Certain Apple Stores in the United States, Europe, and Japan are to begin sending iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, and 6s Plus handsets for off-site repair (rather than fixing the devices in-store) in an attempt to reduce waiting times at Genius Bars, according to several employees.
The news, published at 9to5mac, means Genius Bars at these stores will need to determine if an iPhone requires off-site repair, before shipping it. Specifically, if an afflicted iPhone handset is unable to connect to iTunes on a computer, will not power on, or does not boot past the Apple logo, the handset qualifies for off-site repair. These issues, according to Apple, are taking too long to fix in-store, and so fixing such handsets off-site should improve waiting times at Genius Bars in the United States, Europe, and Japan.
If a customer agrees to have the iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus or 6s Plus sent off-site for diagnostics and repair, he or she will be loaned a 16GB iPhone 6 to use in the interim. This is the first time that Apple is offering loaner iPhone 6 units to customers and repairing the devices for general issues off-site. Apple expects the off-site repair process to take three to five business days.
It’s significant that Apple recognises that something has to be done about its in-store Genius Bars. Here in Britain, the service Apple Stores offer is pretty horrendous. In Manchester, I’ve often found that my two local Apple Stores have no available appointments at Genius Bars. Everything is block booked out, making it impossible to get a diagnosis (let alone a repair).
The program, which is launching as a pilot before potentially rolling out across all Apple Stores, could improve the situation for customers. Though, at the same time, having to use a 16GB iPhone 6 instead of your 128GB model could prove problematic. Only time will tell whether this program will work, and if it’ll reach an Apple Store near you.
As always, we’ll keep you posted.