Apple has apologised for deliberately slowing down its devices as they age, and has announced plans for how it wants to make it up to consumers.
In a statement issued on Friday, Apple said it had faced some backlash after revealing that it slowed the processors in older iPhone models — including the iPhone 7, 6, 6s and SE — when their batteries began to wear out, and acknowledged that many customers felt “let down”.
“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,” it said.
“We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologise.”
Starting next year, Apple said it would make it cheaper to replace iPhone batteries, and attempt to be more transparent.
It said it would drop the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement from $US79 ($101) to $US29 ($37) and update its software to allow users to track the health of their phone’s battery to “see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance”.
A number of lawsuits have been launched in the US in the past week, seeking to represent potentially millions of iPhone owners nationwide.
The cases are seeking damages, and in some cases, reimbursement — ka-ching!
Apple argues that rechargeable batteries naturally degrade over time and slowing down the processor can help prolong the life of their devices.
But the lawsuits argue that decision could have been better communicated to Apple users, and may have driven them to buy new phones rather than just replacing the battery for a fraction of the cost.
Addressing that in its statement on Friday, Apple said it never intentionally shortened the life of its products to drive customer upgrades.
“It should go without saying that we think sudden, unexpected shutdowns are unacceptable,” it said.
“We don’t want any of our users to lose a call, miss taking a picture or have any other part of their iPhone experience interrupted if we can avoid it.”