Having already cemented its place at the top of the consumer electronics industry when it comes to product quality and user experience, Apple is now shifting its gaze to customer support. At its fall event last month, the Cupertino company announced a lucrative, yearly iPhone Upgrade Program that comes packed with AppleCare+ coverage, and now, new rumors suggest it is looking to bring major changes to the way iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, 6 and 6 Plus repairs are handled at Apple Store Genius Bars through a more efficient system, though it might not be to everyone’s liking.
If said rumors are to be believed, Apple is looking to have more serious, time-consuming issues be dealt with off-site, so more requests can be handled in parallel. Genius Bars will be outfitted with an automated system that will decide if an iPhone is to be diagnosed and fixed by an Apple Genius within the store or shipped for off-site repair. If an iPhone is found unable to connect to iTunes, unable to power on or stuck at the Apple boot logo, the customer will be given the option to have the device sent to Apple’s off-site repair center, where the problem will be diagnosed and repaired if possible or a replacement unit will be set aside for the customer. This entire cycle is expected to take up to five working days.
The best bit about this system is that customers who opt for off-site repairs will be loaned a 16GB iPhone 6 for the duration of the repair process. Details regarding how exactly units will be returned to customers and loaned units will be retrieved are as yet unknown. Our best guess is that repaired or replaced units will be shipped back to the same Apple Store while users are notified to both pick up their iPhone and return the loaned unit at the Genius Bar.
If this all sounds more inconvenient to you than the current system, you’re not alone. Not only will customers with newer or higher-tier models have to make do with a base model iPhone 6 for up to five business days, they might also have to make multiple trips to and from the nearest Apple Store as opposed to getting their issue resolved in one visit. However, the change is expected to roll out to a limited number of stores on a trial basis, at least in the beginning, so Apple could take a different course if it is met with negative feedback.