Apple offers battery replacement discounts in China and Hong Kong after admitting to slowing down older iPhones

Discounts come as company looks to gain back trust from customers outraged to learn the US tech giant intentionally reduced performance of older iPhones

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 December, 2017, 4:10pm
UPDATED : Friday, 29 December, 2017, 4:30pm

Users of older iPhones in mainland China and Hong Kong will be able to replace their phone batteries at a heavy discount after Apple admitted to slowing down older devices to “dynamically manage maximum performance”.

From the end of January 2018 through to December, customers with an iPhone 6 or later model can replace the battery at a 60 per cent discount, Apple said in a statement on Thursday.

In mainland China, the company’s third-largest market by sales, users can make the switch for just 218 yuan (US$33.4) instead of the usual 608 yuan.

Similarly, Hong Kong users will only pay HK$228 (US$29.2) instead of the original HK$635 for the replacement.

Slowed iPhones: Apple slashes replacement battery price amid outcry

The move comes after Apple said it had introduced a power management feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE users last year to ensure that the power from ageing batteries could match the devices’ processing power, preventing sudden shutdowns that usually occurred in such situations.

The discounts come as the company looks to gain back trust from its customers, some of whom were outraged to learn the US tech giant intentionally reduced performance of older iPhones.

Previously, customers speculated that Apple did this to encourage device upgrades. However, Apple denied this in a statement on Thursday, saying the company would “never do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product”.

“Our goal has always been making iPhones last as long as possible,” it said.

Lawsuits hit Apple after it admits deliberately slowing down ageing iPhones

The company apologised for the way it handled the performance of older devices and for how the issue was communicated to customers.

In response to the battery issue, an editorial in the state-run People’s Daily on Tuesday criticised the US company for being “arrogant” as it raked in profits from consumers.

“Apple has become wilier and more arrogant now. It should rethink what it should protect – user experience or commercial profits. Excellent user experience is the biggest reason for Chinese consumers to trust Apple,” the editorial said.

In Thursday’s statement, Apple said in early 2018 it will release an iOS software update that will allow consumers to check if battery conditions are affecting performance.

In November 2016, Apple offered free battery replacements for some iPhone 6S handsets that kept shutting down and it also offered refunds for customers who had already paid for battery replacements.

Revenue for Apple’s Greater China market – which comprises the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan – fell 10 per cent year on year to US$8 billion in its fiscal third quarter ended July 1, and the company is pinning hopes on its newly-released iPhone X to boost sales figures for the current quarter ending December 31.