According to a new rumor, Apple is planning to roll out a new online diagnostic system for iOS devices (via HardMac). The system would be designed to replace the current practice of users having to make an appointment with a Apple Genius at the Genius Bar of a local Apple Retail Store. The new diagnostic system would apparently collect information about the iOS device that is having issues and use it to diagnose the problem.
The system will apparently work by sending an e-mail to the device in question which contains a hyperlink. When the user then visits the hyperlink using iOS Safari, the information about the iOS device is then collected. The information is then sent to the Apple service center to facilitate the repair or replacement.
The main concern with this type of system is how much information will be collected. While the details of the new system are obviously still at the rumor stage, it is being reported that Apple will collect information related to the health of the battery, the maximum battery discharge level, the version of iOS and whether or not a normal shutdown occurred the last time the device was switched off. The site that is reporting the rumor does not know whether the system will detect if a device is jailbroken and therefore not supported, but given that the Genius Bar will not repair jailbroken devices, it’s a fair assumption that Apple will build this functionality into the system.
Putting this sort of thing in context, Apple routinely requests information from Macs whenever an application crashes via the Crash Reporter application that pops up requesting users to send a crash report to Apple. While iOS does not currently have the same functionality, it’s likely that the new diagnostic system would collect the same type of information that users choose to submit following a Mac crash. It’s therefore up to the individual user whether or not they want to go down this road and send information to Apple.