Announced in the wake of the “Batterygate” scandal, in which Apple was accused of artificially reducing performance in order to avoid replacing iPhone batteries under warranty, the reasonably priced repair program is to receive “tweaks”.
According to the information slipped in small font into the iPhone Battery Service section of Apple’s website, on-demand iPhone and iPad battery replacement rates will arbitrarily increase by exactly $20, regardless of the initial cost of the operation. Thus, the measure effective March 1, 2022 raises the cost of replacing an iPhone 13, 12, 11 or iPhone X battery to $89. Only the fee for the iPhone 14 remains unchanged, with Apple considering $99 a reasonable price for an out-of-warranty replacement of a faulty battery in a smartphone released less than six months ago.
The move that capitalizes on iPhone fans’ “amnesia” about still-recent reliability problems comes as an aggressive attempt to promote AppleCare+ insurance, which for a monthly fee offers users benefits such as free replacement of a prematurely failed battery. To be fair, Apple fans who are less careful with their favorite gadget get other perks, such as replacement of the phone in case of loss or theft, in exchange for a $149 deductible, which is added to the cost of a two-year AppleCare+ package of $269 payable in one lump sum, or $13.49/month. Without theft/loss coverage, the cost is $199 or $9.99/month.
Recalling the Batterygate scandal, Apple has paid at least $500 million in damages to settle a class action lawsuit involving injured iPhone users in the United States. According to the allegations Apple tried to avoid negative publicity and the cost of a mass replacement operation for defective batteries during the warranty period by relying on software “optimizations” to keep phones in working order until the legal warranty expired. The problem is that the “optimization” was nothing more than a progressive limitation of factory performance that still “worked” in Apple’s interest. In the sense that it was manipulating users unhappy with the increasingly poor performance experienced with the current iPhone model to buy a newly released one. According to investigations made by users who noticed the inexplicable performance decrease, iPhone 6 Plus devices updated to iOS 10.2.1 version lost considerably of the processing power they had when new, so that from an average score of 1471/2476 points in the Geekbenck benchmark, the score dropped to only 839/1377 points.
Meanwhile, it seems Apple is reverting to old “habits”, overcharging to replace a wear-prone iPhone/Phone component while sabotaging repair attempts at unauthorized service centers.