The controversy that surrounds Apple’s admission that it was slowing down older iPhone models has been brewing for some time. Apple said that the intention to reduce the performance of these models was to help protect the battery. The smartphone giant announced just the other day that it will be offering an in-store battery replacement service to appease angry customers. It was a good step for Apple but we still knew at the time that the story was far from over.
And it seems that we were right. Republican Senator, John Thune, has raised more questions on this issue. In a detailed letter sent to Apple, senator Thune who chairs the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee was keen to know what the basis of arriving at the $29 battery replacement price was. The senator was also curious to understand if there was any possibility of making these replacements free. Thune also sought to know if Apple was considering offering rebates to its customers who had already paid the full battery replacement amount before the $29 fee was introduced.
These are all serious questions and many owners of old iPhone models would love to hear what Apple has to say. Nonetheless, it seems that Senator Thune’s biggest concern is the issue of transparency. The senator was puzzled why Apple despite its good intentions to protect older iPhone models by slowing down performance could not come clean and tell customers what was going on.
Considering that this was a practice that went on for years, the senator feels that it was within the rights of iPhone owners to know that the company was intentionally slowing down their phones in order to extend the battery life. The letter also pressed Apple to explain if customers were made aware that software updates will be used to slow down the performance of their phones.
The senator argued that in the interest of transparency, it should have been prudent for Apple to at least notify customers that software updates could have an effect on the performance of their devices. Besides, did Apple plan to publicly admit that it was intentionally slowing down older iPhone models?
The Apple admission came after iPhone users on Reddit complained about a significant drop in performance on their older models. In addition to this, Primates Labs’ John Poole was able to run a number of benchmark tests on the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 7. The tests were done over a specific timeframe across various iOS updates and it emerged that indeed the reduced performance was intentional.
Apple issued a statement admitting to this in a bid to dilute the public outrage. The statement only made things worse. The company later announced that it would offer a low-cost battery replacement service for older models.
Experts argue that the move could help the American smartphone maker regain its reputation but it might also have a negative impact on sales revenue for newer models. Senator Thune noted in his letter that Apple should have been transparent with all this and because the company chose not to, it’s suffering the consequences. Apple has yet to respond to the letter.