After our initial report earlier this month, and more evidence from other sources, Apple today officially commented on reports that it slowed the performance of older iPhones in order to stabilize battery performance.
What do you make of this tactic and Apple’s reasoning for it?
Ecobee HomeKit Thermostat
In a statement this afternoon, Apple explained that this “feature” was first implemented with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and iPhone SE last year and most recently came to the iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2.
Essentially, Apple says that at peak times of performance, older lithium-ion batteries are unable to handle demands, which results in the entire device shutting down to “protect its electronic components.” This is essentially what we saw happening with the widespread shutdown issues on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s.
It’s easy to run with the idea that this is Apple intentionally slowing down older iPhones in an effort to push more users to upgrade to the latest iPhone every year. That’s not necessarily the case, however, as Apple has good reason to throttle performance if the alternative is random shutdowns.
Of course, the counter argument there is that Apple should just replace iPhone batteries for users, instead of reducing performance. Apple will do so for $79 (you can do it yourself for less, but with more risk), but some have called on Apple to replace the batteries for free.
For instance, Todd Haselton at CNBC says Apple should replace iPhone batteries at no charge as to guarantee users a “certain level of performance for the lifetime of a product.”
If Apple is going to drop the performance of a smartphone because of poor battery life, it should replace an iPhone’s battery at no charge. Sure it’s an expensive undertaking for Apple, but a user should be guaranteed a certain level of performance for the lifetime of a product, until Apple stops supporting it with new software.
Personally, I’m conflicted on this topic. One of the biggest issues to me is how sneakily Apple implemented this so-called “feature.” For years users have accused the company of slowing down older iPhones, but until recently, those claims were without merit.
Apple retroactively announcing the battery/performance balancing tactic certainly doesn’t look good in terms of a PR standpoint, either. While it may be true that Apple really is trying to prolong the life of older devices with this feature, it’s going to be hard dispel the initial thought that it’s the company pushing people to upgrade every year – even if that’s not the case.
What do you make of this feature? Is it something you’re okay with or not? Take the poll below and discuss in detail down in the comments.