Published: Fri, December 29, 2017
Industry | By Dora Warner

Apple offering $29 battery replacements for a year after slowing down iPhones

Apple offering $29 battery replacements for a year after slowing down iPhones

Apple's public apology is a good start and the reduction in price for a battery replacement should please many disappointed customers.

Apple is already facing lawsuits in the United States over accusations of having defrauded iPhone users by slowing down devices without warning to compensate for poor battery performance. As the phones' batteries naturally degrade with use, they become able to output less power, leading the phone to unexpectedly shut off when the processor fires up to a high and demanding speed. However, this ended up resulting in reduced performance on older models, the company said.

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The new software update to be released for iOS in 2018 will feature the ability for users to "see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance". This explanation makes technical sense, many experts have said. AFrench consumer rights group filed a suit on December 27 that accuses Apple of degrading its old phones in order to sell new ones.

A French consumer association called "HOP" - standing for "Stop Planned Obsolescence" - filed preliminary, legal complaints in court against the two groups over the charges. A representative of the company did not immediately respond to The Independent's request for comment. The printer case is now under investigation. Its decision not to tell people about its changes feeds into a long-standing conspiracy theory that Apple slows down older phones so that people will be more tempted to buy new ones.

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Apple also faces at least eight lawsuits from iPhone owners in places including California, New York, New Jersey and even Israel that claim Apple owes its customers money for not previously disclosing the slowdowns. The suits ask the company to pay iPhone owners varying amounts.

South Korean government telecommunications officials have also said they will look into the reports, according to the Korea Herald.

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The problem now seen is that users over the a year ago could have blamed an ageing computer processor for app crashes and sluggish performance - and chose to buy a new phone - when the true cause may have been a weak battery that could have been replaced for a fraction of the cost, some of the lawsuits state. It also faced criticism over a lukewarm reception for its iPhone X and had to delay the release of its smart speaker, the HomePod, to 2018. Cook earned his $9.33 million end-of-year bonus thanks to strong stock market performance.

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