As it goes with technology, dated devices tend to lack the speed and competency they were once equipped with. When performance lags, customers usually opt to upgrade to the latest model, especially when it comes to frequently used devices like smartphones. But when it was discovered last month that the iPhone battery slowdown users were experiencing was intentional, drama ensued.
All About the iPhone Battery Slowdown
Apple caused quite the controversy when it was discovered that internal software caused the iPhone battery slowdown.
After initial skirting around the issue, Apple finally confirmed what iPhone users have long suspected: older generation phones experience a significant decrease in performance speed. All was well and good until the tech behemoth admitted that the slowdown was intentional; caused by a new coding feature added to their iOS software last year.
Apple claims the practice helps combat problems that arise from iPhones’ aging lithium-ion batteries. As the battery gets older, it is unable to hold a charge. This causes batteries to abruptly shut down if overused or under too much stress. The iOS software Apple implemented can prevent these disruptions by slowing capability and performance. But because it seemed to be a device issue rather than a battery issue, users were buying new iPhones rather than simply replacing their batteries.
Customers and consumer advocacy groups were outraged by the apparent lack of transparency. It seemed to some that Apple was benefiting from customer confusion, which the company deliberately caused. Once an iPhone user on Reddit discovered the issue, the online backlash was swift and fierce. Just over a week later, the company was forced to formally apologize for the mix-up, claiming, “First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.”
To appease disgruntled customers, Apple announced that it would reduce the price of its battery replacements through the end of the year iPhones with an expired warranty. In conjunction, the company stated that the new iOS software update in 2018 would improve user experience and include features that allow users to determine the condition of their iPhone battery. Also, a new webpage covering the issue, which the company deemed “power management,” and workarounds have been added to the Apple Support site.
The new support page lists the effects an iPhone user might notice when “power management” is enabled, including:
- Longer app launch times;
- Lower frame rates while scrolling;
- Backlight dimming (can override);
- Lower speaker volume; and in extreme cases
- Camera flash disablement.
Apple also noted elements of the phone that would not be affected by the slowdown, including:
- Call quality,
- Photo and video quality,
- GPS performance,
- Location accuracy, and
- Apple Pay.
Bloomberg reports it is likely that the company will take a hit where it hurts: profit. The article says that the decision to quell customer concerns with a discounted battery replacement service will put a dent in sales of new iPhones. Apple’s decision was a smart public relations move, but it could end up costing the company. iPhones account for nearly two-thirds of Apple’s sales. Bloomberg predicts that as many as 16 million iPhone upgrades could be lost this year.
But the damage is already done for some customers. Multiple lawsuits have already been filed against the company, alleging that Apple “knowingly misled consumers about battery problems in an effort to get them to upgrade to the latest iPhone models.”
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