Apple has issued a lengthy letter of apology to its customers around the controversy that the company was intentionally slowing down old iPhones. Apple’s apology letter, posted on the company’s website, says there has been some “misunderstanding about the issue” of how it was handling the performance of older iPhones.
Apple is also reducing the price of a replacement battery for out of warranty phones to $29, from the original price of $79. In India, the cost of a replacement battery will be around Rs 2000 plus taxes, confirmed Apple. The current price was Rs 6500 for users of iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, etc. This is for the original iPhone battery from Apple itself, though we will have to see how it changes after the new price reduction.
For those who missed the controversy, Apple recently admitted it was ‘managing peak performances’ with iOS updates in older iPhones with aging batteries. The company said this was done to avoid sudden shutdowns on the older iPhones. These shutdowns took place because the battery was unable to handle peak performance and Apple says this software management was done to ‘prolong the life’ of the device.
The admission was seen a confirmation of the ‘planned obsolescence’ theory surrounding Apple products, and it was argued the company was forcing consumers to upgrade, rather than encourage replacement of battery, which was the real issue at fault. Apple is also facing eight lawsuits in the United States now in the light of this admission and another one in Israel.
Apple in its letter of apology says, “We’ve been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making.”
The iPhone-maker’s statement goes on to reject the ‘forced upgrades’ theory. It says, “We have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.” Apple says their goal has been to ensure the iPhone lasts as long as possible.
The statement has then gone on to explain Lithium-ion batteries become less effective as “they chemically age and their ability to hold a charge diminishes.” Apple has said this same thing in its earlier statement, when it spoke about managing the performance via software updates.
It adds, “A chemically aged battery also becomes less capable of delivering peak energy loads, especially in a low state of charge, which may result in a device unexpectedly shutting itself down in some situations…It should go without saying that we think sudden, unexpected shutdowns are unacceptable. We don’t want any of our users to lose a call, miss taking a picture or have any other part of their iPhone experience interrupted if we can avoid it.”
Apple’s statement also explains with iOS 10.2.1 onward they started adding software updates to improve this “power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE.” Later this was added to the Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus with iOS 11.2.
The statement explains that the update ensures that “iOS dynamically manages the maximum performance of some system components when needed to prevent a shutdown,” adding that for most these changes will not be noticeable, but in some cases users will see a slower launch time for apps and other reductions in performance. Apple also says if a customer replaces the battery, performance is restored to normal.
However, the company has admitted they got feedback from some customers who pointed out they were seeing slowing performance. At first, Apple thought this was due to upgrade in the software which tends to have what it calls a “normal, temporary performance impact” due to minor bugs, etc in the initial release. Now Apple says it thinks the battery factor is another important one, especially on older iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s, particularly those running on their original batteries.
Apple also says the battery price is now $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced. This will come into effect in late January and will be available worldwide through December 2018. Apple also says they will issue an iOS update in early 2018 with new features to give users “more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.”
The letter ends sayings, “At Apple, our customers’ trust means everything to us. We will never stop working to earn and maintain it. We are able to do the work we love only because of your faith and support — and we will never forget that or take it for granted.”