Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, announced during an interview with ABC News that the company will make available to its users an update of its iOS 11 operating system that will allow them to see what the status of their battery is and disable the slowdown in iPhone performance with degraded batteries. This update would come in February, first – as usual – for developers and then for all users.
With this measure, iPhone owners will have the option of slowing down their device or not according to the state of the battery, after the controversy that arose when Apple itself acknowledged that it intentionally caused some models of iPhone with very old or worn batteries to work at lower performance, to prevent them from shutting down or collapsing. Batteries in poor condition run the risk of causing unwanted restarts,” said Tim Cook to justify this decision. Cook said it had been taken because it was the right one to improve the customer experience.
Apple uses lithium-ion batteries in its phones, which have more difficulty responding to significant demands for phone usage as they age, so the company decided to lower the performance of devices as they age.
Anyway, Cook wanted to remember that “any battery ages with time” and that in his opinion it would not be advisable to disable this new option. The next iOS update will also report when the iPhone is dropping its performance to prioritize battery life.
The Company assumes this change in the face of accusations of using planned obsolescence
During the interview, Apple’s CEO self-criticized how the company he leads has handled communication on this issue, acknowledging that “it may not have been clear,” and reiterated his “apologies to anyone who thought there were other motivations on our part. For this reason, Tim Cook wanted to emphasize that with the new update of the iPhone operating system “everything will be very, very transparent”.
After publishing a letter of apology to its angry customers, Apple offered to replace the batteries at a special price of 29 euros, throughout 2018, when the usual price of this replacement is 79 euros. The measure was well received, so much so that the new batteries are exhausted until those being manufactured arrive, and are expected to be available in late March or early April.
But since it never rains to everyone’s liking, this decision was also strongly criticized, as there was no shortage of people who thought that Apple should have offered this repair free of charge. For Cook, this might have been an option, but in his opinion “it’s more rational to offer the possibility” of empowering owners rather than offering a free battery change, although “everyone expects to have a new battery at some point”.
Since Apple recognized on December 21 what was happening with some models of its smartphone – especially iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 – some consumer associations and individuals in several countries – France, the United States and Israel – have filed lawsuits against the company accusing it of programming its product obsolescence to force its customers to buy a new phone.
In France, for example, it is illegal to intentionally shorten the shelf life of a product to encourage customers to replace it. A 2015 law makes it a crime, with penalties of up to two years in prison and fines of up to 5 percent of the company’s annual turnover.