In a letter to customers, Apple has made a surprise gesture: it's reducing out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacements to $29, ($50 less than the usual $79 price) through December 2018. That comes alongside a rare apology from the company.
The letter, hosted on Apple's website (opens in new tab), is a response to outcry after the company confirmed that it slows down iPhones to keep the phones from unexpectedly shutting down or dramatically decreasing battery life.
Many see this as a planned obsolescence--a way to get people to buy new phones when their old ones slow down. But Apple vehemently denies that claim, stating that "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 cheaper battery replacement will be available for "anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced," though it hasn't yet disclosed what state your battery will need to be in to get a replacement. All iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X models should still be under the standard warranty. In the past, iPhone owners would need to check its degradation level from Apple support, and it would need to be quite low to warrant a replacement in warranty. Apple is promising more details soon on its website.
Additionally, the company is promising updates to iOS in early 2018 with more information about the state of the battery to see if its age or condition is affecting the phone's performance.
Apple started this battery management with iOS 10.2.1 to avoid shutdowns in the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus. Similar updates for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were added in iOS 11.2.
Since Apple confirmed that iPhones were being slowed down, numerous lawsuits have popped up that are aiming for class action status. Customers have been up in arms on social media, and trust in the company seemed to erode slightly. This rare apology from Apple may start restoring consumer trust, but we're looking forward to the changes in iOS to see just how serious Apple is about giving consumers information about their devices.