Earlier this month, Apple fans and tech enthusiasts alike were alarmed to learn that the software and device giant was issuing a secretive update to older iPhone models that greatly inhibited the device’s ability to draw on its battery. Users had long speculated that Apple was intentionally impacting the performance of older phones as a form of planned obsolescence in order to push users to purchase the newest generation of devices. Apple was forced to come clean on the issue after users confirmed the existence of said software and the revelation has prompted lawsuits throughout the United States.
The company has since issued an apology for the software update but has maintained its position that nothing nefarious lay behind the feature. Rather, they claim the update was designed to maintain a phone’s basic functionality and performance despite the natural degradation of their lithium battery. They identified the problem as ultimately a “chemical aging” issue. That said, many critiqued the company for not simply addressing the problem by offering new batteries to allow users to keep their tried and tested older iPhone models. Apple seems to have listened and is now offering new iPhone batteries at a discounted price for owners of the iPhone 6 and later versions.
Apple initially planned to launch the initiative at the end of January of next year, but some locations are already offering the new batteries. Typically priced at around $80, the company is enabling iPhone owners to get them at a discounted rate of just $29. Furthermore, most of the locations that are currently offering the batteries are able to install them the same or next day. 12 locations are currently offering the service ahead of the January 2018 timeframe, with the rest likely to follow after the new year.
In addition to the discounted replacement battery program, the company is also making changes to its software updates. The company told users that future updates would offer “more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery,” though precisely what this means is unclear. Apple has yet to confirm if other phones will receive the battery limiting update and whether or not the new software will enable users to opt out of the feature. Along with their apology, Apple also clarified that their batteries should be viewed as “consumable components,” indicating that they may gravitate more towards offering outright replacements rather than software solutions to the problem in the future.