iPad Battery Replacement Policy Likely Points to Potential Issues
Apple's strategy for replacing faulty iPad batteries amounts to sending back a whole new, date-free device, at a cost of $105.95 to the user. The policy, says one analyst, is likely a plan to head-off expected battery issues.
Apple's Battery Replacement Service for the iPad is a bit of misnomer, Apple Insider reported over the weekend, reading into some Apple fine print.
Instead of replacing a battery with a "diminished ability to hold an electrical charge," Apple will simply replace the iPad for a fee, after shipping costs of $105.95. Adding to this environment eee-gads is the news that all user data on the device will be lost.
"You will receive a replacement iPad that will not contain any of your personal data," Apple states in a support document on its Web site. "Before you submit your iPad for service, it is important to sync your iPad with iTunes to back up your contacts, calendars, email account settings, bookmarks, apps, etc."
If the iPad is damaged in a non-directly-battery-related way, it isn't eligible for the "Battery Replacement" service. Legit battery issues, however, should be directed to an Apple retail store, Apple Technical Support or an authorized Apple service provider, according to Apple.
Users can also expect "service to be completed" within about a week of sending the iPad to Apple. (Which, read carefully, isn't saying the device will be returned within a week.)
"I can see replacing the whole device," Roger Kay, principal analyst with Endpoint Technologies, told eWEEK. "The battery replacement is a factory install. It's not terribly convenient to lose the use of the device for a week, and the data transfer thing is a bit tricky. Essentially, you should back up your data and wipe your slate clean, so to speak, before sending it to Apple. That'd be the best practice."
Kay added that the $105.95 is called a service fee, but is really the user paying up front for the new battery.
"The fact Apple came out with [this support document] before shipping implies that it sees some potential battery issues during rollout," Kay said, "and this program represents a move, albeit a rather lame one, to head them off."
The iPad is currently available for pre-orders and will arrive in stores April 3.
How Apple's newest innovation will be received has been widely interpreted. Investment firm Broadpoint AmTech, however, believes early estimates were "overly pessimistic" and in a March 9 research note to investors wrote, "If the devices lives up to its potential, we believe actual unit shipments could approach 7 million-plus units in [calendar year 2010]."