Apple is set to introduce its own screen repair machines into hundreds of third-party stores according to a new report.
The company will make it easier for customers to get a reliable screen repair for broken or cracked iPhone screens by putting its “Horizon” machines in stores around the world, according to a Reuters report.
Around 400 authorized repair centers in 25 countries are to be provided with the machines, following a move by eight US states to create legislation aimed at tackling tech companies’ restrictive repair processes.
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Apple’s rollout of the machines will be complete by the end of 2017 according to the report, with stores across the US said the be the first recipients.
200 authorised service centres will get Horizon machines over the next “few months” according to the report, with Apple planning to double that figure by the end of 2017.
The company previously used the Horizon machines exclusively in its own stores and mail-in repair centers, though it claims the latest move is not a reaction to the so-called ‘right to repair’ legislation.
Senior director of service operations Brian Naumann told Reuters the move was prompted by increasing repair wait times, adding: “We’ve been on a quest to expand our reach.”
As it stands, iPhone users can get their handsets fixed at non-authorized stores and, as long as the store doesn’t damage the device, keep their warranties valid.
But Apple’s latest move will make it much easier for customers to repair severely damaged iPhones, as the Horizon machines are the only ones capable of successfully replacing and validating the Touch ID sensor on the handsets.
The firm has stayed tight-lipped on the machines themselves in the past, even refusing to officially acknowledge their existence.
But Reuters was given a tour of a lab near its Cupertino, California headquarters, where it was shown the Horizon machines in action.
Third-party repair centers in northern California, London, Shanghai, and Singapore have already received the machines, which are now operating in those locations.
With the aforementioned legislation gaining backing in the US, Apple could be attempting to retain some of the lucrative screen repair business for itself.
Although the firm hasn’t revealed how much that business is worth, Reuters notes that analysts estimate it generates between $1 and $2 billion in revenue a year.
Let us know what you think of Apple’s plans in the comments.