Apple Inc. (AAPL) will deploy its proprietary machines for repairing damaged iPhone glass in about 400 authorized third-party repair centers in 25 countries by the end of 2017, Reuters reported, citing Apple executives. The so-called Horizon Machine was built by Apple four years ago.
Initially, Apple aims to put machines in 200 of the company’s 4,800 authorized service providers worldwide over the next few months and double the figure by the end of the year, according to Reuters.
The move is said to be part of Apple’s efforts to reduce long wait times for iPhone repairs at its retail stores. Nevertheless, it also marks a major shift for the tech giant as it had previously restricted use of the Horizon Machine to its nearly 500 retail stores and mail-in repair centers.
In addition, eight U.S. states have recently introduced the “right to repair” bills aimed at ending the vice-like grip by Apple and other electronic manufacturers on official repair services for their products.
The bill will enable customers to get their devices fixed by third-party vendors. Fixing cracked screens is a multi-billion dollar business.
Apple has said that customers can get their devices fixed at non-authorized shops without voiding their warranties. However, the Horizon Machine is required to properly calibrate the screen and to allow the Touch ID sensor to be replaced without bricking the phone.
According to the Reuters report, Apple started pilot testing a year ago. The Horizon Machine is currently operating at Miami as well as other third-party repair centers in the Bay Area, London, Singapore and Shanghai.
Reuters reported that one of the first recipients of the Horizon Machine is Minneapolis-based Best Buy, which has long sold and serviced Apple products.
by RTT Staff Writer
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