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The Almighty Buck Businesses Communications Handhelds Apple Hardware

iPhone Battery Replacement An Unwelcome Surprise 629

Posted by Zonk
from the hope-you-really-like-that-phone dept.
epidemic99 writes "Apple has released what it will cost to replace the battery in the iPhone, and consumers might be a bit put off. Replacement is a tricky ordeal, as the battery is apparently soldered into the device. The service will cost $79, plus $6.95 for shipping, plus an optional $29 'loaner iPhone' rental. A consumer advocacy group sent a letter to Apple complaining that this information was not made public before iPhone's release since the cost of the battery replacement is so high. Even reviewer Harvey Rosenfield, who is usually very kind to Apple, was quoted as saying 'some of them might be waking up now, wondering who they got in bed with.'" Update: 07/06 21:06 GMT by Z : Fixed incorrect attribution of quote to Mossberg.
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iPhone Battery Replacement An Unwelcome Surprise

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    some of them might be waking up now, wondering who they got in bed with.

    What you call a review of the iPhone, I call Tuesday night.
  • by The Media Mechanic (1084283) on Friday July 06, 2007 @11:35AM (#19768105)
    "Some of them might be waking up now," Rosenfield said, "wondering who they got in bed with." I guess this is a new spelling of the name Mossberg that I was previously unfamiliar with.
    • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Friday July 06, 2007 @11:40AM (#19768181)
      You weren't aware that Mossberg operates a consumer watchdog organization on the other side of the country under an alias?
    • by ubuwalker31 (1009137) on Friday July 06, 2007 @12:52PM (#19769403)
      Why is anyone even remotely familiar with Apple surprised by this? I remember the dreaded vendor lock-in when I had to put a new power supply into an aging Mac Performa 575 many moons ago. I swore back then that I would never buy a Mac again because of their obnoxious business model that requires you to get expensive service and parts from Apple.

      That being said, to those who are waking up next to Steve Jobs, you have at least 2 weeks to return your iPhone and get a refund.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        That being said, to those who are waking up next to Steve Jobs, you have at least 2 weeks to return your iPhone and get a refund.

        Then you get introduced to the other fine-print-fucking you get when reading your receipt from the Apple Store: "10% Restocking fee on opened items". Lamest policy EVAR. How the hell are you going to know if you're satisfied with the iPhone until you open it? Once you open it you're out $60 instantly at BEST. Nice racket they've got going on there Steve. In their defense thou

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Bassman59 (519820)

          Then you get introduced to the other fine-print-fucking you get when reading your receipt from the Apple Store: "10% Restocking fee on opened items". Lamest policy EVAR. How the hell are you going to know if you're satisfied with the iPhone until you open it? Once you open it you're out $60 instantly at BEST. Nice racket they've got going on there Steve.

          Go buy a big-ticket item at Best Buy or Circuit Shitty ... their restocking fees are higher.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hedwards (940851)
        I don't see why people are shocked by this. The reason for the battery being dealt with in this manner is the same reason why the iPods always had the battery soldered in. They weren't able to get enough battery life with a replaceable battery, so they soldered it in to lower the resistance somewhat.

        The bigger issue is why Apple can't seem to design their handhelds to use a reasonable amount of power during operation. While a device like this will use a significant amount of power, the iPods were an abomina
    • by Odin's Raven (145278) on Friday July 06, 2007 @01:13PM (#19769739)

      "Some of them might be waking up now," Rosenfield said, "wondering who they got in bed with." I guess this is a new spelling of the name Mossberg that I was previously unfamiliar with.

      Yes, Mossberg's name is spelled "Rosenfield", but it's pronounced "Throat-Warbler Mangrove".

  • by MorderVonAllem (931645) on Friday July 06, 2007 @11:36AM (#19768113)
    ...of replacing the ipod battery is anyone surprised?
    • by clifyt (11768) <sonikmatterNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday July 06, 2007 @11:42AM (#19768229) Homepage
      Lets see...I replaced the battery in my 1st Gen iPod after 5 years of constant usage. Cost me $20...could have paid someone else to do it and insure the work for another $15.

      I replaced the battery on my SonyErikson phone that I bought at the same time, 3 times. I use it maybe an hour a day. The batteries cost me $40 each.

      Keeping count, thats $20 for the iPod before I finally gave it away and bought a nano. Thats $120 for the batteries in the phone.

      So based on my knowledge of the cost of the batteries in the iPod, I'm sure there will be a service available that will allow me to send the device in and they guarantee the work for probably around $40...$50 for quick turn around (in which time, I pop my card into my ancient SE phone for a few days).
  • by Mahtar (324436) <aborell@gmail.com> on Friday July 06, 2007 @11:37AM (#19768137)
    "Some of them might be waking up now," Rosenfield said, "wondering who they got in bed with."

    So no, Mossberg did not actually say that. Are even the submitters not reading the articles these days?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by His Shadow (689816)
      When the submitter has an agenda, usually all that gets read is the headline.

      And this obsession with Apple's integrated batteries is tiring. Billions of batteries have been kept out of landfills thanks to Apple, and the expected lifetime of even replaceable batteries is two years. Here is a free point: consumer products are purchased, used and eventually discarded. It's the Circle of Life.

  • by Dr Kool, PhD (173800) on Friday July 06, 2007 @11:38AM (#19768149) Homepage Journal
    A soldered battery means that it will almost NEVER pop out accidentally in your pocket or in your backpack. Thank you Apple for this great innovation!! I'm going to buy an iPhone right now!!!!
  • .. I can see why. ( see here -> http://www.anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=3026 [anandtech.com] ).

    They did not make it easy to change the SIM card or the battery in this device. While it is a really cool phone/camera/internet doom-a-flitchy device, I have to wonder what they will do if the battery is found to be defective or something. What is rather funny is that all the main chips in the device seem to be made by samsung for apple.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Dan Ost (415913)
      The SIM card is on a tray that you open with a paper clip.

      Some early reviewer missed this fact and ended up ripping their iPhone apart to get at the SIM card.

      Retard.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by djh101010 (656795) *

      They did not make it easy to change the SIM card or the battery in this device.

      Funny, I see the SIM card slot right on top of the iPhone, with a little hole that, presumably, I can push something pointy into and get the card to pop out. Looking at the dissection link you posted, I can see how that's not obvious, but seeing an iPhone in person it's pretty clear what the deal is.

      If you're going to criticize flaws, it helps your point of view if you stick to actual ones. I'm not stressing the battery life, I can tolerate sending it in to Apple or whomever for a day or three to get

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeremy_Bee (1064620)
      Please take a few minutes to read the article (or at least the header of the article) before you respond. It might also help to stay minimally informed about the product on which you comment.

      I have to wonder what they will do if the battery is found to be defective or something (?)

      This is actually the topic of the article you are commenting on, and also well described/discussed all over the web.

      Also, in reference to this article in general, the battery iPhone replacement methodology is really only a "surprise" to that Rosenfield guy IMO. This is yet another non-issue, non-article, about iPhone

  • by Cr0w T. Trollbot (848674) on Friday July 06, 2007 @11:41AM (#19768207)
    And just like the unreplaceable battery in the iPod, I'm sure that no third party replacements will be popping up to replace your battery at a fraction of Apple's cost.

    Oh, wait...

    Crow T. Trollbot

  • What? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <shadow...wrought@@@gmail...com> on Friday July 06, 2007 @11:43AM (#19768241) Homepage Journal
    That's only 1/6 of the price of the phone and, since it probably accounts for 1/2 of the weight, you're actually coming out ahead. Its all in the maths.
  • Someone who sells eight hundred dollar phones!
  • by acvh (120205) <geek@mscigar[ ]om ['s.c' in gap]> on Friday July 06, 2007 @11:44AM (#19768265) Homepage
    from what I have read the battery will work efficiently through about two years of "normal" usage. two years from now there will be a new iPhone, and given the choice of paying $120 for a new battery (and loaner) versus $500 for the inevitably cooler NEW iPhone, my guess is that most will opt for the new phone. more $ for Apple. i would expect a wave of used iPhones on eBay around the same time. maybe i'll get one then.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by moore.dustin (942289)
      Probably true, but unlike the iPod, the iPhone will not stand a chance in 2 years if this one is not the success they hope it to be. Not to mention that they have extreme competition for those $'s where they pretty much created the iPod market for themselves. In two years, when faced with having to pay $120 to fix the battery or get a new iPhone, how many will just say Eff the iPhone and get the new latest and greatest from one of the other half dozen competitors.
  • by Vodalian (203793) on Friday July 06, 2007 @11:44AM (#19768269) Homepage
    I have never replaced a battery in my cell phone, not even the Treo. By the time it starts getting weak (3 years or so) there is something else out that is so much more improved that it becomes a non-issue because I'm buying a new phone. Even better now, since it's all already synced in iTunes, going to the next model will be smooth and straightforward.

    People complain that it's 20% of the cost of the phone. If I buy a replacement battery for my RAZR, it's $40, which is more than 20% of the cost of the phone. Yes, I can do it myself, but will I ever? Not likely. The only time I've ever replaced a battery was back when I had a StarTAC phone, and I bought the smaller, thinner battery, because the phone slipped into my pocket.

    Apple knows that only 5-8% or so of the people will even want to replace it, so they made it a possibility. People just need something to gripe about I guess.
  • by cthellis (733202) on Friday July 06, 2007 @11:44AM (#19768271)
    ...why would you kvetch at a $80 + S&H iPhone battery replacement? The battery itself is certainly way more than $20 better.
  • Surprised? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HerculesMO (693085) on Friday July 06, 2007 @11:45AM (#19768297)
    The benefit the iPhone provides most of us (in geekdom), is that it is a revolutionary way to surf the web on a mobile device. All the mobile devices until today cannot surf with even a modicum of the pleasure you get with the iPhone.

    That said, it's overpriced for what it is. And the people buying it up right now are only paving the way for Microsoft and others to fix up their mobile OSes to deliver cheaper devices capable of much of the same things as the iPhone. Only they will have replaceable batteries, cheaper cost (subsidized by the carrier), and 3G.

    Apple makes a habit of ensuring that you as a consumer are 'locked in' to their platform. In every way, shape and form. They are turning into yet another Microsoft, from another angle. I am rather alarmed that people don't realize that Apple is no different than Microsoft in that they want market share for their devices, and they want money. There are no lofty goals with Apple, just cute looking devices that have a cult following. I will give them, that their OS is better than Vista. But they had the luxury of being able to dump support for older applications, where MS does not. Their presentation is better than Microsoft but again, Microsoft delivers software with an API that can be written against. Apple is a closed architecture, especially with the iPhone.

    When people realize that Apple is no different than Microsoft, they will choose devices and software based upon need and usage requirements, rather than a religious belief to either company. I run a Mac laptop as my only laptop, but my home PC is a dual boot of Ubuntu and Vista. I'm mostly on Vista, admittedly -- but it's for gaming and I love my games :)

    Me personally? I'll be waiting for the next generation iPhone to be released before I make a choice in buying anything. My iPod works fine and I enjoy the 3G speed of my Samsung Blackjack. And hopefully by then, Microsoft has made an answering shot to the iPhone and I'll have the ability to choose the device suited best for me. Slow, deliberate choices are the ones I make after taking time to think about it. If I see another moron carrying the iPhone and using it in a way just to show it off, I am going to smack them.
    • by Shakrai (717556)

      is that it is a revolutionary way to surf the web on a mobile device. All the mobile devices until today cannot surf with even a modicum of the pleasure you get with the iPhone.

      My laptop is a "mobile device" and I can actually browse flash websites with it. Plus with an EV-DO card from Verizon or Sprint I can actually attain useful speeds. Something that isn't really possible with the 2G iPhone.

      Just food for thought.

      • by timster (32400)
        I get about 200Kb/s over EDGE almost everywhere I go. Lots of people have DSL connections that aren't much faster than that.

        I'm still in the market for that laptop that fits in my pocket, though.
    • by Dog-Cow (21281)
      Only deluded idiots such as yourself might ever think that Apple doesn't want lockin and profit. Every company out there wants both, because A leads to B.

      The difference between MS and Apple on this front is how they go about it. Apple does it by providing products people want to buy. Not a single iPhone customer was forced into it. Microsoft maintains lockin by strong-arming their OEM customers and through illegal sabotage of competitors.
    • Re:Surprised? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dbolger (161340) on Friday July 06, 2007 @12:19PM (#19768877) Homepage
      When people realize that Apple is no different than Microsoft, they will choose devices and software based upon need and usage requirements, rather than a religious belief to either company.
      You seem to make the mistake of assuming that people use apple based on fanboy-ism. That might have been true in the past, but I do not believe that the preppy college guy on the train in the morning, or the bottle-blonde, pretty-in-pink girl beside him, each with the distinctive white headphones stuck in their ears, are buying iPods because they are Apple obsessives. They buy because it is trendy, and with the iPod, Apple's domination in the area of trendy technology reached its peak. As long as they can keep themselves in with the people who buy based on how "cool" it is to own one, then they can get to and stay at the top of any market.

      If you can convince enough people that it is trendy to own an Apple iToaster, even if it only toasts one at a time, then you will dominate the toaster market. Sure, there will be companies still out there, toasting 2, 4, 16 slices at a time, more suited to the needs of almost everybody. There will be people who buy those products, and don't understand why the hell you would want a one-slice toaster, but it wont matter. Its cool, so the vast majority of people will just go along with it. Its sad, but it is true - most people (at least in the "developed" world) care more about appearance than functionality.

      For anybody that is interested, I recently was reading about a product that is suspiciously similar to the iPhone, called the Meizu M8. The specs are better, the cost is cheaper and all the reviews I have read have been excellent. I am considering getting one, specifically because the battery is removable, unlike in the iPhone.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The benefit the iPhone provides most of us (in geekdom), is that it is a revolutionary way to surf the web on a mobile device.

      I don't think the iPhone brings any huge benefit to geeks. It is aimed squarely at the more casual user market who doesn't mind paying for something that works easily and is learnable. I don't use half the features of my existing phone, and it does not have a lot of what the iPhone does. I probably would use those features if they were simple and I did not have to spend time learning them and setting them up properly. That is where the iPhone is targeted. Just as the iPod mostly was aimed at people with p

  • Warranty repair? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by daveywest (937112) on Friday July 06, 2007 @11:46AM (#19768305)

    In addition, Rosenfield said, replacing the iPhone battery should be free to begin with while the product is under its one-year warranty.
    And I want Nintendo to replace the batteries in my Wii remote every time they run low. Seriously, a battery is a consumable. Anyone who is using all the reported 300-400 charge cycles in two years is probally going to break something else first. Don't forget, they had the cash to plunk down $600 on a cell phone in the first place.
  • oh dear (Score:3, Interesting)

    by symes (835608) on Friday July 06, 2007 @11:46AM (#19768311) Journal
    On the one hand it's nice to have iPhone professionals replace the battery, rather than risk some backstreet operation with few guarantees that the thing will come back in good working order. On the other hand, why oh why did Apple make this choice in the first place? For someone who travels a lot not having the option to swap in a fresh battery could be a deal killer... especially as airline security now prohibits soldering irons in hand baggage. As someone who is looking for a new phone I'm finding that the iPhone is pretty much perfect - especially if they add in GPS when it comes to the UK. I really can't find anything better. But not being able to swap the battery will probably push me away.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by moore.dustin (942289)
      Why would anyone in their right mind get this as their work phone. If you travel a lot and work from your phone, the iPhone cant be a legitimate option. If you have even a half way demanding job, you wont be able to get your work done. The oh's and aw's wont put the powerpoint on the screen. The iPhone is not a suitable corporate phone people, face it. They made it for the cool factor, not the usefulness factor. They are not targeting corporate users at all. That is why they have a dog skateboarding on a v
      • I can think of rational reasons that the iPhone is not a good corporate phone, e.g., it needs integration with Exchange. But it won't put Powerpoint on the screen?? I'm sorry, any corporate drone that tried to show me a Powerpoint presentation on a phone would get kicked out of my office.
  • For someone else to start their own battery replacement program for the iPhone.

    How many people *REALLY* use the Apple iPod battery replacement thing? Considering that replacement batteries tend to be easy to get for 1/3rd the cost these days and is practically available at any major electronics retailer...

    Then again, there are plenty more people willing to do the battery replacement for you, too. It's a neat little effect.

    And those who complain about the non-removable battery (which everyone has complained
  • They got into bed with the guy who sold them a $600 phone. Did anyone think the batteries would cost $5 and could be replaced at home? Take a look at the device, for crying out loud. Anyone that bought the device in the first month (which is everyone, at this point) has seen pictures of it before they bought it. Did it look like it was easy to open up and replace the battery?
  • Honestly, I remember reading this the day of or the day after launch, if I remember right. $90 something is not all that terrible.

    Batteries for the RAZR are like 40-50. And of course, if you didnt know the batteries were non-replaceable when you bought the iPhone, youre dumb as a rock. I do however feel that for that price, you should get a loaner phone, but I digress.
  • by TheWoozle (984500) on Friday July 06, 2007 @11:52AM (#19768409)
    C'mon...the iPhone is a luxury item in the cell phone market. So, here's my daily bad car analogy: if you can't afford to put the right tires on your Porche, maybe you shouldn't have bought a Porche.

    I mean, what's next, complaining to Ferrari because they don't advertise the cost of maintenance?
  • My old Samsung battery was $120 for a replacement and I had to install it myself.
  • 'some of them might be waking up now, wondering who they got in bed with.

    yea, I can imagine the lawsuits... "misled into buying overpriced shiny devices by means of marketing hype".
  • I have no idea where the story is here. Other smart phone batteries are comparably priced but last half as long.

  • I have never, even once, needed to replace a better on a mobile phone, nor have I never bothered to use extra ones since the charge on them is good enough. Is this really, truly, a problem for people? Besides, $80 or whatever for a device that will set you back $499 - $599 plus 24 x $59.99. That's like up to around $2000, plus any other extras you buy and use and whatnot. Is the difference between $2000 and $2080 that high?

    There are way too many people out there who wants to hate the iPhone because it is no
  • by rizzo320 (911761) on Friday July 06, 2007 @12:50PM (#19769357)
    From http://www.apple.com/iphone/specs.html [apple.com], on the bottom of the page:

    "Rechargeable batteries have a limited number of charge cycles and may eventually need to be replaced. See www.apple.com/batteries for more information."

    You can then get to this link from the batteries page:http://www.apple.com/batteries/replacements.h tml [apple.com]

    "iPhone Owners. Your one-year warranty includes replacement coverage for a defective battery. You can extend your coverage to two years from the date of your iPhone purchase with the AppleCare Protection Plan for iPhone, which is expected to be available in summer 2007. During the plan's coverage period, Apple will replace the battery if it drops below 50% of its original capacity. If it is out of warranty, Apple offers a battery replacement for $79, plus $6.95 shipping, subject to local tax. Apple disposes of your battery in an environmentally friendly manner."

    Do I agree with the policy? No, as I wish I could replace the battery myself. But, it is stated there on the website, even if its buried. If you google "Apple Battery Replacement" [google.com], the official Apple iPhone battery page comes up ranked seventh.

    Did anyone expect otherwise? Honestly, if battery replacement is important in regards to your purchase, you should research it online or ask at the store. But I don't think most people care. If you get AppleCare on the phone (2 Year Warranty), if your battery dies you get a free replacement if it goes below 50% charge. Every other Apple iPod based product has the same policy, and, the iPhone is much more iPod than it is MacBook Pro.

    That being said, I understand if someone new to Apple products was upset, since, the majority of mobile phones allow the battery to be replace by the owner. However, with the large amount of iPod users out there, I doubt most will be shocked to find that the battery can't be replaced.
  • by cenonce (597067) <anthony_t&mac,com> on Friday July 06, 2007 @01:37PM (#19770085)
    This seems like sour grapes for what I have found to be a great product so far. The iPod batteries going all the way back to the first generation are not truly a user replaceable item. You have to spend forty bucks [macsales.com] to get OWC to do it. Why such shock and outrage about the iPhone battery!?!

    If you looked at the pictures and watched the video Apple released prior to the 29th, it doesn't take a genius to figure out the iPhone is not meant to be pulled apart.

    Instead of waiting in line like a tool for four days, people complaining about battery life could have waited two days after release (like I did), futzed around with one before you bought it, and EASILY figured out the battery is not a user replaceable item.

    Let's get real... the iPhone is a do-everything device in a form factor nobody expected to be as small as it is. You have to give up something somewhere... in this case, it is the battery... suck it up.
  • by Azureflare (645778) on Friday July 06, 2007 @02:09PM (#19770531)
    I got an iPhone, not primarily for the iPhone feature, but for the iPod. I have gotten rid of my iPod nano (gave it to my mom) and now use my iPhone as my iPod. The phone part of it is just a nice feature. Honestly, I'm not surprised at the battery issue at all. I had a 4G iPod and I went through the same issues; it really isn't that bad. Now if the battery was $150, I think we'd have reason to complain. I think apple is being very reasonable. If anyone bought an iPhone without knowing this is how Apple functions, I feel sorry for you. This is Apple, not Sandisk.

    If you bought an iPhone without being familiar with Apple, and without doing preliminary research, and can't accept this battery replacement policy, you need to understand something: it's entirely your fault. No one forced you to buy the iPhone. Anyone that plops down $670 for a product without doing preliminary research on the company deserves what they get.

    For instance, searching for "apple battery life" on google, gives this as the first non-apple result: iPod and iPhone Battery FAQ [ipodbatteryfaq.com]. This site was updated with information the day of the launch of the iPhone.

    Personally, my iPhone keeps on growing on me every day. I feel that it's going to just get better over time. If I hadn't bought one, I would definitely get one of the 2nd gens and I may upgrade to that anyway, and sell my used one on ebay or give it to my sister.

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