What’s Wrong With the iPhone 4?

Interesting item crossed my desk this week with regard to mobile phone warranties. The ACCC and Telstra have come to an agreement that the country’s biggest Telco will take responsibility for making sure manufacturers have 24-month warranties on handsets with 24-month service contracts from Telstra.

Cool, I hear you say, and the ACCC were pretty happy, too. However, there was one caveat – Apple. Apparently, Telstra refuses to include them in the warranty plan, but the why is the big question.

When contacted by us as to the reason they were excluded from the deal, Apple replied with a terse note that they “recommend you speak to the ACCC with regards to their statement.”

The ACCC says that as far as they are aware, Apple only offers 12 month warranties on their iPhones and that Telstra are in negotiations to extent said warranty.

To add to the intrigue, Telstra gave us a brief and ambiguous statement that it“assesses iPhone mobile handset warranties on a case-by-case basis in accordance with our legal obligations and does not apply a blanket rule.”

So, there are a couple of things at play here:

  • Why does Apple only give 12 month warranties when all other vendors are prepared to give 24-months on Telstra service plans?
  • Is it just the way Apple do business, or do they not trust the phone to last that long?
  • Why does it appear Telstra is only prepared to assess the iPhone on a case-by-case basis, but give full coverage to all other handsets?

I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist. I think it more likely that Apple, who amongst the CE community is known for its secrecy and tight control over its products, is once again swimming against the tide. You’ll probably find (and I have no way of knowing this unless I hunt out the T&Cs of every Apple product in the marketplace) that it is a company-wide policy on all its products. However, there was that antenna problem recently, and when you start looking around, and all you get is coy answers to transparent questions, one has to ask "is there more to it?"

But the question I would be asking myself if I was an Apple exec, would be this: “Sure there are people, who no matter what we put out, will by our product. But why would somebody buy an iPhone 4 from Telstra with a 12-month warranty, when they can get a deal on other smartphones, which are just as good (well, an Apple exec probably wouldn’t say  that), and have a 24-month warranty?”

Well, Mr or Ms Apple exec, they probably wouldn’t. An informed person would realise that all the smartphones are pretty much the same these days, so why not go for one with a longer warranty?

Have you had any problems with warranties from Telcos or vendors? Leave a comment and let me know.