In a ruling that doesn't seem to have made a splash anywhere outside Apple blogs, a Dutch court has ruled that Apple's practice of providing refurbished units as replacements for faulty iPads illegal. This ruling is likely to set a precedent for other EU member states to follow.
Given how difficult it has made some of its devices to repair, it's going to be tricky for Apple, its retail stores and authorised repairers to maintain a level of customer service without the option of just replacing a faulty unit with a refurb.
The case made by the Dutch court is solid. A new device should be replaced with another new device if it is found to be faulty beyond repair.
Working around this problem won't be too difficult for Apple - it will need to offer the consumer two choices: either a swap out with a refurbished unit to be undertaken immediately or the repair and return of the original unit at some reasonable delay. The consumer is then able to make an informed choice as to whether to accept the refurb or not.
Whether being offered that choice will be seen as the same high standard of service as before will be down to individual consumers. Although they would be receiving exactly the same service it may start to look like something a lot less satisfactory to some eyes.
One to watch for when consumer satisfaction stories start appearing towards the end of 2017.