Apple finally admitted and confirmed on Wednesday 20th December 2017 (their local time), that in their software update, they limit the performance of their older smartphones due to battery issues. The reason, according to Apple, was to prevent unexpected shutdowns and protect the phone’s electronic components as the lithium-ion batteries degrade.
Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.
Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.
In another rare statement from Apple on the 28th December 2017, the tech giant apologised and issued a significant price drop for battery replacements for those out of the warranty period.
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.
Now these recent statements from Apple only came out after Geekbench developer and founder of Primate Labs, John Poole, decided to investigate a Reddit post about iPhone performance and its battery age. Let’s say the findings before the first Apple announcement confirmed that performance drop significantly with an older battery and goes back to normal when replaced.
This caused an outcry, with public perception of Apple adopting a planned obsolescence strategy to encourage more people to buy a new iPhone by being silent about the battery issue. Their case isn’t helped by the fact that replacing an iPhone battery is a potentially pricey, time consuming and a tricky process. Your only real option is to go to an authorised Apple reseller/service provider, less you void your warranty.
So due to all of this over performance and batteries issues for iPhones, there have been multiple lawsuits being filed against Apple. You have three in Los Angeles for fraud through concealment and unfair business practices, breach of an implied contract, and misdeeds, which include fraud, false advertising and unjust enrichment. Israel has a class-action suit for failing to disclose software updates. While France can have apple execs facing jail time and cost Apple five percent of the income for “planned obsolescence”, an actual law that Apple may have breached.
What ever your thoughts, at least some Apple consumers get cheap official battery replacements for a year and the rest of us can make fun of Apple.