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Summary:

There is little in a gadget lover’s life that’s more disappointing than taking a device in for warranty repairs, only to be told that it isn’t eligible because of water damage. iPad 2 owners may seldom have to face that kind of disappointment, new info suggests.

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There is little in a gadget lover’s life more disappointing than taking a device in for warranty repairs, only to be told it isn’t eligible because of water damage. iPad 2 owners may seldom have to face that kind of disappointment, according to new details unearthed from the Apple Genius database (via 9t05Mac).

A teardown of the iPad 2 performed by iFixit revealed the liquid contact indicators (LCIs) that typically indicate exposure to water were removed from the headphone plug, where they appeared on the original iPad. In their place, Apple has used a new pin design. But according to the Apple Genius database and other info gathered from teardowns, the LCIs haven’t been relocated elsewhere after their removal, and have also been removed from the iPad 2’s 30-pin plugs as well. Old instructions for Apple Geniuses detailed how to check the two LCIs on the original iPad (LCIs turn red on contact with liquid), while new instructions advise Geniuses simply to “check SIM card tray for corrosion.”

The new method won’t be nearly as sensitive to water contact as using LCIs, but that may be precisely the point. LCIs have been accused of reporting false positives in situations where users should reasonably expect their gadgets to be able to perform, like usage in the gym during a workout, or in other high-humidity climates and environments. Apple already relaxed its policy regarding water damage and iOS devices in January, when it added an amendment to the policy that states that if a customer disputes the reliability of the LCI reading and there are no other signs of corrosion, the device may still be eligible for warranty repairs.

This is great news for iPad 2 owners, as it means there’s one less hurdle towards getting your device repaired quickly and easily should you encounter any problems. Apple also wins by improving its reputation for delivering excellent customer service, and by avoiding future litigation related to LCI readings that negate warranties. The company may end up paying out a bit more in warranty service, but if it cuts down on costly litigation, the net effect on its profit margins may be nil.

I’m not planning on using my iPad 2 as an umbrella in a pinch or anything, but I am glad I don’t have to be as hyper-vigilant about atmospheric conditions before taking it out of the house. I’ve been burned by LCIs before, and I can breathe a sigh of relief now that my favorite gadget company is moving on. Anyone else feeling the same?

  1. What about iPod? I couldn’t use the warranty on a 2-month-old iPod because the LCI showed positive, even thouht my iPod didn’t get any wet.

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    1. Hopefully this means that Apple is moving away from using LCI in all its products. Unfortunately, that only really means that the next generation of devices will benefit. I definitely feel your pain. Have had a few devices suffer the same fate.

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