The thing you should understand about Apple's home repair process is that it's a far cry from DIY. I expected Apple would send me a small box of screwdrivers, spudgers, and pliers; I own a mini iPhone, after all. Instead, I found two giant Pelican cases -- 79 pounds of tools -- on my front porch. I couldn't believe just how big and heavy they were considering Apple's paying to ship them both ways. [...]
But I wasn't done yet. The single most frustrating part of this process, after using Apple's genuine parts and Apple's genuine tools, was that my iPhone didn't recognize the genuine battery as genuine. "Unknown Part," flashed a warning. Apparently, that's the case for almost all of these parts: you're expected to dial up Apple's third-party logistics company after the repair so they can validate the part for you. That's a process that involves having an entirely separate computer and a Wi-Fi connection since you have to reboot your iPhone into diagnostics mode and give the company remote control. Which, of course, defeats a bunch of the reasons you'd repair your own device at home! [...]
Yeah, none of that surprised me. What surprised me was the price tag.
- $69 for a new battery -- the same price the Apple Store charges for a battery replacement, except here I get to do all the work and assume all the risk.
- $49 to rent Apple's tools for a week, more than wiping out any refund I might get for returning the old used part.
- A $1,200 credit card hold for the toolkit, which I would forfeit if the tools weren't returned within seven days of delivery. [...]
Apple can say it's giving consumers access to everything, even the same tools its technicians use, while scaring them away with high prices, complexity, and the risk of losing a $1,200 deposit. This way, Apple gets credit for walking you through an 80-page repair, instead of building phones where -- say -- you don't need to remove the phone's most delicate components and two different types of security screws just to replace a battery.
To me, those giant Pelican cases are the proof. It would cost Apple a fortune to ship 79 pounds of equipment to individual homes all over the country, even with corporate discounts. [...] It would cost us upwards of $200 just to return those cases to their sender. Yet Apple offers free shipping both directions with your $49 rental.
"Apple shipped me a 79-pound iPhone repair kit to fix a 1.1-ounce battery. I'm starting to think Apple doesn't want us to repair them."