Everyone, at some point, will crack their smartphone screen. It’s just the nature of putting billions of panes of glass into billions of hands. Apple, however, has long been able to restore iPhones to their former glory with a secret machine that makes them look like new. And now, thankfully, Apple is about to make it a lot easier to get at their magic machines.
Apple’s iPhone repair devices, called Horizon Machines, are being sent out to third-party repair places. Why? Because apparently the lines at Apple Stores have gotten completely out of control as iPhones have gotten more delicate and harder for mom-and-pop companies to fix.
“We’ve been on a quest to expand our reach,” said Brian Naumann, senior director of service operations at Apple. He said repair wait times have grown at some of the company’s busiest retail stores. Apple says its customers can get their devices fixed at non-authorized shops without voiding their warranties as long as the technician caused no damage. But the Horizon Machine is needed to remedy the trickiest mishaps, such as when the fingerprint sensor attached to the back of the glass gets damaged when a phone is dropped.
Apple has more motive than just customer service here, of course. Right-to-repair bills, requiring companies to provide consumers with parts and tools to fix their own equipment, are starting to pop up in state legislatures, and Apple is still hoping to make Apple Pay a competitor in mobile payments. Since the company relies heavily on Touch ID, an iPhone with a busted fingerprint sensor is an iPhone that can’t use Apple Pay. And, of course, the iPhone 8 will likely be made entirely of glass. Either way, though, it’s good to know we can finally get our phones restored to a better look. Now, what can we do about the guy listening to polka music on his iPhone on the bus?