Apple CEO Vows to Fix Controversial ‘Batterygate’ Slowdown

January 18, 2018 12:17 pm Last Updated: January 18, 2018 1:03 pm

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that users of older iPhone models will soon be able to undo the controversial performance slowdowns that the company imposed without notifying customers, in an incident that became known as “batterygate.”

Cook again apologized to customers and said a fix is on the way to reverse the intentional battery slowdowns, the ABC reported.

Users of affected handsets will be able to switch off this performance-reducing function in the next version of the iOS operating system.

Prior to its official launch, expected in March, a beta version of iOS for developers will be issued sometime in February, and this version will already feature the fix.

Apple CEO Tim Cook stands in front of a screen displaying the IPhone 6 during a presentation at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California on Oct. 16, 2014. (Reuters/Robert Galbraith/File Photo)

Cook claimed the throttling was done to prevent unexpected shutdowns and not to force users to upgrade, as has been suggested.

“Maybe we weren’t clear,” he told ABC. “We deeply apologize for anyone who thinks we have some other kind of motivation.”

Facing mounting public pressure, Apple apologized last month for slowing down its iPhones as their batteries aged.

The tech giant posted an apology on its website on Thursday, Dec. 28 a week after it confirmed that it had been slowing down iPhones with lower-capacity batteries, in a bid to avoid accidental shutdowns.

“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. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize,” read the letter.

Over the battery issue, coined as “batterygate” by some, Apple has attracted criticism in the press for not informing its customers about its decision to slow down phones with older batteries.

As part of its apology, Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement, dropping it to $29. The replacement typically cost $79.

In the ABC interview, Cook said it was “rational” to offer a reduced-cost battery rather than a free replacement because “most people kind of expect to get a [new] battery at some point in time.”

This reduction in price is being made for “anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018.”

Some critics said Apple was intentionally slowing down the processor of its iPhone 5, iPhone 6 and certain iPhone 7 models through operating system software updates as a way to force consumers to buy new models.

A number of lawsuits have been launched against the company based on this premise.

Cook said the focus was on the “user experience,” and the code was released to prevent the probability of an unexpected restart while using the phone.

Earlier, Apple addressed in a letter the idea that it intentionally slows down its iPhones to increase sales.

“First and foremost, 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,” read the letter.

“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 letter went on to describe how batteries become less effective and why updates were done to avoid device shutdown. It also said that it will be issuing an iOS software update that will allow users to better monitor the performance of their iPhone’s battery.

“As always, our team is working on ways to make the user experience even better, including improving how we manage performance and avoid unexpected shutdowns as batteries age,” said the apology.

James Burke contributed to this report

 

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