Apple has updated its AppleCare+ schema with improvements to battery replacement coverage. Previously, devices covered under AppleCare+ would be eligible for a battery replacement when the cell fell to under 50% capacity; that number has now risen to 80%.
Battery replacement continues to be a main source of concern for smartphone and watch users, as the devices are used daily and expected to last years. This is double true of smartwatches, which, though a newer category, are likened to regular timepieces. While it’s unclear whether Apple intends to refresh Apple Watch hardware annually, making it easier and cheaper for customers to replace aging battery cells should extend the life of existing devices.
AppleCare+ costs $65 for an Apple Watch Sport and $89 for an Apple Watch, extending the one-year warranty by an additional two years. The coverage also supports two additional cases of accidental hardware damage at $89 each for the Apple Watch Sport, and $99 for the Apple Watch. A similar deal is available for the iPhone, which costs $129 for the coverage, and $79 for each accidental damage incident.
Under normal use, an Apple Watch battery is expected to have around 1,000 charging cycles, which translates to a lifespan of between two and a half to three years, similar to a smartphone. The difference, though, is that it’s unclear whether the Apple Watch will have a comparable replacement cycle to smartphones, since it is sold without subsidy, and doesn’t take on the computing onus of a smartphone.