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Apple raises price of AppleCare+ support for new iPhones

AppleCare+ provides two-year protection for devices, but you'll pay $30 more to cover a new iPhone 6S or 6S Plus.

AppleCare+ is more expensive for the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, possibly due to the new 3D Touch feature. CNET

People who buy the new iPhone 6S or iPhone 6S Plus will have to shell out $129 for AppleCare+ support, a $30 increase over the $99 charged for the iPhone 6 and earlier model iPhones.

The AppleCare+ page for the next-generation iPhone lineup displays the new price tag along with the usual details on what AppleCare+ provides. The page for the iPhone 6 and previous models still shows the usual $99 price.

What could account for the difference in pricing? Apple unveiled the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus at an event in San Francisco on Wednesday. The new iPhones retain many of the features of their predecessors, including the same screen sizes. The processor is faster, the camera is better and other parts are improved, but those changes shouldn't affect the AppleCare+ price. Instead, two new features touted by Apple -- the taptic engine and the accompanying 3D Touch feature -- may be responsible for the higher cost of AppleCare+, according to the folks at MacRumors.

Already built into the Apple Watch , the taptic engine tricks your finger into believing that you're feeling a vibration, bump or click when you tap on an area of the screen. The watch uses the taptic engine to give you the sensation of someone tapping on your wrist. The taptic engine in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus ties in with the new 3D Touch feature, which reacts differently based on how much pressure you use when you tap the screen. For example, a light press lets you peek at a certain item, such an individual email, without leaving your screen. A heavier press pops the full message open so it displays full screen.

In the Apple Watch, the taptic engine uses a motor to mimic the feeling of being tapped or buzzed on the wrist. Initially made only by Chinese components maker AAC Technologies for the watch, the taptic engine was reportedly found to be defective, breaking down over time. That issue allegedly caused a delay in the launch of the watch, causing Apple to bring in a second manufacturer.

The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus also use a motor to power a much-larger taptic engine. Though the purported bugs found in the initial engines for the Apple Watch seem to have been worked out, the technology itself is clearly a sophisticated and sensitive one, which could certainly account for the higher cost of AppleCare+ support.

And it's not just the upfront cost. The service fees are higher for the new phones, according to the AppleCare+ page for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus:

AppleCare+ for the iPhone extends your coverage to two years from the original purchase date of your iPhone and adds up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage, each subject to a service fee plus tax ($79 for iPhone 6 or earlier models, $99 for iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus).

AppleCare+ provides repair or replacement coverage from Apple-authorized technicians and covers both parts and labor. You can include AppleCare+ with your iPhone when you buy it or add it within 60 days of your iPhone purchase.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.