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Iphone Power Businesses Apple Technology

Apple Apologizes For iPhone Slowdown Drama, Will Offer $29 Battery Replacements (theverge.com) 254

An anonymous reader quotes a report 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.
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Apple Apologizes For iPhone Slowdown Drama, Will Offer $29 Battery Replacements

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  • by Known Nutter ( 988758 ) on Thursday December 28, 2017 @06:45PM (#55825157)
    Saying all of that in the beginning would have saved them a lot of grief. It's not like they solved a mystery today. So, why did they not simply disclose this? They could have buried it in a KB article and been done with it.
    • Or they could have made it an on/off setting, but they know the Faithful(c) will STILL buy their overpriced shit no matter what. After all, you're nobody if you don't have the latest iPhone!

    • by inflex ( 123318 )

      Apple really didn't want to have to go down the route of indicating/advising that something is wearing out and could be replaced because it infers that the phone is serviceable, and if people feel their devices are serviceable then that'll tend to bite in to the annual churn & profit rates.

      From a technical perspective, throttling back the phone could have been pitched as a nice feature but again, it opens up the can of worms on serviceability, particularly in light of Apple's strong push against the "Ri

    • Elements tend to show that Apple did this on purpose, with iOS 11, to push people towards an upgrade. I know people who thought about upgrading (to 8 or X) a few weeks after iOS 11 was released.
      1) The device capacities were fading, little by little. This is suspicious: a 3 year old iPhone 6, having an old battery, did not go slow the first day, but very softly over several weeks (while its battery was bad from the first day of iOS 11).
      2) The iPhone 8 is not subject to that "feature", while its battery wi
    • Exactly. I don't mind that they reduce performance to extend battery life, I do mind that they don't provide a way of seeing the battery status. On macOS, you can go to System Information and it will tell you the cycle count and full charge capacity of the battery. If the cycle count is below the rated maximum (I think it's 1,000 complete discharge cycles these days - mine's done 378 after 4 years of use) and its full-charge capacity is no longer at least 80% of the capacity when new, then they'll replac
      • by Bongo ( 13261 )

        It is a negative of the "walled garden" -- my Apple TV was losing track of some TV episodes, and on a Mac you might think, well I can try deleting some caches. Instead, it is cloud weirdness, where the instant I went to report the problem with that TV show, using Apple's iTunes problems website, I received a message saying that the, now two weeks old, and missing, episode, was suddenly available. All I did was select that show on the report page... I didn't even get as far as clicking to submit the issue. *

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday December 28, 2017 @06:54PM (#55825213)

    From the article on the $29 battery replacement:

    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

    I'm more happy about that than anything, it will be great to have something concrete to point to if someones phone seems slow and I want to rule out an old battery being part of the issue.

    • Crap, that means I'm going to have to downgrade to iOS11 after all. There's nothing else there except stuff that take up cpu cycles for eye candy and the increasingly crappy Music app (if you just want to play music you have downloaded onto the device that is).

    • And you are sure they will not lie about that?

    • Thanks, but that's a bit late. How many people wouldn't have upgraded to a 8/X if their iPhone didn't behave snailish (or if they'd known the slow-down is programmed / linked to the battery health)?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    That's inside a phone SEALED SHUT with **GLUE**.

  • So early on after iOS 10 was released, we started to see a significant number of people reporting an issue where their phone batteries would be at 30% (or thereabouts) and suddenly the phone would just quit. This apparently is the problem the 10.2.1+ slowdown was intended to fix, and the one Apple is saying is due to older batteries not being able to provide as much power under load, as it were.

    So if this was simply an "old degraded battery" issue - why didn't we have people reporting these problems in iOS

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      Still sounds like bs to me lithium batteries are very good at providing amps up until they run dead so it seems to me that their battery meter just needs to recalibrate. So 1% battery actually means 1% instead of 30% meaning 1%.

      The older IOS versions could handle this as their batteries degraded did they just forget how to do that?

      Also IIRC they implemented a low power mode years ago that would lower the processor speed at 10% and below but nothing directly related to the battery capacity.

    • More current draw. Bigger screens, more CPU, different radios.
  • by phalse phace ( 454635 ) on Thursday December 28, 2017 @07:25PM (#55825361)

    by including in iOS the ability to see health information of battery like you can on MacBooks. Show the Cycle Count and Condition and other pertinent info so users have a better idea of when the battery is bad and needs replacing.

  • ... it's better to ask forgiveness than permission.
  • Sort of stuck now (Score:3, Interesting)

    by joe_frisch ( 1366229 ) on Thursday December 28, 2017 @07:54PM (#55825489)

    If they remove the slowdown, then they will be admitting that the excuse was a lie in the first place. So providing inexpensive batteries doesn't force them to admit to lying and open themselves up to a lawsuit.

    Obviously I don't know if the original excuse was true or not, but this was pretty much the only thing that they could have done in either case.

    Does anyone know enough about Li Ion batteries to weigh in on whether or not this makes sense? Does the peak power capability drop enough that its likely it couldn't support the power use?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The limiting factor in how much power can be supplied is usually the physical layout of the battery. In particular the size of the cathode. Because Apple want physically small batteries they selected marginal batteries.

    • Even if battery life degrades as they claim, the only reasonable way to throttle performance is dynamically according to actual battery health info, not force it through OS updates. The only consumer friendly option is to let us decide if we prefer charge or performance.
  • Sorry, not sorry (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Thursday December 28, 2017 @07:56PM (#55825507) Journal

    These are my favorite types of corporate apologies:

    "We at Apple want to apologize to any of our snowflake consumers who misunderstood our intent to force them into our new models. We did not mean to offend these little pricks who expect our products to work more than a couple of years. Now send us some money and we'll totally fix the problem we created."

  • Seriously... How can anyone even think that this was an unintentional by-product of some other update? Has Apple really gotten that sloppy with their software development process? ... Really.... Apple is famed for their software developemnt process and the user experience it creates. imo, this was an intentional "feature" that the fan bois would love. Unfortunately, it backfired.
    • Has Apple really gotten that sloppy with their software development process?

      Have you not been paying attention to the parade of Apple software bugaboos, large and small, that’ve occurred in the fairly recent past? Do you - or anyone in your circle of friends - honestly think iOS 11 is functionally better than iOS 10? Do you honestly believe that High Sierra is an improvement over Sierra, or that Sierra was an improvement over El Capitan?

      Looking back a bit further... did you watch as Apple basically threw away a professional niche they pretty much owned with the ill-planned

    • Has Apple really gotten that sloppy with their software development process? ... Really.... Apple is famed for their software developemnt process and the user experience it creates. imo, this was an intentional "feature" that the fan bois would love. Unfortunately, it backfired.

      Have you been living under a rock for the last 3-4 years? Apple's software quality is on par with a high school computer class these days. They can't even merge OS fixes from one OS forward into the next release branch.

    • It would put them closer to par with their hardware development process. They've been designing hardware with major flaws for years and never acknowledging a thing. If a customer complains loud enough, they get a free replacement with no explanation - but no recalls, no attempts at anything better. Especially see every Macbook Pro for the last 10 years.

  • The cynic in me asks (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stabiesoft ( 733417 ) on Thursday December 28, 2017 @08:03PM (#55825539) Homepage

    Did they do it all on purpose for some twisted marketing reason, from slowing it down, to leaking the problem, to giving a solution. The X is not selling well. I was at my carrier's store getting a new phone today (not an apple) and asked about the X. The manager said they had 20 in stock and they were not moving. Worse for them, they own it, can't discount it and can't return unsold inventory back to apple. There could be some very unhappy carriers if the get stuck with a bunch of X's. Could this battery getting headlines actually help sales of the X in some weird way?

  • is make a striped down bare bones OS that just does the basic things the phone was made for, make phone calls, text msgs, camera, at least allow them to continue being used as a phone if the full features are vulnerable or no longer available as supported secure software, no need in annoying customers any worse than necessary or bricking otherwise good phones both of which would be bad business ideas
  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Thursday December 28, 2017 @09:42PM (#55825931)

    Your phone depends on complex thermal and power management to avoid unpleasant things like suddenly shutting down, burning your privates or bursting in flames. When the later case occurs, like with Note 7, you have a cause to complain. Otherwise, it's normal for performance to vary based on the weather or a particular bumper case. Would you prefer for devices to be artificially throttled when conditions allow faster operations so you don't get disappointed when they are a little slower?

  • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Thursday December 28, 2017 @10:53PM (#55826205)

    Oh, goodness gracious- you caught us. We're so embarrassed that we'll use this opportunity to sell you something else, like an overpriced battery. Aren't we just a bunch of naughty little rascals?

    Hey, look over there- it's the iPhoneXs! The "s" is for "suckers", but you knew that, and we know you'll STILL buy it!

    • Oh, goodness gracious- you caught us. We're so embarrassed that we'll use this opportunity to sell you something else, like an overpriced battery. Aren't we just a bunch of naughty little rascals?

      $29 is a good price for an official battery replacement. That's not the problem. The problem here is that they're only going to charge a reasonable price for one year, then raise the price again.

  • All of this would be prevented by offering user-replaceable batteries. But gracious, no, we can't have that! We must keep customers on a hedonic hamster-wheel of annual upgrades! And wouldn't it be blasphemous if the phone had to be a whole millimetre thicker to support such replacement!
  • by sabbede ( 2678435 ) on Friday December 29, 2017 @09:05AM (#55827809)
    Why? Because this - "their batteries are no longer capable of supporting maximum phone performance." - is a lie. Even an old battery is perfectly capable of providing enough power to keep clocks at max, the charge just won't last as long. A true statement would be, "old batteries can't support both our advertised performance and advertised battery time" (I'm blanking on the right term for how long a full charge lasts).

    An actual fix would be to allow users to decide whether they want performance or battery time.

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