Apple to let other shops use its fancy machine for iPhone repairs

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Got an iPhone with a cracked screen? Apple is rolling out a high-dollar remedy to a repair shop near you.

The tech giant is making a fancy repair gadget called the “Horizon Machine” — which it says will do an impeccable job fixing an iPhone screen for as little as $129 — to 400 authorized third-party repair centers in 25 countries.

That price is down from the $229 that was previously being charged at selected Apple stores equipped with Horizon Machines. Still, it’s well north of the $60 that many mom-and-pop repair shops and mall kiosks currently charge.

Apple, for its part, says the Horizon Machine does a better job with the fix. If the sensor attached to the screen gets damaged, for example, the Horizon Machine will instruct the iPhone processor’s silicon brain to recognize a replacement sensor. Otherwise, the iPhone won’t be able to unlock with the touch of a finger.

Among the first third-party outfits to get a Horizon Machine is Best Buy, which has long sold and serviced Apple products. The electronics retailer already has one of the screen-repair machines at a Miami-area store and one coming soon to an outlet in Sunnyvale, Calif.

“We’ve been on a quest to expand our reach,” an Apple executive told Reuters, which first reported the news. The exec said wait times for customers needing phone repairs have grown recently at many of the company’s retail stores.

Apple does not disclose revenue from its repair services, but analysts say the company’s annual revenue from repairs could range as high $1 billion to $2 billion.

The change comes as eight US states have launched “right to repair” bills aimed at prying open the tightly controlled repair networks of Apple and other high-tech manufacturers.

Apple said legislative pressure was not a factor in its decision to share its technology.

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