I’ve just had an experience that has brought home why we pay the premium prices for Apple devices. Yes, the hardware is top quality and the software works well with the hardware that Apple maintains. But what really sets Apple apart from other companies is the support. So, to the story.

My wife has an iPhone 6S Plus with 128 GB of storage in gold. I bought this for her the day after they officially became available in September of 2015. This phone has worked well for her until last week when the battery started acting up.

Fig. 1: iphone 6S Plus 128 GB in gold

The Battery Health in Settings [Settings -> Battery -> Battery Health] reported 78% maximum Capacity and had an error stating that the phone had stopped operating due to insufficient power. The recommendation was to have Apple technicians replace the battery.

I moved the SIM from the 6S Plus into my old iPhone 4S so she would have a phone while hers was out of action.Note that you need a little plastic frame around the SIM card to change the nano SIM to a micro SIM for the 4S. While I was getting the 4S going I noticed that there was an update to the operating system.

Fig. 2: iPhone 4S 64 GB
Fig. 3: Updating the iPhone 4S – Thank you, Apple!

I made an appointment at our local Apple store and their diagnostics verified that the only thing wrong with the 6S Plus was the battery. They had a replacement battery in stock so I left the phone with them for an hour and a half. When I picked up the phone it seemed to work well and I delivered it back to my wife. The cost for replacing the battery was $65 CDN plus tax – pretty reasonable to renew a phone that is working well otherwise.

The following day we discovered that the camera and flash weren’t working on her phone so I booked another appointment at the Apple store. Yes, it was a bit frustrating but I was confident that the problem could be fixed so I wasn’t too worried about it.

At the Apple Store, the diagnostics were run again and the issues were verified. The young lady helping me went away for a while to discuss with colleagues how best to resolve the situation. She came back with a little box and said that they could either send the phone out to try to get the camera replaced, or I could have this new 6S Plus. She did the necessary virtual paperwork and I brought the new phone home to update the OS, restore the phone from the backup I made before initially taking it to Apple, and finally, put a bunch of music on it.

This level of support: seeing an OS update for a 4S when official support ended with iOS 9.3.5 in August of 2016, and then Apple accepting responsibility for the camera not working in the 6S Plus and replacing the phone is amazing to me. Replacing a battery is a fairly risky operation on a phone that is sealed as tightly as an iPhone and I signed a waiver accepting the risk.

Over the years I’ve seen various people estimate the actual cost of building an iPhone to compare with the retail cost. What I’ve seen is that the price to build the phone is about one third of the retail cost. This is not just a big profit margin, it allows Apple to take care of the excellent hardware it provides, and the people who become devotees. This is the reason people stay with their Apple products.