Apple has delivered an expensive shock to millions of iPhone users
Sales of the iPhone 13 are soaring as millions of users around the world rush to buy Apple's latest smartphone. But all these new owners are now facing unpleasant surprises.
According to an eye-opening report from iFixit, every iPhone 13 includes a "new screen repair trap that could change the repair industry forever."This trap will cost you time and money.
Tearing down the screen of the iPhone 13, iFixit found that Apple had added a small chip (" about the size of tic-Tac ") to the bottom of the 13 screens. The chip is a microcontroller that pairs each iPhone 13 with its display. When the display is damaged and needs to be replaced, the microcontroller must be told to pair with the new screen. Doing so requires Apple Services Toolkit 2 (AST2), an expensive proprietary service that requires Apple's consent and certification.
What happens if you don't pair the new screen with the iPhone 13's microcontroller? Face ID, the iPhone's main security feature, is disabled and users receive a message saying "Face ID cannot be activated on this iPhone."This happens even if the repairman is using a real Apple monitor, which, as iFixit points out, is unnecessary:
"As far as our engineers know, Face ID on the iPhone 13 should work easier than ever after the screen is replaced because its scanner is completely separate from the display,"
"It's important to note how completely unprecedented this is," the site continues."Changing screens is very common. Tens of thousands of repair shops around the world support their communities by replacing screens for customers at competitive prices. Apple seems to have flattened the industry in one fell swoop."
iPhone 13 owners should take note, even if you've only ever had your device repaired by Apple. First, it eliminates choice, so those who don't have an Apple store nearby have fewer options. Second, without competition, Apple is free to set whatever price it wants. Apple has already charged $600 for non-warranty glass replacements for the iPhone 11 Pro Max, effectively forcing users to pay AppleCare+ insurance ($200 / year).
Apple has a history of blocking third-party maintenance issues with Touch ID, iPhone batteries, and cameras. Each time, the public reaction was hostile, and Apple called them all back and said it was a bug. With enough public outcry, Apple might make the same claim and fix it. In short: It's time for iPhone 13 owners to get angry.