iPhone Repair Past, Present & Future

iPhone Repair Revolution

The mobile industry was revolutionized by one man on June 29, 2007. The world had never seen a device like it. A device that was your music player, phone and internet browser all in one. People simply had to have it. It's something that wasn't a thought in 2007. It was ahead of its time and Steve Jobs and Company  had it figured out. I remember the pinch to zoom on a photo and how impressed I was. The moment I interacted with the iPhone in 2007, I was hooked.

 

The follow up to the original iPhone was an equally amazing feat. It got faster, lighter and more storage capacity. The iPhone 3G would be one of the most repairable devices to date. The simple plastic design, black or white color, and easy to remove display made it a very repairable device. Being a repairable device is great for the manufacturer and even more for consumers. The glass on this model can be heated off and re-bonded to the plastic frame if the screen suffered a shattered glass. The way I got into the iPhone repair business was an accident. I dropped my iPhone 3G and broke the LCD. The LCD is the image part of the screen. I found a local UCSD student that repaired my iPhone in 15 minutes. I found him through Craigslist and the rest is history.

 

At that moment in 2008, I discovered the iPhone repair business in its infancy. Glass screens could be ordered for low prices and people needed repairs. With $200 in parts and Craigslist ads, my mobile iPhone screen repair business began. From 2008 to 2009 I would travel all over San Diego answering calls from customers that needed their iPhone 3G and 3GS cracked screen, broken glass, digitizer, LCD, water damage, battery and switch repairs. Word of mouth referrals started to come. At the end of 2008 to the beginning of 2009, most of the repair businesses around found clients from craigslist and a simple website. This was before Apple maps and Yelp. There were very few repair shops at this time as well. Some computer shops started offering screen repair and limited service on iPhones. The technicians that strictly serviced iPhones seemed to get really creative with tools and tricks of the trade. Repairs were often done on a 3G or 3GS in about 20 - 30 minutes.

 

2010 was the beginning of the fused glass and LCD. Screen cost suddenly shot up due to the glass and LCD both needing replacement. Many repair technicians stopped repairing devices due to the difficulty, time and cost to repair an iPhone 4. Parts we're about 4-5 times the cost of what an iPhone 3G glass cost. It was a time that forced small businesses to adapt and get creative. Quality screens were a bit more difficult to come by due to a lot of aftermarket screens on the market that didn't meet the standards of the manufacturer. Repair shops in 2010 started to really gain traction and the iPhone was extremely popular. I recall getting many calls for not only the front screen but also the back glass. This phone was my favorite design due to the sleek front and back glass and speed of the device. For the iPhone 4 and 4s the entire device had to be disassembled for a screen repair. This process often took 30-40 minutes to complete. The screen cables had to be slid into a slit in the chassis which felt awkward. This model Apple didn't repair screens for and business for 3rd party repair shops was exceeding all other models.

 

The iPhone 5 was the beginning of easily serviceable iPhones very similar to the iPhone 3G and 3GS. 2 screws on the bottom and a suction cup was all that was needed. Screen repairs could be completed in as little as 15 minutes. At this time repair shops started popping up everywhere. The mall kiosks, local downtown businesses, mobile repairs such as iCracked and those computer shops that almost exclusively started doing iPhone repair. Parts were easily accessible and Apple sold millions of iPhones. I believe the iPhone 5 is the most repairable of - iPhones due to it's easily removable display and modular design. Battery replacements and small parts can easily be changed. The iPhone repair business is reaching new heights with investors and entrepreneurs starting new repair businesses and parts supply chains.

 

Currently Apple, Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot and iCracked just to name a few all offer repairs in their stores or mobile service. It seems it is a service that is in every city in America. There is an overwhelmingly high demand for mobile devices and the repair of those devices. What revolutionizes the business of iPhone repair is speed, quality and service. The American dream is alive and thriving with the advances of the iPhone and other smartphones. I once was asked how many auto repair businesses do you see in your town? I answered a lot. My client said you will probably see the same amount of repair shops due to growing demand of iPhones and how easily they break. This stuck with me and keeps me motivated to tell as many people as possible that their broken iPhone iPad or Mac can be repaired.