Published: Fri, December 29, 2017
Science | By Dan Gutierrez

Apple slashes iPhone battery replacement cost by $50 amid criticism

Apple slashes iPhone battery replacement cost by $50 amid criticism

Apple has apologized to customers for how it rolled out an update that can slow down older iPhones.

It's been a tough last few months for Apple. iOS 11 introduced myriad bugs that required multiple subsequent patches, HomePod missed its launch this year, and then it had to deal with public outcry on battery and performance throttling.

In response to the angry outcry from iPhone users, Apple says it is slashing the cost of their iPhone battery replacement, reducing the price from $50 to $29 for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later. The price will go back up to the usual $79 in 2019.

In a posting on its website Thursday, Apple apologized over its handling of the battery issue and said it would make a number of changes for customers "to recognize their loyalty and to regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted Apple's intentions".

The company's confirmation of a long-suspected phenomenon triggered class-action, breach-of-contract lawsuits. Apple said the problem was that aging lithium batteries delivered power unevenly, which could cause iPhones to shutdown unexpectedly to protect the delicate circuits inside. It did not say if it will give them the ability to turn the feature off or on.

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"First and foremost, 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 upgrade", Apple wrote.

In Apple's confirmation of the "feature" it introduced a year ago, it didn't say that this was a common practice in the smartphone industry or anything of that sort.

Instead, Apple acknowledged that it slowed down iPhones and explained why only after a Reddit user revealed that replacing the iPhone's battery would restore the handset's performance to its former glory. On Dec. 18, two days prior to Apple's disclosure, Primate Labs also published a study concluding that software changes were behind decreased iPhone performance. It did not tell customers how the update worked at the time.

While Apple originally thought the issues with the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus and iPhone SE had to do with upgrading the iOS operating system, the company now believes the issue unfolds because of the batteries.

Bob O'Donnell of TECHnalysis Research, said "hit products" still represent "an enormous amount of the company's overall value."

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