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Though some critics like to vilify Apple (s aapl) for its practice of building devices with inaccessible batteries, the benefits definitely outweigh the consequences for such a tradeoff. The MacBook Pros are rated for up to eight hours of battery life, the iPod nanos get up to 24 hours of audio playback and the new iPad is touted to go for 10 hours on a single charge. But what happens when your iPad doesn’t get a great charge anymore? Similar to programs in place for the MacBook Pros and iPhones, Apple has announced its iPad Battery Replacement program and it’s not a bad option, all things considered.
The rules are pretty simple. If your iPad no longer holds a charge as good as it used to, you can pay Apple a service fee ($99 plus $6.95 shipping) and it will replace it. Of course, if your iPad is damaged because of an accident, neglect, liquid contact or if there is another hardware issue, then Apple reserves the right to say “No, sorry.” Fortunately though, unless your glass screen has been smashed, Apple is rarely picky on these types of issues. If your device turns on and displays what its supposed to on the screen and can connect to a computer to sync, it’s pretty much eligible for a battery replacement.
What is interesting about the iPad Battery Replacement program is that Apple outright acknowledges that your data will not be preserved because you will receive a replacement iPad. In reality, this is what usually happens with an iPhone replacement as well, but its refreshing to know Apple is actually acknowledging this now. Replacement devices (iPad or iPhone) are technically considered “refurbished” but, as a company who puts extra care into every little detail of the experience, refurbished to Apple means “almost new” to most users. As is the case with iPods and iPhones (and will likely be the case with the iPad) the “refurbished” unit will come with a new exterior case so even if your previous unit did have a few superficial scratches, you’ll end up with a fresh and clean device.
Arranging for a replacement can be done by calling AppleCare or through Apple’s website. Additionally, users can get service through the Genius Bar at their local Apple Store. Once the initial iPad demand settles, Apple Stores will begin to carry additional iPads as “service parts” which means that, should you need a battery replacement, you can simply walk into an Apple Store, pay your fee and walk out with your replacement.
If you’re not keen on paying Apple such a price for a battery replacement or you’re one who doesn’t sync their device and therefore do not want to lose all your apps and settings, you can look into third party service providers for battery replacement options. These will likely be cheaper than going through Apple, but this route means you will lose the benefit of getting a nice, new and clean scratch-free exterior.
What are your thoughts on Apple’s built-in batteries and their replacement plans? Have you had your iPhone or iPod replaced because of battery issues? Do you think their plan is fair? Sound off in the comments and share your thoughts!