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Apple apologizes, offers replacement iPhone batteries

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Apple said  it will make discounted replacement iPhone batteries available immediately, its latest move to soothe feelings after admitting it purposely slowed batteries on older handsets. Apple had said Thursday it would offer a $29 battery replacement it promised would immediately return an iPhone 6 or later model to its original performance. The offer, which cut the price of batteries' price from their normal $79, was originally slated to be offered beginning in January.  As batteries get older, they don't hold their charges as well as newer batteries, and can have worse problems when the charge is low or the temperature is cold. That explanation wasn't enough appease some, who accused Apple of quietly driving people to upgrade their phones to fill the company's coffers.

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)
 

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A core vector of planned obsolescence in smartphones is sealed, non-user-replaceable batteries. Apple was the major pioneer in this area (in laptops and smartphones), and virtually every other manufacturer has followed suit. Moreover, Apple does everything possible to make their devices as difficult as possible for ordinary users (and professional techs) to do surgery on themselves. It's a big deal, because lithium poly batteries have a finite lifespan. They start degrading from the moment they are manufactured. Your $800+ iPhone will start to crap out beginning around two years after you buy it. When that happens, you have to either replace the battery or replace the phone.

What's the difference between sealed and user-replaceable batteries? Well, jumbo replacement batteries for my old phone cost around $16 a pop and took a couple of minutes to install. (Around 1m50s of that time was taken up by getting the new battery out of the blister pack.) Oh, and they came with a new, perfectly fitted jumbo-size back case/cover, to accommodate the larger battery. Replacing a sealed battery requires surgery. If you're handy, patient, and meticulous, you can do it yourself, with a toolkit and battery from an outfit like iFixit. That'll cost you $25 to $30, a variable amount of time (depending on the phone), and some racked nerves. Otherwise, you'll have to have Apple or a third-party pro do it. For a limited time, Apple will replace the battery on recent iPhones for $29. The normal price is $79, and you'll be without your phone for a while.

Manufacturers push the meme that consumers demand the thinnest, lightest, and most waterproof phones possible and offer this as a justification for sealed batteries. I don't buy it. Planned obsolescence is the real goal, and Apple and other manufacturers are doing everything in their power to obfuscate it (with the silent acquiescence of mainstream media). The "right to repair" is a consumer-protection issue, an environmental issue, and an antitrust issue ... but don't hold your breath waiting for any American public-enforcement agencies to take action. The people running them know which side their bread is buttered on.

Submitted on Monday, Jan 1, 2018 at 3:33:08 PM

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