Update on 8/1/2013: We are now officially offering the iPhone 5 cracked screen repair service in all of our stores. We have plenty of parts in stock for fast service. About 30 minutes with an appointment or 24 hour turnaround through the mail.
Update on 2/4/13: We now have a small supply of iPhone 5 screens and are offering the repair. In-person repairs only for the moment. This is very aggressive pricing that basically covers our costs. We just got tired of not being able to help people out that were calling with a cracked iPhone 5 screen. Because of the high parts cost, we are not stocking a large number of these parts. So if you want to get yours fixed, give us a shout and we can get you scheduled for a repair. We will hopefully have another update soon announcing that the price is coming down and that mail-in repairs are available.
We’ve started getting lots of calls about iPhone 5 screen repairs. Unfortunately we don’t have a cost effective solution yet (nor does anyone else in the industry). A few of our suppliers have offered us replacement iPhone 5 screens for about $220 each – that’s our cost. Looking around at our competitors, I can see the same is true for them. If they’re offering the service, they’re charging $300-$350 for the repair. We think that’s way too high of a price and we’re going to wait to offer this service until the pricing comes down.
When will that happen? It’s hard to say for sure but my prediction is sometime in late January or early February.
The problem is the LCD. If you’re not super familiar with iPhone screen technology, don’t worry. We are. And I’m happy to explain…
The iPhone 5 screen is made of 3 parts: A piece of glass (that’s what you touch), a digitizer (that’s what senses your finger touch), and an LCD (that’s what displays the picture). On the iPhone 5, like the iPhone 4/4S, these parts are all glued together (on the iPhone 3G/3GS the LCD was actually a separate component which is why that repair has always been much less expensive).
You will notice some rather unscrupulous sellers on Ebay offering you just the glass for your cracked iPhone. Don’t be fooled. This will not fix your problem because you can’t remove the functioning LCD from your iPhone 5 without breaking it. You need to buy the part with both the glass and LCD combined.
Just so you know, I told a small fib above. The iPhone 5 is actually made up of just 2 parts: The glass and the LCD. The LCD has the touch sensors built directly into it. This is referred to as “in-cell” technology and Apple has a patent on it. This is one of the reasons the iPhone 5 is thinner than the iPhone 4/4S – which did have a separate digitizer.
This is also one of the reasons the iPhone 5 parts aren’t readily available. Making this new LCD has proven difficult for the companies that manufactur it (LG and Sharp in particular). They are struggling right now to get them out in quantities that can satisfy Apple’s demand. At the same time, Apple’s legal battles with Samsung – it’s number one supplier of LCDs – have not helped increase supplies.
Fortunately, the LCD suppliers have had time to ramp up over the past 4 months since the iPhone 5 release. Lead times on the iPhone 5 have gone from 3-4 weeks down to 1 week on Apple’s web site. This means those LCD suppliers are catching up and should, in the not too distant future, get ahead of the game. That’s when we’ll start to see these parts available in the open market at reasonable prices.
And that’s when we’ll start repairing the iPhone 5.
Fingers crossed that all happens over the next 4-6 weeks.