Apple apologized today for its handling of a battery issue affecting older iPhones, and offered to replace aging batteries for just US$29 (~RM117), dramatically less than the US$79 fee it would typically charge. The replacement service will be available worldwide, starting in January and continuing until December 2018. Apple will also be including a new feature in the next iOS update that will let iPhone users check the health of their iPhone’s battery.
The apology comes after several consumers sought legal action against Apple, accusing the company of deliberately slowing the performance of older iPhones to force consumers to upgrade their devices.
“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,” Apple said in a statement released today. “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.”
Apple also explained that as rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries age, their ability to charge diminishes, which could result in phones unexpectedly shutting down. To address this problem, Apple began including a power management feature in its software updates to maximize the battery performance on its older devices, which has the unfortunate side effect of slowing down performance.
The bigger problem is, Apple didn’t publicize the practice, which came to last week, when Geekbench was able to determine that older iPhones experienced dips in performance that could only be caused by a software change.
Apple said it initially attributed consumer complaints about slower performance to the kind of temporary sluggishness that can occur when an iPhone owner upgrades the phone’s operating system, or to release bugs.
“We now believe that another contributor to these user experiences is the continued chemical aging of the batteries in older iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s devices, many of which are still running on their original batteries,” Apple acknowledged.
While Apple has confirmed that the replacement battery program will be available worldwide, Apple Malaysia has yet to announce the price of local battery replacements.