version of AppleCare+ worth it where the iPhone version isn’t? Because a broken iPad will cost you a lot more to fix without AppleCare+ than a broken iPhone, especially if you purchase one of the more expensive iPad models. What are the costs to fix a broken iPad? Read on.

What It Costs to Fix the iPad Out of Warranty

Below are the non-warranty costs to fix the iPad 1 and iPad 2 from Apple’s own website (Apple hasn’t updated the charts to take into account the 3rd-gen iPad yet, but costs will likely to be the same).

 

iPad Wi-Fi
iPad 2 Wi-Fi
Out-of-Warranty Service Fee
16GB$269
32GB$299
64GB$349
iPad Wi-Fi + 3G
iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G
Out-of-Warranty Service Fee
16GB$319
32GB$369
64GB$419

When you compare the $269 non-warranty cost to fix the cheapest iPad (16GB version) to AppleCare+’s $99 + $49 pricetag, AppleCare+ supplies a savings of $121. It goes up to $271 in savings for the most-expensive iPad. And that’s only if you break the iPad once (AppleCare+ covers you for up to two accidental damage repairs). Break it twice, and it’s a savings of $341 to fix the cheapest iPad.

So, Is It Worth It?

The gamble of AppleCare+ is that of any insurance: you may never break your iPad and you’re still out the initial $99 cost. And $99 is still a lot of money to most people. But seeing as the iPad is a mobile device, the chances of breaking it are much more than, say, a home computer or HDTV, but maybe less than an iPhone. It may all come down to how you plan to use the iPad. Are your small children going to be playing with it? Is it never going to leave your home?

Me? I’m buying it for my $829 64 GB iPad 3, But I am a heavy iPad user who travels with it.

Endnotes:

  • According to the official legal terms, AppleCare+ for iPad doesn’t cover theft, loss, fire, earthquake, cosmetic damages like scratches and dents that don’t affect the iPad’s functionality, or abuse (so talk nice to your iPad).
  • AppleCare+ for iPad doesn’t cover damage that occurs before you buy AppleCare+, so make sure you tell them the damage occurred after (but don’t lie, never lie).
  • You must purchase AppleCare+ for iPad within 30 days of your iPad purchase.
  • If you don’t live near an Apple Store, Apple will pay for the shipping to mail in the iPad for service.
  • AppleCare+ for iPad also covers repair or replacement coverage for an Apple Time Capsule or Airport device. Why? I have no idea. You just have to have purchased the device within two years of the iPad.
  • While the cost to fix an iPad off-warranty ranges from $269-$419, the iPhone 4S costs only $199 to fix out of warranty, and older iPhones even less, only $149. If you have AppleCare+ for iPhone, it’s $149 to fix a broken iPhone 4S, saving you only $49. Not much of a savings.

*Updated 3-14-2012 to fix factual error about when you must purchase AppleCare+ for iPad. Previously the articled claimed you could wait up to a year, but Apple’s page says it must be within 30 days.

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  1. Paul says:

    Very helpful, very thoughtful analysis! Thanks for going through it.

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