The new plan is called AppleCare+, and is the only extended warranty option available from Apple for the iPhone 4S. This is separate from any replacement plan which may be offered by your carrier.
The primary reason you will need to understand how AppleCare+ works before buying your phone is you can't wait until later to purchase it.
Every new iPhone comes with a limited warranty on the hardware for 1 year and 90 days of technical support. Previously you could purchase AppleCare for your iPhone any time during that first year.
With the iPhone 4S you won't have that option. AppleCare+ must be purchased with the phone.
There is an exception if you pre-ordered the iPhone 4S. In that case, you will have until November 14 to buy an AppleCare+ plan for your new iPhone by calling 1-800-275-2273.
Not every mobile provider will offer AppleCare+ plans to subscribers. An Apple rep told PCMag.com you will still be able to buy a plan directly from them, but you should make sure not to wait until after your phone is activated.
The plan will cost $99, which is an increase of $30 from the AppleCare plan offered for previous generation iPhones. It extends both hardware replacement and technical support to 2 years from purchase.
If the hardware is damaged due to an accident, rather than a defect, there will also be an additional $49 fee for replacement. You will be limited to 2 accidental damage replacements per plan.
It's worth considering that the cost to replace your iPhone out of warranty would only be $199. Obviously, if you are the type of person who upgrades every time Apple releases a new iPhone, you shouldn't expect to actually get 2 years of coverage from an AppleCare+ plan.
In fact, unless you want the additional tech support or are extremely hard on your phone, AppleCare+ is probably not a good investment.
Written by: Rich Fiscus @ 14 Oct 2011 3:17