Apple apologizes, lowers iPhone battery replacement price

A customer shows his iPhone 5 smartphone purchased at the Apple Store in Paris on September 21, 2012. A French activist group on Wednesday filed a criminal lawsuit against Apple after confirming its been slow down older iPhones because of issues with its battery. Photo by Ian Langsdon/EPA

Dec. 28 (UPI) — Apple announced Thursday it will lower the price to replace iPhone batteries after facing legal action for slowing older phones down.

The company announced it will lower the price of out-of-warranty iPhone 6or later battery replacements from $79 to $29 throughout 2018 and will update its iOS operating system with features allowing users to monitor the condition of their iPhone’s battery.

“We’ve been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process,” Apple said. “We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize.”

Apple went on to say there has been “a lot of misunderstanding” about the issue, adding the company has never intentionally shortened battery life to drive customer upgrades.

“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,” the company said.

Apple is facing a criminal lawsuit in France after confirming it has been deliberately slowing down older iPhones to offset problems with its lithium battery.

A French activist group, Stop Planned Obsolescence, which is Halte à l’Obsolescence Programmée in French, filed a criminal lawsuit Wednesday in the Paris prosecutor’s office against the tech giant. The maximum penalty is a prison sentence of two years and a fine up to $358,000 and 5 percent of the company’s annual revenue.

If prosecutors decide the complaint is legitimate, the case will be heard in criminal court.

“It is our mission to defend customers and the environment against this waste organized by Apple,” co-founder Laetitia Vasseur of the group said in a statement.

According to a French law enacted in 2015, companies are not allowed to “deliberately reduce the lifespan of a product to increase the rate of replacement.”

“It has been several years that slowdowns are noted by Apple customers just at the time of the release of a new model,” Emile Meunier, the lawyer of the association, said. “Why this silence all these years? Why this slowdown at the time of the release of the new model? Why this phenomenon is not encountered at other manufacturers, like Samsung? These are the questions that the criminal investigation will answer.”

HOP earlier sued Japanese printer maker Epson for allegedly deliberately limiting the lifespan of its machines and the case is being heard in court.

Several civil suits have been filed in the United States,

In New York, five iPhone users filed a lawsuit in New York on Tuesday and are seeking class-action status, according to The Verge. Earlier, lawsuits were filed by four owners in Chicago and two in Los Angeles, USA Today reported.

In the Chicago suit, plaintiffs asked for $5 million in damages on behalf of four customers, “because tens of thousands of similarly situated putative class members.”

These iPhone owners said if they had known their batteries were to blame for the slowdown, they would have replaced the battery instead of buying a new phone.

Last week, Apple confirmed the slowdown after a report from Primate Labs. John Poole, founder of the organization, posted on a blog that processors in iPhones slow down and decrease in performance as batteries age and lose capacity.


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