Apple apologizes for iPhone slowdown drama, will offer $29 battery replacements for a year

From The Verge: Apple just published a letter to customers apologizing for the “misunderstanding” around older iPhones being slowed down, following its recent admission that it was, in fact, slowing down older phones in order to compensate for degrading batteries. “We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down,” says the company. “We apologize.”

Apple says in its letter that batteries are “consumable components,” and is offering anyone with an iPhone 6 or later a battery replacement for $29 starting in late January through December 2018 — a discount of $50 from the usual replacement cost. Apple’s also promising to add features to iOS that provide more information about the battery health in early 2018, so that users are aware of when their batteries are no longer capable of supporting maximum phone performance. This is a significant change in attitude around iPhone batteries — a decade ago, when the first iPhone came out, Apple said most iPhone users would never need to replace their batteries.

iPhone owners have long believed Apple artificially slows down older phones to drive new sales. But the new information from Apple about performance management poured gasoline on that long-simmering frustration, leading to a lot of bad press and multiple lawsuits. What made it all seem worse is that the scope of the performance penalty only came to light after being discovered by a developer instead of being clearly disclosed by Apple.

The iPhone 6, 6S, SE, and 7 have much slower peak performance as they get older and their batteries aren’t able to provide as much power to the processor. Apple had actually announced this change to performance along with iOS 10.2.1 a year ago, as the fix to a problem with the iPhone 6 that caused unexpected shutdowns if older batteries couldn’t provide enough power to the processor. But it wasn’t transparent about the performance penalty, and the new benchmarks suggest the penalty is much more significant than previously believed.

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