Last month Primate Labs, a company behind an iPhone performance benchmarking app, conducted tests on several models of iPhones and made a discovery: After the most recent software updates, they found that older iPhones were spontaneously dialing down their processor speeds--under the instruction of software.
When the story broke, outrage ensued, the chief accusation being that Apple was throttling older iPhones in order to prompt users into buying the latest model. In response, Apple stated 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." Their explanation was that the subpar performance of older batteries might cause the phone to unexpectedly shut down, and by throttling the processor, Apple only sought to prevent this.
In a rare act of public contrition Apple has released a statement on the matter, and here are the concrete changes they are implementing:
To address our customers' concerns, to recognize their loyalty and to regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted Apple's intentions, we've decided to take the following steps:
- Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, available worldwide through December 2018. Details will be provided soon on apple.com.
- Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone's battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.
Has the damage been done, in terms of Apple's long-term reputation? I doubt it, and suspect it has more to do with people needing to find things to be outraged about on Twitter, and that this will shortly be forgotten. (Anyone remember "Bendgate?")