Apple sneaks in changes to AppleCare+

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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.) Existing iPhone AppleCare+ plans maintain the coverage and pricing promised at the time of purchase. The price of iPad accidental-damage repairs is unchanged at $49 per incident.

Although Apple’s site no longer lists headphones included with your device as being covered, Apple considers them part of the phone and continues to cover them.

Oh my! Apple upped the per-incident cost for damaged iPhones to $79.

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).

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.

The iPod touch and iPod classic are now eligible for AppleCare+, though other iPods aren’t.

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. Those who purchased iPod touch/classic AppleCare plans within the last 30 days can upgrade to AppleCare+, however.

Also, Apple removed AppleCare for the iPod shuffle and nano from its website, although you may still be able to get it by contacting Apple or inquiring when you purchase said hardware. Panzarino also notes that Apple has finally brought AppleCare+ to the UK, France, and Italy on Tuesday.

[Updated at 3:22pm pacific to clarify some details about the changes to AppleCare.]

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