Since the beginning of the iPhone’s existence, we’ve been the best place in town for broken iPhones. We stopped supporting the 1st generation iPhone (the one with the aluminum back case) a long time ago. If you break it, it’s really not worth fixing because the part costs are high and it’s always a labor-intensive repair. In order to make it worth our effort, we’d have to charge $250 or more.
Why can we do the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS for $99 but have to charge $250 for the 1st generation? First, the parts are becoming scarce. Believe it or not, the 1st generation iPhone was pretty rare… the iPhone didn’t really become popular until the iPhone 3G with AT&T’s subsidized price of $200. Second, the screen assembly is all one piece on the 1st generation iPhone. That means that the glass, LCD and digitizer (the digitizer is what senses your touch) are laminated together. The iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS screen assemblies are not laminated: we can get in there and replace the glass/digitizer without replacing the LCD. Lamination dramatically increases our part cost and makes it more difficult for us to make the repair reasonable.
Unfortunately, Apple went with the same screen technique with the iPhone 4: it’s all laminated. To add more bad news… the screen assembly on the iPhone is more difficult to get to than the 1st generation iPhone. That makes it completely unrealistic for us to fix the iPhone 4.
We’re a small company that needs to make a decent profit on each repair in order to stay alive. There are companies online who do these in large quantities and are willing to make next to nothing. Very little profit in large volumes makes more profit… especially when you pay your employees close to minimum wage. Honestly, we just refuse to be that kind of company. We like being your neighborhood center for Apple repairs, and we’re not afraid to admit that it’s just not feasible for us to do some repairs.
So, what do we recommend you do with your broken iPhone 4? Take it to Apple. Apple is now offering replacement iPhones (every model) for just $200 plus tax. Obviously, that doesn’t make sense for the iPhone 3G or 3GS… we’re still replacing the glass on those for $99. However, if you have a 1st generation iPhone or the iPhone 4, Apple is definitely your best option. Signup for a Genius Bar appointment online and you’ll walk out of the Apple Store with a new phone in no time. Make sure you backup your information first! They do not fix your phone — they swap it.
Quick note on iPads: Apple’s replacement cost is roughly half of the device’s original cost. These are definitely still feasible to repair at that price. Let us know what’s going on with your iPad and we’ll get you a repair quote.
Hopefully that will help illustrate the main reason we don’t fix the iPhone 4: it’s just not feasible. There are a few other products that we’ve stopped repairing for the same reasons:
- iPod nano
- iPod touch
- iPod shuffle (this is just considered replaceable)
- Apple TV (at $100, it’s now replaceable as well)