Apple Responds to Controversy on iPhone Batteries and Performance

Apple: “A Message to Our Customers About iPhone Batteries and Performance”:

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.

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 upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that. […]

To address our customers’ concerns, to recognize their loyalty and to regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted Apple’s intentions, we’ve decided to take the following steps:

  • Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018. Details will be provided soon on apple.com.

  • Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.

This is a terrific response, both in terms of explaining what has actually been going on, and in terms of the steps they’re taking going forward. Reducing the price of authorized battery replacements to $29 is really great.

The upcoming update to iOS 11 with more information on the state of the device’s battery is good news too. Right now, the Battery section inside the Settings app will warn you about the state of your battery — but only if the battery is in truly dire condition. What iOS should do — and it sounds to me like this is what Apple plans to do — is tell you about the state of your battery as soon as its condition drops beneath the threshold at which the performance throttling features kick in.

The funny thing about Apple is that their communication problems tend to happen only when they don’t communicate at all. This whole iPhone battery controversy erupted only because Apple had never explained what was going on, which opened them up to accusations of nefarious intent. When they do communicate, they do so with clarity, plain language, and honesty. And, when called for — as in this case — humility.