Alongside Tuesday's iPhone 5c and 5s announcements, Apple snuck in some changes to its AppleCare+ protection plans -- some for the better, some not so much.
First off, dropping your pretty new iPhone just got a bit more expensive, as noticed by TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino. Although the purchase price of AppleCare+, the special variety of AppleCare for Apple phones and tablets, still costs $99, the price for each accidental-damage iPhone repair has increased from $49 per incident to $79. (You're allowed two such repairs over the two-year life of the plan.) The price of iPad accidental-damage repairs appears to be unchanged at $49 per incident.
Newly purchased AppleCare+ plans also no longer cover any headphones included with your device. Existing iPhone AppleCare+ plans presumably maintain the coverage and pricing promised at the time of purchase. (We've asked Apple to confirm this; we'll update this article with any information we receive.)
In positive news, the company also brought AppleCare+ to iPod models for the first time on Tuesday -- specifically, the iPod touch and the iPod classic. Apple previously offered standard AppleCare plans for these models for $59 each. The same $59 now buys you AppleCare+ which, as with the iPhone and iPad versions, now covers accidental damage -- although with a lower $29-per-incident fee (again, limited to twice over two years). Unlike the iPhone plan, however, the iPod version appears to cover headphones. Do current iPod touch/classic AppleCare customers get upgraded to AppleCare+, or is that only for new plans? Good question -- we asked Apple about that too.
The iPod touch is a natural candidate for AppleCare+ coverage, thanks to its just-as-easy-to-crack-as-an-iPhone's screen and nearly identical form factor. And the iPod classic, as the one mechanical hard drive-based iPod left, is a natural fit -- it's only a drop away from total failure.
As before, all AppleCare+ plans must be purchased at the same time as your hardware or within 30 days of purchase. The latter requires that you verify your purchase date and submit your iPod for inspection -- for example, at an Apple retail store -- to rule out any pre-existing conditions.
Alas, Apple appears to have dropped AppleCare for the iPod shuffle and nano altogether, though Panzarino notes that Apple has finally brought AppleCare to the UK, France, and Italy on Tuesday.