January 19th 2018
By Mike Flaminio
In a wide-ranging interview with ABC News, Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed the iPhone battery controversy. Apple implemented a software update to improve device stability when batteries degrade. The consequence of that change typically results in lower processor performance to improve battery performance behind the scenes.
He hypothesized that when Apple released software updates to slow down older devices in older models to keep up with the new features, people may not have been "paying attention" when they explained what it was.
"Maybe we weren't clear," he said. "We deeply apologize for anyone who thinks we have some other kind of motivation."
Cook the focus was on the "user experience," and the code was released to prevent the probability of an unexpected restart while using the phone.
In addition to the lowering the price of the batteries for certain phones, last month Apple will release software to allow people to see how healthy their batteries are, saying "all batteries age over time."
Apple provides low-level details of changes in software updates, so technically he's correct that people didn't notice. Apple doesn't typically make efforts to highlight changes unless it's a major new feature, but Apple should have done a better job anticipating this would be an issue and did a better job informing customers. I'm surprised that Apple would be caught off guard here. There have been grumbling for years that Apple intentionally slows down device performance with software upgrades that coincide with new devices. I would think anything around this subject should raise a red flag.
Anyway, the new software features seem to address the situation. It's unrealistic to expect batteries to last indefinitely, so people shouldn't be upset at having to get a replacement if their device is giving helpful information on its status. I think though Apple needs to reduce the price of battery replacement from the normal $79. Either cut its profits on the service or figure out a more economical way to swap batteries to require less labor.