Updated! Apple is making amends to owners of older, and slower, iPhones.
In an effort to quell customer concerns over software updates that intentionally impede their handsets’ performance, the House That Jobs Built has issued a statement apologizing for its lack of transparency, and is offering to replace the batteries of affected out-of-warranty phones for $29, a $50 discount.
Word of the over-the-air (OTA) updates’ impact on older iPhones (models SE, 6, 6Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7 and 7 plus) first surfaced in a Reddit discussion, and was later confirmed by Geekbench plotter John Poole.
In the statement, Apple explained the chemistry behind, and limitations of, lithium-ion batteries, and acknowledged the effect of the OTAs, which were designed to prevent shutdowns by aging batteries during periods of peak-energy demand.
Contrary to charges in at least nine class action suits, the company claimed the updates were intended to improve the user experience, rather than compel customers to buy new phones.
“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,” the statement reads. “Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.”
At first the $29 offer was to go into effect starting in late January, but Apple moved up the timetable to immediately, and will continue to honor it through December 2018. However, the low-price replacement will only apply to batteries that Apple deems deficient, ostensibly determined by a battery health meter that will also be downloaded to phones via another iOS update early next year.