With the Apple Watch officially seeing the light of day today, it’s fitting that some light be shed on its warranty coverage as well – perhaps in too much detail for our taste.
MacRumors managed to get their hands on the official Visual Mechanical Inspection (VMI) documentation for the new Apple Watch, which basically lays out Apple’s guidelines on what kinds of damages are covered in either the warranty service or the out-of-warranty service, and which damages will the company not entertain at all whatsoever.
The extensive document, which provides some pretty graphic pictures (yup, actual photos) of what an Apple Watch might go through, states that warranty coverage would extend to things like debris under the glass, pixel anomalies, removed back cover (that didn’t occur through damage), sensor clogging etc. One clarifying point that the VMI adds for back cover removal is that it shouldn’t come with evidence of manual attempt to remove the cover, or consequential damage.
Similarly, out-of-warranty service eligibility extends to the Digital Crown cap, where said cap has either gone missing or has been damaged/broken. You will also have service for puncture holes (we wonder why someone would do that, but you never know), abrasion, drop damage (including chipped corners), cracked back cover (or one with evidence of prying), damaged band release button, to name a few.
As you can imagine, anything beyond these basically falls under no service category as far as Apple is concerned. Some of the specifically mentioned items include things like catastrophic damage, unauthorized modifications through installation of after-market, unofficial, third-party replacement parts (forget your local repair shop), and pretty much anything else. It’s noteworthy, however, that AppleCare+ protection might still be applicable for catastrophic damage, although the Cupertino company will decide that on a case-by-case basis.
To put things in the right context, warranty service means that Apple will provide repairs free-of-charge for these defects if the device is in its recommended limited-warranty period. Out of warranty service implies that should such damage occur, Apple will service the device but charge you extra even if the wearable is in its 1-year limited warranty. No service means, well, you’re out of luck.
The VMI document provides an interesting insight into what Apple offers for the watch, and is the standard that all Apple-authorized service providers adhere to. Such documents exist for all products, and the timing for the release of the Apple Watch VMI just couldn’t have been better.