Apple will reportedly be introducing a new pilot program starting in March. The plan will allow Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers to continue repairing older iMacs that are about to slip into the company’s “vintage” classification.
According to an internal memo obtained by MacRumors, the new pilot program, which starts March 1 and goes through August 31, 2018, extends the repair period for iMacs produced in 2011 for six more months. The program only applies to 21.5- and 27-inch iMacs and is subject to parts availability. It is also restricted to US-based customers. Once the period has ended, these iMacs will only be repairable for another two years in Turkey and California.
Apple’s support policies for older products is limited. As a rule, Apple Stores and other authorized repair facilities will continue servicing devices for five years after manufacturing has ceased.
After five years, the product is considered “vintage” by Apple and service and repair options become limited. Vintage products can only be repaired in the country of Turkey and the state of California in the United States due to local statues requiring extended service.
After seven years, the device is considered "obsolete" and no parts, repair, or software is offered for the product. This policy is the reason first generation Apple TVs will no longer be able to connect to the iTunes Store starting in March as we reported yesterday.
Some of the repairs listed in the memo include “display and hinge, logic board, graphics card, hard drive or SSD, power supply, and other components.” There was no mention of part scarcity or if the program included RAM.
Apple also did not indicate if the program would be expanded to include other products but the word “pilot” suggests they are leaving their options open for future implementation.
Since the source of the news was an internal communication, we should expect Apple to make a public announcement soon. At that time, the company may have more details as to the intent and the reasoning behind the program.