Apologizing only as Apple can
It’s been a couple of weeks since Apple was outed for slowing down iPhones. Apple responded, explaining their motivations and touting the processor throttling as a “feature”. This, as expected, appeased exactly no one. Angry mobs on Twitter pulled out their pitchforks and lawyers dipped their pens in inkwells to draft up lawsuits against Apple. Painted into a corner by negative press and betrayed Apple fans, Apple decided to apologize in the most Apple way ever – by charging the aggrieved customers for a solution.
The solution to this so-called #iphoneslow is a new battery, for which Apple will happily relieve you of $79. This is because iOS purposely slows the phone’s CPU as its battery gets older and loses integrity in order to extend the life of the phone as a whole. On the surface of it all, this sounds like a perfectly reasonable thing for Apple to do, except that they didn’t really make it clear that they were doing this in the first place. Owners of slowing iPhones simply assumed that they needed to upgrade to get their speed back.
Angry mobs being what they are and emotional backlash being what it is, Apple was accused of engaging in planned obsolescence and
forcing encouraging customers to upgrade to newer iPhones. While I don’t think this is true (Apple usually goes out of its way to support and back-port features to older iPhone devices), I do think that accusations that Apple didn’t adequately inform users about this practice are valid. Were iPhone users told that their slow phone performance was due to an aging but replaceable battery or were they steered toward a new iPhone?
In either case, Apple’s response was to apologize for their lack of transparency, promise a software update that better explains what iOS is doing to increase battery lifespan, and slash the price of battery replacements to $29. The software update is already incoming and, as of earlier this week, the $29 battery replacement is live.
And it’s typical Apple genius.
First, an affected iPhone owner must bring their device into an Apple
store location. Second, they’ll need to wait for the replacement to be completed. This means they’ll have the opportunity to get to know other Apple products, like new iPads, MacBooks, Apple TVs, even new iPhones. Maybe, while they wait, they decide to buy new headphones or cases. Maybe they decide to upgrade to a new iPhone. And instead of making the battery replacement free (which I personally think they should and can financially do), they’re still getting $29 from every affected customer, getting free advertising for their replacement program, and have a fresh, angry mob of customers who’ll probably take advantage of the replacement when they might not have.
Whatever you think of the replacement program, in my opinion, if you have an iPhone 6 or newer and you’re noticing a slow down in performance, absolutely take advantage of this deal while you can. If you can manage to walk in and out without buying a bunch of other things, it’s a great way to get that new phone feeling without actually getting a new phone.