iPhone 5 display replacement
About two weeks ago I noticed my iPhone 5 had a faint, but ugly pink hue in the center of the screen. At first I suspected some software issue, because it looked as if the hue was exactly in the area an iOS7 table view uses for its cells to be displayed (i. e. full screen, but with a few points of inset on the left and right edges). Apparently someone must have left some kind of view with a red-ish color behind the table view that was now shining through, because of all the translucency effects iOS7 comes with.
Turns out though, that this was going on in all kinds of apps, including Instapaper, Pocket, Chrome, Safari Calendar etc. All those certainly would not put any views behind the actual content. Getting more suspicious I showed the problem to several colleagues who all did not see it at first, but once I had pointed it out to them (most visible on a white background) none of them could "unsee" it, either.
I checked the warranty status online using Apple's Self-Solve Page and realized that I was the second-to-last day of the 1-year warranty for the device.
First order of business was to go to a nearby Authorized Apple Partner to ask for a warranty replacement or repair. Though upon comparison with the manager's iPhone 5 he could see that he had the same issue (now also not being able to unsee it, you are welcome ;)), he said that it would be easier for me (no time without a phone) if I contacted Apple while within the warranty period.
So I followed the advice and called AppleCare the next day. The representative on the phone suggested to visit a nearby Apple Retail Store if I would like a replacement unit or immediate repair, if I didn't mind driving there (about 50km from where I live). Because the problem had been reported while within the first year, it would be ok if they did not have an appointment right that day.
So next thing I did was make an appointment for the Genius bar the the Apple Store CentrO which was exactly one week past the original warranty.
Arriving there at the bar, the Genius could immediately confirm the color issue and started checking out my warranty status. From there the — what I thought would be a 20 minute procedure — journey began.
Because the Apple Care agent I had called a week ago had apparently forgot to change my warranty status (their term, no idea what it exactly means), they could not offer me a free exchange or repair. So I had to call Apple Care yet again to have them do that. Anyone who has had contact with them knows, that this will take a while. While I was on the phone my Genius finished his working day and handed my case over to a colleague.
After about 10 minutes waiting I got someone whom I told about the story again and asked him to fix the warranty status for the colleagues at the store to see. He told me he was not authorized to do so, but would now check with his supervisor. After another 15 minutes of waiting he was back, telling me all would be good and that he would now pass me on the supervisor.
She — a nice lady this time — told me she would not extend my warranty for 7 days, enough to cover me for this appointment at the store, to that they would be able to offer a free exchange or repair. According to her, the store employees would be able to see the change immediately, having access to the same database. She also left me with her email address and phone number, so I could contact her directly should anything be left clear or to just provide some quick feedback once my problem had been resolved.
Back to my Genius — who was apologizing for the long wait I had already had so far — he could not see the change to the warranty status yet. After refreshing my case file in his app, he finally said he would now proceed on his own authority to not keep me waiting much longer. I was already expecting to be able to leave really soon™, because I was expected elsewhere.
However, once I had taken my phone out of its case, he put it into a bag and said that because it was a screen related issue, they would now replace the screen. He would make sure that I got an expedited repair and that the guys backstage would hurry, but he could not make it much shorter than another 45 to 60 minutes of waiting. So much for my dinner plans with the wife… Instead I went to Starbucks first and then spent some 30 minutes playing with iPads and MacBooks in the store.
Finally, after what totalled to about 2 and a quarter hours, I had my phone back, with a new screen and without the pink tint.
While in the end everything turned out satisfactorily for me, I must say that there is room for improvement here (which I also sent by email to the 2nd level support agent)...
Whenever contacting Apple Care close to the end of the warranty period, make sure to have them immediately extend your coverage for a week or so to give you time to get an appointment at the Genius Bar. Had I known that before, the whole procedure would probably have taken not longer than an hour, including the repair.
One more thing
PS: Is it just me, or is the waiting music on the AppleCare hotline just horribly bad quality? Seems whenever the music got quieter, it was more or less replaced with all static and garbled sound. Had the voice quality not been great before, I could have believed the connection failed somehow.
Update: See AppleInsider for an update regarding the music quality :)