On Wednesday, Apple introduced the Apple Watch Ultra, a $799 wearable accessory aimed at people participating in extreme activities like climbing mountains, running ultra-marathons or diving. But like MacRumors points out, breaking its screen, button, sensors, or other miscellaneous parts during any of these activities could be very expensive: Repairs to the watch will cost $499 if you don’t have AppleCare Plus (we’ll get to that in a minute), according to an estimation tool on the Apple site. That’s significantly more than the $299 repair for an entry-level 8 Series.
Replacing the battery on an Ultra will also cost more than Apple’s less extreme watches, at $99 instead of $79. It makes sense; the Ultra likely has a much larger battery than the Series 8, given that Apple estimates it will last twice as long.
While I understand it’s always fun to scoff at Apple’s sometimes exorbitant prices — I still occasionally chuckle at the $19 microfiber polishing cloth — I kinda get why repairs to the Ultra will cost so much. Apple Watches are typically tiny and stuck together, and neither of these factors make repairs easy. This more or less leaves Apple with two options when you send them your broken watch; he can simply recycle it and send you a refurbished one, or he can hire people with serious skills to fix it. None of these options are exactly cheap.
Fair or not, the Ultra’s high repair price isn’t unique. Apple estimates you’ll have to pay the same $499 to have a Titanium Series 7 Edition repaired, which follows given that the Ultra is made from the same material. (A footnote says shipping is free for Apple Watch editions, where you have to pay for it otherwise. Apple didn’t immediately respond to The edgerequesting comment on whether this would also cover shipping the Ultra.) These aren’t even the most expensive repairs, though; if you break your ceramic series 5 you could be out $800 if you want it fixed without AppleCare Plus.
Speaking of AppleCare, it really is the solution here. Apple’s Protection Plan for the Ultra is $100 upfront (or $4.99 per month), and that will keep repairs down to a much more manageable $79. If you get your Ultra serviced just once – and let’s face it if you’re one of the “outdoor adventurers” Apple markets the watch to, you’ll probably have to do it at some point – you’ll come out on top with AppleCare . Plus, Apple just made the policy cover an unlimited number of repairs instead of just two per year, which is a boon for those who will push themselves and their gear to its limits.
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