Apple says that the demand for replacement iPhone batteries has been very strong. The American smartphone maker also said that it may offer rebates to customers who had earlier paid the full price for new batteries. The revelations came in a letter addressed to US lawmakers.
Last year, Apple confirmed that a software update designed to prolong battery life on older iPhone models could slow down performance. The admissions came amidst increased suspicion among iPhone customers that the company was deliberately slowing down older phones in order to push sales for newer models. Apple denied this saying that the slowed performance was always in customers’ best interests.
In response to the public outrage that the admission elicited, Apple decided to offer an in-store battery replacement service for older models. The service would cost only $29, a figure lower than the original battery replacement cost that stood at $79.
Apple’s letter was addressed to the US Senate Commerce Committee. The committee had earlier written to Apple seeking explanation on a number of issues. To start with, the Senate Committee sought to know why the company didn’t notify its users that the said updates could slow down the performance of their phones. The committee argued that even though it was understandable that Apple was trying to deal with battery issues on older iPhone models, customers had the right to know that certain updates would affect the performance of their devices.
However, Apple never made any effort to disclose this information. In the letter addressed to lawmakers, the company admitted that it had known about battery issues with older models since 2016. The company added that it had launched a software update in 2017 to deal with the problem. However, users were not notified of the potential implications that the update could have on the performance of their phones.
The subsidized battery replacement program is expected to continue beyond 2018. Apple said that if it doesn’t find a solution to prolong the battery life of older iPhone models without slowing down their performance, the battery replacement program will continue.
The US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed last week that they had started an investigation on Apple regarding possible violations of securities laws. Apple confirmed that the investigations were underway. In a statement released last week, the company noted that it had received questions from several government agencies and it was working to duly respond to them. Apple added that it had never and would never do anything to intentionally reduce the life of any of its products or degrade the user experience just to push sales for newer models.
Apple will also need to deal with 50 proposed class action lawsuits that are expected to be filed by its users. The lawsuits are related to Apple’s latest software update. The users allege that the update caused their phones to shut down unexpectedly and affected performance substantively. There are also other investigations underway in different countries around the world. Government agencies in Brazil, Italy, South Korea, and France have started to investigate this matter after they received many complaints from iPhone users.