Finally, Apple is doing the right thing and giving users the option to disable performance throttling tactics on their iPhones, but it comes at a discount and apology letter too late.
But before I share my thoughts on this issue lets recap and make sure we are all on the same page. A little over a month ago Apple got caught (through a series of benchmarks) intentionally slowing down CPU performance on iPhones ranging from the 6/7 Series and SE via iOS updates.
Apple initially did not deny the claim, in fact, they called it a feature.
“Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.
Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.”
shortly after admission, Apple apologized
“We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down,” says the company. “We apologize.”
At the time I was using the iPhone X and to think that this $1,000 device in a year will be throttled did not sit well with me. I have to admit when the news came out, myself and many others were pretty upset. I get it, in order to mitigate unexpected shutdown to an older device, Apple has chosen to slow down CPU performance to aid in battery degradation. The problem for me and many others was the lack of transparency from Apple, that they got caught red-handed and no one would have known of this “feature” if it weren’t for the benchmarks.
With the cat out of the bag, Apple quickly went into PR cleanup mode.
Immediately discounting their in-store battery repair service to $29. (originally $79) The offer is valid for the entire 2018 year. If you didn’t want to be throttled then a new battery replacement will get you back to full clock speed, a simple fix, that many and I mean many people took advantage of. That sudden demand for battery repairs was so great it wiped battery inventory levels and caused backorders to reach 8 weeks or more.
Here’s the problem I have with that. What happens after 2018, When my $1,000 phone needs a new battery? I’ll have to pay full price for a battery repair on a device that is a year old because my battery is at a certain level that Apple sees fit to slow down. I don’t like that idea, it’s too much of a planned obsolescence kinda feel.
But this was Apple’s approach to this:
- Keep throttling.
- Discount Battery for a year.
- Move on.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, announced the next update to iOS 11 will allow users to disable battery performance throttling on their device. You will also be getting a better way to monitor battery health. Expect this update around March.
“We’re going to give people the visibility of the health of their battery so it’s very, very transparent,” he says. “This hasn’t been done before.”
Should have done this on day one and left battery prices untouched. Then you wouldn’t have huge wait times on battery inventory and got full cost on the repairs. Instead, people are waiting weeks for a battery and getting a huge discount. But in the end, Apple finally did what was right. Better late than never.
It may be over for us users, but for Apple, it doesn’t end here. Unfortunately, Apple currently faces multiple class action lawsuits for slowing down phones. No matter how you look at it planned obsolescence, or for your benefit. This is an issue for Apple that even an update won’t solve away.