We're already on the record saying that AppleCare+ (or any other bulk third-party insurance) is a bad deal for your school. But let's break down what AppleCare+ is, how it works, and how it's priced for bulk K-12 device purchases.
Buying Bulk iPads for Schools
Apple's price list for K-12 device purchases can be found here. It's a little confusing to look at so let's break it down.
The list contains every product that's available for education pricing. These items include everything from MacBooks, iMacs, iPads to Apple Watches, Beats headphones, and accessories. (If you know the model of the device you're looking for, you can find it more easily by hitting CTRL or CMD + F and searching for the model number.)
Each device is available to purchase individually, in packs of five or ten for bulk orders, and with an optional 2-4 years of AppleCare+ coverage per unit.
For example, let’s take a look at the options for the 10.9” iPad with Wi-Fi and 64GB of storage (model MPQ03LL/A).
Single unit price: $419
10-pack price: $4,140 ($414 each)
10-pack + 2 years of AppleCare+: $4,730
Doing the math shows 2 years of AppleCare+ costs a school $59 per device.
The important thing to note is that bulk orders must be done using 10-packs. If you want to buy 100 iPads, you’ll need to purchase ten 10-Packs. So the price of adding AppleCare+ stays the same whether you order ten iPads, 100 iPads, or 5,000 iPads. It will end up costing you $59 x the total number of units purchased.
Now that we know how the pricing works, let’s dig into what AppleCare+ actually covers.
How AppleCare+ Works
Like most electronics, Apple devices include a limited, one-year warranty that provides coverage against defects in materials or workmanship. These warranties do not cover anything Apple determines to be outside the scope of regular usage (for example, if an iPad overheats after a hot day at the beach), and they do not cover wear and tear or accidental damage.
AppleCare+ both extends this limited warranty and adds additional coverage like accidental damage. According to Apple’s terms and conditions, each AppleCare+ plan allows for two Service Events per year – a Service Event being any time you send/take a device in for accidental damage repair.
In order to get service on a damaged device, you can take it to a retail location, mail it to a service center, or, in the case of iMacs or Mac Studios, have a technician come to you. (You also have access to 24/7 phone support to help resolve any software issues.)
Now here’s where things get tricky: with each Service Event, an additional fee must be paid depending on the type of device (think of this fee as the insurance deductible). For example, the service fee for iPads is $49, and the service fee for MacBooks ranges from $99 to $299. If you break a screen on an iPad in year one, you’re out the original $59 for the service agreement (insurance) plus the $49 service fee (deductible). That repair cost you $108 total (which is about what it costs to have the glass replaced at a third-party repair company).
Read the Terms and Conditions
With any service agreement, it’s important to read through the terms and conditions to get a complete understanding of what you’re purchasing and what you’re protected from. You may also find stipulations that aren’t otherwise obvious. For example, this bit from AppleCare’s terms:
DURING HARDWARE SERVICE, APPLE WILL DELETE THE CONTENTS OF THE COVERED EQUIPMENT AND REFORMAT THE STORAGE MEDIA.
This may not be a huge deal, but knowing that any service will result in data being wiped will likely impact how you manage your fleet. AppleCare+ terms and conditions for iPad can be found here. Terms and conditions for Mac, here.
Is AppleCare+ Worth It for a School?
No, absolutely not. In fact, for any organization with 100's or 1000's of devices, you can expect to lose significant amounts of money buying AppleCare+. We go in-depth with the economics of why in this video and blog, but to be clear, if it was actually a good deal for consumers, they wouldn't be offering it.