While Apple has its own official service centers in major cities around the world, these are not enough to support over 1 billion Apple users to date. Due to the high need of efficient and timely after-sales services that can reach even far-flung towns, Apple is now enabling an online service where users can book for repairs with its authorized third-party service centers.
Apple hasn't released an official statement just yet with this new feature, but it is already up and running.
The new online booking feature lets the user choose the troubleshooting tab's "Bring in for Repair" where he/she will then type in one's location. Once this is done, a map will show with Apple's own service centers, as well as its authorized third-party service centers with information on availability and distance from the selected site. For some service centers, online booking is not yet available; however, each store's opening and closing times, address, and contact numbers are all published on the site. This new feature makes it easier for any Apple user to determine which service centers are authorized, saving them the hassle of having to do their own research.
All Apple-authorized third-party service centers are able to handle all Apple devices such as iPhone, iPad and iMac, even those past their warranty.
This new feature proves particularly useful for cities heavily reliant on Apple products. One place is the San Francisco Bay Area where people have to wait for at least one week to get an appointment at official Apple stores. With third-party service centers now published on the site, it appears same-day repair appointments are available at Best Buy, Clickaway, Mobile Kangaroo and Computercare.
Some find this move laudable, saying that having other service providers up on the Apple site "provide(s) some much-needed relief for Apple retail stores that are unable to keep up with repair requests." One says he supports this new feature because "people (in) demand (of) walk-in availability" can now be addressed. Others say it's a good break for their favorite third-party service centers, who are now included on the list of authorized centers.
However, some people are not happy, saying that this proves Apple's inability to provide excellent service. Some say they find it puzzling that they are encouraged to trust third-party centers, "That is ridiculous. How does anyone at Apple find that acceptable?" Others comment that the new service hasn't been working for them, receiving instead error messages when they try to book for repair appointments online. Some say they've tried the service but was told by the authorized third-party center that they do not have the parts to fix some iPhone versions. The user continues, "I'll stick with the two-week wait and two-hour roundtrip drive to the real Apple store."