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Cupertino is reportedly planning changes to Applecare with a move towards shop-based iDevice repairs and a lucrative subscription service scheme.

The AppleCare and AppleCare+ schemes look likely to be overhauled in America this autumn, with the altered services rolled out across the world afterwards.

Tara Bunch, an Apple vice president, is said to have told a "town-hall" meeting of employees that the fruity firm is changing its after-sales policies.

Repairs to iDevices will be carried out in-store, which could save Apple up to $1 billion. Currently, customers can pay a "swap out" fee to get a refurbished model. Instead staff will be given new equipment and more spare parts to allow them to carry out the repairs.

This move is likely to be welcomed by eco-warriors, as there is less waste involved, and customers too, because they may be able to keep their phone's contents.

Applecare will also be reconfigured, attaching the service to a customer, rather than a device, and paid on a monthly basis. Although full details are sketchy, this could mean customers can buy personal support for all their Apple products at the same time, rather than covering each one separately. This service would come with extended telephone support.

Speaking to AppleInsider, an anonymous Cupertino employee said: "The biggest announcement was the way repairs for iPhones will be handled soon. The way it is now, if almost anything is wrong with an iPhone, iPod, or iPad, the entire device is exchanged for a like-new, remanufactured device, whether brought into an Apple store or sent in for mail in repair. Now we are starting to actually repair the products and return the same device to the customer."

As well as the Applecare changes, Cupertino is rumoured to be looking to beef up its squad of 4,200 technical advisors, who work from home. This team is set to grow even more, despite numbers having doubled in the last year. There will also be more online support offered, with specially commissioned video content and websites designed to tackle common complaints.

Apple staff will be more active on forums, offering advice to the calm and collected commentators known to gather in them.

At the moment, Apple offers a one year limited warranty and 90 days of complimentary phone support. Applecare extends the warranty claim period to three years for computers and two for iDevices. ®

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