Don’t drop your iPhone while reading this news, but Apple is planning a major shift when it comes to the repair of cracked screens on its devices. In an exclusive new report, Reuters says the tech giant will put its proprietary machines for making repairs into third-party businesses for the first time.
Until now, Apple has closely guarded its Horizon Machine, only allowing them in its nearly 500 retail stores and mail-in repair centers. But screen repair is a multi-billion dollar global business, and Reuters reports that the change comes as wait times at Apple stores increase — as does pressure from several U.S. states with “right-to-repair” bills.
While many of us have sought out the cheapest remedy for an all-to-common problem, fixing cracked screens goes beyond just the glass, in some cases, Apple says. The Horizon Machine is needed when the fingerprint sensor attached to the back of the glass gets damaged during a drop of the phone, Reuters reports, adding that only Apple’s device can tell the iPhone’s processor to recognize a replacement sensor. Without it, the iPhone won’t unlock with the touch of a finger.
Apple, which refuses to say where the machines are made or by whom, told Reuters in an exclusive look at the repair process in a Cupertino, Calif., lab, that the aim is to make it look like the phone just came out of the box.
The initial rollout aims to put machines in 200, or about 4 percent, of Apple’s 4,800 authorized service providers — such as Best Buy — worldwide over the next few months, Reuters reports. The company plans to double that figure by the end of the year.