Forget About AppleCare+ If You are Gold Plating Your Apple Watch
I love my Apple products completely naked. They are objects of beauty, so covering them with cases and screen protectors, no matter how thin or “invisible”, simply impacts the form of the device and in many situations affects function as well.
However, this is a dangerous road to travel as the likelihood of accidental breakage increases dramatically. With that in mind, when buying a new Apple product AppleCare+ has always been an automatic purchase for me.
According to the terms of AppleCare+ two instances of accidental damage over the course of a two year period are covered, in which Apple will repair or replace your Apple Watch, providing you pay a AU$119 service fee per instance.
So, when reading of the the advent of third party gold plating services for Apple Watch, I wanted to find out whether this would impact any repair or replacement guarantees provided by my AppleCare+ coverage. The news is not good.
According to an Apple Customer Care representative I spoke with in Australia, if your Apple Watch is independently gold plated and subsequently damaged, Apple will not honour repair or replacement as the watch is deemed to have undergone a substantial change which may have inadvertently impacted the structural integrity of the watch.
I am not a lawyer, however this statement from Apple Customer Care does seem at odds with the Section 4.2 iii of the Product Disclosure Statement for AppleCare+ ( http://www.apple.com/legal/sales-support/applecare/applecareplus/docs/applecareplus_au_tc.html), which states that repair or replacement will not be considered if the device has been modified in a manner which affects “functionality or capability”, which, in my opinion, gold plating would not.
I have always been impressed with Apple and the ability for repairs or replacement to be assessed on a case by case basis by their staff in-store, and there are more stories of positive outcomes for consumers than negative ones. However with a new product category comes new challenges and it will be interesting to see how Apple evolves its customer care model for wearables.
Oh, and my watch is staying Stainless Steel for the moment. Although this is mainly based on the fact that I don’t want to be the wanker with the gold Apple Watch.