When Apple finally admitted that it had been deliberately slowing down older iPhone models, it was clear that a massive PR nightmare was on its hands. The company said at the time that the decision to slow down older models was designed to protect the aging battery. Apple noted that as phones get older, the battery capacity becomes limited. Reducing performance by slowing down the smartphone was the only way to prevent it from shutting down.
But that explanation was not good enough to convince most of its customers. Many had always thought that Apple deliberately slowed down older iPhone models in order to push sales for newer ones. Many still do. But Apple is now trying to make amends. The American smartphone maker confirmed that it is now offering a $29 in-store battery replacement service for older iPhones.
This is perhaps Apple’s way of apologizing to its customers. Nonetheless, for owners of older iPhone models, it’s definitely a big win. Customers will now have the option to extend the life of their older phones with a cheap battery replacement instead of having to buy a brand new iPhone.
But this is where it gets tricky for Apple. According to analysts at Barclays, the decision to offer this cheap battery replacement option could have a significant impact on Apple’s sales moving forward. If more iPhone users decide to choose the $29 battery replacement instead of going for a $999 new iPhone, the smartphone maker is looking at a big loss in sales revenue.
Although in terms of PR it’s a great move that will calm the waters for the time being, from a business point of view the battery replacement service doesn’t look sustainable. Analysts have identified a number of reasons why the initiative will not work well for Apple. To start with, after Apple admitted publicly that it was slowing down older models, there was a massive public awareness on this issue. This means that more people will be eager to explore the battery replacement service.
The $29 price for battery replacement is also very affordable. Customers will not have a problem paying it, especially if it improves the performance of the phones significantly. But there is a bigger concern. Most surveys have indicated that the main reason why people buy new iPhones is because of battery drain. Now, it makes sense to solve this issue with a $29 replacement instead of buying a more expensive phone.
The only thing that Apple can hope for now is that customers are pulled to newer models by the additional new features. But there’s no doubt that the damage has already been done. There will be a number of people who will go for the battery replacement instead of buying a new phone. It doesn’t matter how many people do this. Even a small percentage is enough to have a massive effect on iPhone sales in the years ahead. The analysts at Barclays already see this as a big issue for investors, and it could really affect Apple’s stock moving forward.