Apple looks to reduce long wait times for iPhone repairs at its retail stores and plans to put its proprietary machines for mending cracked iPhone glass in about 400 authorized third-party repair centers in 25 countries.
Apple told Reuters that Minneapolis-based Best Buy will be the first so-called "Horizon Machine." Apple has already installed a screen-repair machine at a Miami-area store and another one is coming soon to an outlet in Sunnyvale, California.
Until now, Apple restricted use of its machines to its nearly 500 retail stores and mail-in repair centers; and it has guarded its design closely.
The change also comes as eight U.S. states have launched "right to repair" bills aimed at prying open the tightly controlled repair networks of Apple and other high-tech manufacturers. The proposed measures would require manufacturers to supply repair manuals, diagnostic tools and authentic replacement parts at fair prices to independent technicians and the general public. Until now, non-authorized technicians have been using copycat parts.
The initial rollout aims to put machines in 200, or about 4 percent, of Apple's 4,800 authorized service providers worldwide over the next few months. The company plans to double that figure by the end of the year.
Apple would not say where the machines were made or by whom.