consumer tech giant apple (AAPL -1.19%) The iPhone 14 lineup has just been released. You know drills, right? The processor is faster, the camera is better, and the new device offers some features that weren’t available last year.
In particular, the iPhone 14 brings an unexpected and very welcome improvement that could turn the iPhone into some downright Android users. However, Apple didn’t even mention this revolutionary upgrade at the launch event.
However again, it makes sense that Apple would want to keep quiet about this important redesign. There are good business reasons for companies to do so. Let me explain.
Apple’s User-Friendly Secrets
Apple is known for its strict restrictions on home repairs.
The iPhone and iPad are held together with special screws and sticky glue. When you manage to replace a cracked iPhone 13 screen yourself, you’ll find that the phone loses its automatic brightness and ambient light adjustment. The only way to keep these features intact is to pay an Apple technician for an authorized repair, who can use a special connector to update the screen’s expected serial number.
However, the recently released iPhone 14 series has some radical design changes that make it easier to fix than any iPhone released in the past six years. Independent phone repair businesses and enthusiasts like iFixit and Zack Nelson (JerryRigEverything) agree that this update is a game-changer. Both the screen and the back panel are relatively easy to remove, making handling common phone repairs a breeze. This includes replacing a cracked screen or an all-glass back panel, and you no longer have to disassemble the whole thing to replace a scratched camera lens.
“These changes to the iPhone will help it last longer and reduce its overall impact on the planet,” iFixit noted. “With any luck, it will inspire other manufacturers to follow suit.”
In Zack Nelson’s iPhone 14 teardown, he said the most frequently damaged parts are easily repaired in the iPhone 14. “I think the screen and back glass of the iPhone 14 is now easier to repair than most Android phones, something I never thought I would say.”
Remember, this isn’t a small redesign — it’s a complete rearrangement of the iPhone’s internal design. To accommodate the new frame structure, every component inside the iPhone was moved.
Why Apple didn’t take issue with this great update
It’s arguably the most user-friendly change to the iPhone platform in years, but Apple has kept it quiet. Here’s how the iFixit team described the situation:
All our – and your – work has paid off. We preached, lobbied, shouted in the streets. We’ve convinced Apple’s design team that repairability matters. Now we need your help convincing their marketing team to talk about it.
This is the deal. If Apple wants to steal customers from Android’s target audience, it will use the iPhone 14’s superior repairability to sell daylight for living. However, this is not the real idea. Some Android users are more price-conscious than Apple’s near-aficionados. If Cupertino also needs to lower the price point, it has no interest in generating additional sales.
This is especially true in this era of limited semiconductor supply. Apple can already sell as many iPhones as possible. There’s no need to cut iPhone margins in this market.
The company can also prove that an easy-to-repair phone will last longer in your pocket. Apple still wants to see you buy as many new iPhones as possible, preferably once a year. Why extend the life of high-margin products?
Apple still hasn’t really opened the door to home repair or alternative repair shops. Replacing the iPhone 14 screen will still remove some handy features due to the lack of serial number updates, even if you got a genuine screen from the Apple factory.
What’s the big idea?
Instead, Apple appears to want to increase profit margins on full-featured iPhone repairs. The back glass of the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be very easy to replace, with less risk of repair failure and shorter service times. However, Apple still charges a $549 replacement fee. That’s higher than the $399 cost of the same service on last year’s iPhone 13 Pro Max.
It’s hard to say how important AppleCare repair services are to the company’s revenue and profits. Apple doesn’t disclose the division’s sales or operating profit in its financial reports, bundling its results with services segment advertising, digital content and payment services revenue.
But services are Apple’s second-largest business category, after iPhone sales. It’s also the fastest-growing part of the company’s business. Anything Apple can do to expand margins in this key area should be considered.
Making iPhones easier to repair is a good example of this profit-boosting idea. Apple isn’t ashamed of making huge profits, which explains why many long-term investors love the stock.
Anders Bylund has no positions in any of the above stocks. The Motley Fool has a job at Apple and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: March 2023 $120 Apple call and March 2023 $130 Apple put. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.