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Apple Is Seeing 'Strong Demand' For Replacement iPhone Batteries ( 83

In a letter addressed to the U.S. lawmakers, Apple said earlier this month that it was seeing "strong demand" for replacement iPhone batteries. The company added that it may offer rebates for consumers who paid full price for new batteries. From a report: Apple confirmed in December that software to deal with aging batteries in iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE models could slow down performance. The company apologized and lowered the price of battery replacements for affected models from $79 to $29. In the letter released Tuesday, amid nagging allegations that it slowed down phones with older batteries as a way to push people into buying new phones, the company said it was considering issuing rebates to consumers who paid full price for replacement batteries.
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Apple Is Seeing 'Strong Demand' For Replacement iPhone Batteries

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  • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2018 @02:12PM (#56077723)
    How many people would take advantage of a sale to get new laptop batteries at 60% off?
    I've got an iPhone 6 with a replaced battery a little under a year ago (woohoo rebate!) and I FULLY intend to purchase the replacement around the end of the year just to extend the life of my 6 by another 2 years or so.
    It also ups the resale value.
    • User replaceable batteries or at cost battery replacement of non user replaceable batteries prolongs cell phone life. Which is good for consumers and bad for the manufacturer's profits.

      Same with user upgradeable Ram and storage.

      Of course this is why Apple and Samsung have moved to non user replaceable batteries. And Apple have moved to soldered Ram and SSD on laptops. Of course neither has been exactly open about the reasons for this and the effect it has on total cost of ownership for users.

      Presumably Wind

      • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2018 @02:54PM (#56078013)
        It's not just a nefarious conspiracy. Modular components (ram, network cards) require physical connections which are never as good as a soldered connection as well as layout space to replaceable. The whole move towards thinness and lighter phones and laptops was a great driver to the soldered components and to pack as much tech into as small a space as possible.
        I'm sure some of that was also a drive to lock the customer into certain features and specs but this happened with PC laptops long before Apple jumped back into the game. I've gone through my share of gaming laptops and which at least allowed me to expand memory and hard drives. (and more recently WiFi - In THEORY I can change out the GPU but it's ridiculously expensive and a pain to do so and a typical customer probably wouldn't do that.) Can't do that AT ALL with my Surface Pro 4 but I see that as a move towards computers as an appliance. Same with cars these days. It used to be that you could do most of your own repairs on a car - not these days.
        • I'm not suggesting a conspiracy, nefarious or otherwise.

          Apple have a notoriously non technical and style conscious user base and I suppose a sealed phone is what they want.

          What's irritating is not so much that Apple do it but that other manufacturers see Apple doing it, know that Apple are the 'cool' brand and copy them. Even though they're actually operating in a competitive market and have a more diverse user base, some of whom won't buy their stuff unless it has a removable battery, headphone jack and so

          • by Anonymous Coward

            > People like Essential are launching phones with no removable battery and no headphone jack and wonder why it doesn't sell like an iPhone.

            The high-end phone market is saturated. Amazon couldn't break into it with its Fire Phone. There's a set of brands people are sticking to. It seems there's room for growth at the mid-tier and low-end, but no one wants to sell cheap phones to Americans. ($30 Android One phones would be great if they could guaranteed to get security patches for a year or two.)


      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Of course this is why Apple and Samsung have moved to non user replaceable batteries.

        You try to lay out a nice case, but this part is nothing but leaping to a speculative conclusion, then treating it as fact. All this rest of your post is the fruit of the tainted logic.

    • Yup, me too. I purchased a refurbished 6S last summer... the battery is fine, but I'm planning to replace it in November/December because it's only $29. Same thing for a 6 Plus I've got laying around (although in that case, it's likely the battery is significantly degraded at this point in time).

    • Not exactly sure I'd liken this to 60% off a laptop battery. Apple is still making a ton of money off these battery replacements. It's just that the amount they were making has dropped from obscene to huge.

      Laptop batteries are typically 30-50 Watt-hours. The iPhone 6 and earlier use about 1500 mAh batteries at 3.8 V, which is 5.7 Watt-hours. By comparison a Samsung Galaxy S5 battery is nearly twice the size - 2800 mAh (10.78 Wh) but costs just $9 []. I suppose you could say the extra $20 pays for the l
      • In a quick price check on Amazon, it looks like iPhone 6 battery replacements run about $20 on average, rather than the $9 for the S5's battery. Regardless of why that's happening, it suggests that users are paying about $10 for the replacement service (as well as for the guarantee that the battery is from a trustworthy source), rather than $20, which changes the math quite a bit. At that point, you're starting to talk about the sorts of margins that are perfectly normal across a variety of industries.

        I agr

  • by prasadsurve ( 665770 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2018 @02:13PM (#56077727)
    no wonder there is strong demand for it.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      What if there was a way to make this easier to do? A 'replaceable' battery, if you will?
      • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2018 @02:28PM (#56077869) Homepage

        What if there was a way to make this easier to do? A 'replaceable' battery, if you will?

        Standard Slashdot trope - but the market has spoken. IF there was a STRONG demand for quick replaceable batteries ala early Blackberries THEN we would see them in the market. And see them successful. Certainly there are (a couple dozen) people who find this useful but not enough to push manufactures to offer it routinely. It's pretty obvious that it CAN be done.

        I remember the extra BB batteries. With the expensive and non standard charger. Which was always at home when I really needed it. Or the tiny little battery was in my backpack when I didn't have it with me. Or something.

        Now you see the 'Zombie with the USB cord' stomping around airports and pretty much every public space with a wall power outlet. We've gone to placing generic USB chargers on the wall at each bay in the ER because patients kept trying to plug their chargers in while waiting. Which drove the biomed staff bezerk because you're not supposed to plug anything in that hasn't been blessed by Biomed (basically checking for leakage current so patients and staff don't get electrocuted - not such a bad thing to do).

        So we have the blessed chargers there for people to use. They're happy (until they get the bill) and Biomed is happy and nobody gets fried.

        That pointless story is just to illustrate that the ubiquity of the USB standard and a tiny little cable has pretty much negated the need for the pop in battery.

        Progress charges on.

        • by EvilSS ( 557649 )

          basically checking for leakage current so patients and staff don't get electrocuted - not such a bad thing to do

          I don't know, sounds like an untapped profit source to me. Just make sure there is plenty of legal verbiage around the ports to prevent liability in a lawsuit.

        • ColdWetDog is a master of "Strawman meets Red Herring."

          Anyone with HALF A WIT wouldn't bother bringing up phones from 15 years ago that aren't applicable to anything today.

          This man is so blind to today's market that Slashdot's collective intelligence is insulted. Perhaps he's such an Apple fanboy that he knows about NOTHING ELSE that has been on the market?

          Because, you know, until the past generation or two of Android phones, even Samsung had removable batteries. Samsung's are now bolted in behind a glas
          • Good info... I'm locked into iPhones due to the job (they pay for it so...). But when recommending devices to others, I often go with Androids. Knowing Samsung is going greedy with making things more breakable is an important consideration.

            • There are PLENTY of good Android brands out there. Just remember that you HAVE to do research before buying one.

              Here [] is a typical Samsung problem.

              Pick a good brand and good phone based on reviews, and you can triple your phone's life by being able to remove the back cover and pop in a new battery.
        • by Falos ( 2905315 )

          > market products are built according to demand
          Market products are built according to maximum profit.

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2018 @02:17PM (#56077743)

    Apple doesn't do things out of the goodness of their heart. Apple execs realized they had been caught and it would have serious repercussions in the EU, so they decided to simply reduce their profit margin. They are still making a killing on replacing batteries but now they look charitable despite being anything but.

    • Apple doesn't do things out of the goodness of their heart.

      Can you name a corporation that does?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      They did my girlfriend's battery for free, because we complained.

    • I think it's amazing how Apple can profit even when they fuck up and have essentially a recall.

      That's like Honda killing people with faulty airbags, and charging you the bill to give you airbags that actually deploy.

      Whoever runs their PR "spin" deserves a Nobel Prize.

  • I've got more than one iPad at my house... I don't want to pay full price for new batteries to speed them up.

    • It's unlikely that your iPad has this problem just because the batteries are so huge in relationship to the CPU. I've never heard of anyone having the random shutdown problem with their iPad (or any other tablet, for that matter). It's bound to happen eventually, I suppose, but my iPad 3 never had that problem and it was so slow in its end days that I could barely stand to use it.

  • So they're refunding people who paid full price but what about the people who actually BOUGHT a whole new phone? Those people should be getting something too. I upgraded because the phone slowed down and I figured it was just that the apps were getting too big and bloated for the old processor so I upgraded. I want a refund. too!

    • This. The only reason my wife upgraded from her 6S Plus and gave up her headphone jack was that the phone was slowing down. She now has no headphone jack and the knowledge that a much cheaper battery upgrade would have let her keep using her favorite headphones.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      So they're refunding people who paid full price but what about the people who actually BOUGHT a whole new phone? Those people should be getting something too.

      You got a new phone. Enjoy

  • DON'T! YOU! SAY! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grungeman ( 590547 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2018 @02:24PM (#56077831)
    Only Captain Obvious could have seen this coming.
  • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2018 @02:27PM (#56077855) Journal
    If only all wireless phones had user-replaceable batteries.. nah, that's just crazy talk!
  • it was stupid to make cellphone batteries irreplaceable or difficult to replace anyway, its not just replacing the phone, you also have to transfer your phone account and all the data you keep on the phone, then configure it to the way you like it,
    just the other day the idea came to me and i searched for a smartphone with just the minimum of features that ran on 3 or 4 AAA batteries, sure it would be more bulky than your modern smartphones but the replacing the battery problem wont be an issue anymore,.
    • Just buy a phone with a replaceable battery. Done! There are many. I have a Moto G4 Play, which has replaceable battery. No need to bother with AAA batteries – that's really a stupid idea.

    • As ziggystarsky said above, a phone that runs on AAA batteries is a stupid idea...

      What you want is a phone that runs on CR2032 coin cells!

    • So switch back to your Alcatel One Touch Easy.
      If you forgot to charge it last week you could run it on 3 AAA's. It was an outrage you could only use an Alcatel rechargeable battery though, it wouldn't charge regular AAA's.

  • Isolated incident (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2018 @04:10PM (#56078437)

    The only reason they're even doing this is cause their image got a black eye.

    I tried to get a couple of mac minis upgraded, replacing the HDD drive with a 256GB SSD. I was quoted at $1000 just for the drive . This doesn't even include the labour for taking the thing apart!

    If I were to purchase a brand new Mac Mini, an upgrade to SSD is still $240. Still more expensive than just buying an SSD from the store, but that's 1/4 of the price I was quoted for the repair.

    Apple sure loves their shenanigans.

    • That's Canadian $, just to be clear.

    • I tried to get a couple of mac minis upgraded, replacing the HDD drive with a 256GB SSD. I was quoted at $1000 just for the drive . This doesn't even include the labour for taking the thing apart!

      If I were to purchase a brand new Mac Mini, an upgrade to SSD is still $240.

      You can get a complete Intel NUC including SSD for the price of Apple's SSD, why keep abusing yourself? And AMD 2700U based minis will land any time now.

  • I made my appointment to get my iPhoneâ(TM)s battery replaced via Appleâ(TM)s web site. The form specifically asks the purpose of the appointment and iPhone battery replacement is one of the choices. After selecting that, making the appointment, and showing up at the appointed time, Iâ(TM)m told that they donâ(TM)t actually have a battery in stock due to âoehigh demand.â

    Well then why the hell did their web form allow me to make an appointment for a suggested date and time kno

  • And give cash to users like me who bought your âoethey just workâ phones, or at least a decent iTunes or Apple Store credit for the trouble of having to drag myself to your store, (or be without my phone when I send it in, wait for you to swap the battery, (or pretend to,) then ship it back, and assuming all goes to plan, I have WHAT I ALREADY PAID FOR.

    Just about ready to eBay all my Apple shit and buy something from a company NOT constantly trying to rip me off.
  • I put in an order a week ago and the indications are two to three weeks for the battery to get to the store. So, yes, demand is very heavy. When the program started out, the Genius Bar was booked out for a week so I guess the earlybird did get the worm. They are basically rationing out the battery replacements now. This is for my previous phone, my current phone is fine.

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard