Apple issues apology for secretly slowing older iPhones | News | DW | 29.12.2017
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Consumer technology

Apple issues apology for secretly slowing older iPhones

The tech giant has offered a major price cut to replace out-of-warranty batteries that affect iPhone performance. Days before issuing an apology, it acknowledged it purposely slowed down older iPhones to prevent issues.

Apple on Friday issued an apology to consumers after it acknowledged it purposely slowed down older iPhones.

Earlier this month, the tech giant said it slowed down older iPhones to avoid unexpected shutdowns caused by battery fatigue, which prompted an angered reaction on social media.

'Planned obsolescence'?

  • Apple made its battery disclosure after independent researchers published their findings that the company secretly slowed down older iPhones
  • At least eight class action lawsuits have been filed against the tech giant for allegedly defrauding users, including in France, where "planned obsolescence" is outlawed
  • Apple said it will reduce the price of out-of-warranty battery replacement from $79 (€66) to $29 (€24) for the iPhone 6 model and those released afterward
Apple's battery disclosure played into a common belief that it implemented planned obsolescence, although there is no evidence to show it deliberately did so to encourage consumer upgrades

Apple's battery disclosure played into a common belief that it implemented "planned obsolescence," although there is no evidence to show it deliberately did so to encourage consumer upgrades

'Sorry'

In a press release announcing new measures to restore consumer confidence, Apple said: "We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize."

Julia Calderone, an associate editor at US-based Consumer Reports magazine, criticized the company for its response to the battery disclosure, saying: "How charitable of them. Maybe Apple should fix the iOS that destroyed my battery life instead of making me buy a new battery for a phone that's barely a year old."

Read more: How the iPhone changed the world

Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of tech blog The Verge, offered a nuanced response on social media, saying: "I really do think Apple's performance management around old iPhone batteries is quite clever. But they needed to be upfront about exactly how slow things got before getting caught out."

Why does Apple slow down older iPhones: Apple said it does so in order to preserve the iPhone experience for consumers. According to the tech giant, if it didn't slow them down, they could shutdown unexpectedly due to unevenly receiving power from a fatigued battery.

Will Apple update its software to reflect the issue: Apple said it will release in January a software update with "new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery."

What happens next: Apple will offer a significant price cut to replace out-of-warranty batteries in older iPhones across the globe beginning in late January and ending in December 2018.

Watch video 01:21

New iPhone release draws less enthusiasm

ls/rt (AP, Reuters)

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