The cell phone repair business is estimated to be a $4 billion industry (yes, Billion). A big portion of those repairs are done by 3rd party repair shops – and Apple hopes to put an end to that.
- February, 2016: Apple releases its error 53 code which bricked phones with 3rd party screens. [Fixed]
- October, 2017: Apple releases iOS 11 and it makes the touchscreen stop working on aftermarket screens. [Fixed]
- April, 2018 – Part 1: Apple releases iOS 11.3 which causes the touchscreen to stop working on iPhone 8/8+ phones. [Fixed]
- April, 2018 – Part 2: Apple prevents the ambient light sensor from working on any any iPhone 8 and above where the screen was not installed by their authorized dealers – even if it’s an original iPhone screen it, it still won’t work. [Not Fixed Yet]
Here’s the thing, Apple got hit pretty hard with the error 53 code they put in. States all over the US started legislation for Right to Repair. Apple apologized for the error 53 debacle but they just got more devious in their attempts to put 3rd party repair companies out of business.
There’s a LOT of Money In iPhone Repairs
In the 4th quarter of 2017, Apple sold about 22.4 million iPhones in the US alone. By most estimates (and to make the math easy), let’s say that 10% of those will be broken within a year. At $100 per repair that’s $224 million dollars in repair revenue in just the United States from one single quarter of Apple sales. There are 94 million iPhones in the United States. Sticking with our 10% / $100 numbers we get an estimated $940 million worth of iPhone repairs in the US alone. Basically, $1 billion per year.
Apple does not want to share that revenue and they are doing everything they can to get independent repair shops out of the picture.
It’s About Jobs
Not Steve Jobs. But the kind of jobs that help people put food on the table for them and their kids. My small company has 4 retail locations and employs 20 people. uBreakiFix has about 300 franchises as of this writing and iCracked claims to have over 4000 people working for them. A quick Yelp search in Chicago for “iPhone Repair” gives 264 results!
There are thousands of cell phone repair companies around the United States alone and they employ 10’s of thousands of people.
It’s About the Consumer’s Wallet/Purse
All this competition isn’t just helping repair companies. It’s driven the price of iPhone repairs down significantly. Apple used to charge about $250 for an out-of-warranty iPhone 5 screen repair. Today they charge $129. Why the change? Because Apple was no longer competitive in the repair business. Even today, a good repair company will charge about $79 for an iPhone 5 screen repair – $50 less than Apple charges.
Competition and multiple options drive prices down for consumers. This is a very good thing.
But don’t worry, I’m sure if Apple can succeed in driving independent repair shops out of business that they’ll continue to work to reduce their repair pricing. After all, Apple would never do anything to harm it’s customer base.
It’s About Consumers Without Other Options
And what about customers that don’t live close to an Apple store? Don’t worry. Apple has that covered. You can mail them your iPhone to fix. You wouldn’t mind being without your phone for a week to 10 days, would you?
The fact is, right now, in every almost every city in America – even small cities – there is someone capable of fixing your iPhone. This not only drives down costs, but it also makes sure that people in underserved markets also have options.
It’s About Better Service
Competition between companies doesn’t just drive prices down. It also drives the quality of service up. I’ve written before about how Jet City Device Repair stacks up against Apple on the customer service front. Let me update those numbers for you here:
- Apple Store in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood: A 3-star rating with 387 reviews.
- Jet City Device Repair’s Lincoln Park store: A 5-star rating with 514 reviews.
Now mind you, we did, as a company, about $3 million in sales in 2017. Apple did over $233 billion.
Think about that. A company like ours can significantly out perform the behemoth that is Apple in taking care of customers – both with lower costs, faster service, and a better customer experience.
Do you really want to see Apple eliminate the independent repair companies from the marketplace?
If not, take a few moments to let your elected leaders know.