Following widespread criticism for reducing SoC frequency because of battery degradation, Apple announced plans to cut down the price of an out-of-warranty battery replacement for the iPhone 6 and newer models to $29 (from $79) throughout 2018. The battery swap program was expected to kick off early in 2018, but Apple has decided to initiate it immediately in the US, starting December 30. Later on, the company plans to update its iOS in early 2018 to give its customers a visibility of battery wear out and help them to decide whether they need a swap or not.

We expected to need more time to be ready,” Apple said in a statement published by TechCrunch. “But we are happy to offer our customers the lower pricing right away. Initial supplies of some replacement batteries may be limited.

Earlier this month Apple confirmed that it reduces the iPhone SoC frequency, among other things, as its battery capacity depreciates over time in order to avoid unexpected shutdowns from high current draw. The company claims that at times its processors demand a higher peak current than a degraded battery can provide. In particular, as batteries age (or are operated in a low temperature environment), the impedance grows and the ability to supply enough current at a stable voltage drops. Apple’s power management monitors a combination of the iPhone temperature, battery charge, and the battery’s impedance (the company does not say how it can monitor the impedance of a battery). Since all components require certain voltages and currents to operate, in a bid to avoid unexpected shutdowns, iOS reduces the SoC frequency and therefore reduces the performance of the smartphone until the power management IC finds it reasonable.

We have already published two stories covering the Apple battery fiasco, where we covered some additional details on the matter:

While an iPhone is guaranteed to make an emergency call, its aged battery may not provide required performance for all the third-party applications needed. In a bid to remedy the battery situation, Apple offers owners of the iPhone 6, 6S, SE and 7 in the US to install a new battery for $29, starting today. To do so, owners of the said iPhones will have to either send their smartphones to Apple, bring them to the company’s stores, or bring them to an Apple authorized service provider. The final details yet have to be published. Apple says that it usually takes 7-9 days to replace a battery, but if a large number of clients decide to replace their existing units straight away, the service will take longer and shortages of certain battery units may occur. It remains to be seen how Apple deals with its customers in Asia and Europe.

Sometimes early next year Apple intends to update its iOS to give their customers a clear understanding of the health of their iPhone’s batteries. This probably indicates that Apple will continue to lower performance of its SoCs going forward to prevent shutdowns, prolong battery life and guarantee phone operation in case of emergencies for all of its customers. 

Source: TechCrunch

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  • ironargonaut - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - link

    Sorry but they only slow them down when new phone is released, if it was important they would do it when necessary not when phones released
  • ironargonaut - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - link

    Should have added this link.
    Clearly shows slow downs correspond to release dates not to when battery levels drop.
  • Samus - Sunday, December 31, 2017 - link

    Me Yo is right. Other phone designs, voltage regulators, power management, etc, seem to work around degraded voltage of a battery just fine. Basically Apple should have incorporated a capacitor or some sort of on the fly voltage upconverter to deal with spikes in power demand.
  • ddrіver - Monday, January 1, 2018 - link

    Other phone design are also a lot slower. By any benchmark. Apple simply decided to cram the performance in the first year of usage instead of spreading it nice and thin over 5 years when almost nobody uses the phone for that long.

    So as I said, design choice not accident. And no amount of holding hands and blowing compliments in each other's ears about who's right will change this. The people who designed the fastest phone SoC in history probably know more about this than Me Yo and Samus with his "it's missing a capacitor".

    Full of geniuses around here it is. LOL =))
  • ironargonaut - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - link

    Please explain this correlation,
  • Argosy - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - link

    ironargonaut, search term spikes explained by Apple releasing new version of OS typically around the time of new iPhone release. Apple is able to push new OS update to "every" iPhone applicable. New OS is optimized for newer phones (with more capable SOCs) and probably less so for 3+ year old phones. You don't see the same search term spike for Android because there is no spike in Android phones downloading new OS updates. Most Android users are not on latest release with in a year of release (maybe years?). Also note, far from all of the iPhone models apple admitted to throttling were actually throttled according to John Poole's data. If Apple's sole intention was to "sabotage" why would they not sabotage all iPhones. Also, the throttling occurred at several different bands supporting the notion the more worn a battery the more throttling.
  • willis936 - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - link

    Umm yes the very first cellular phone that used a battery had a power supply in it with energy storage elements and voltage regulation and every cellular phone since then has had that. They didn't disappear in the iphone 6s. This is a sham.
  • picka - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - link

    Sorry, but phones with good batteries are also slowed down. I have 5% battery wear and my SE sits at 911-1200MHz range. Sometimes at 100% it revs at 1.85GHz, but it lasts for a few minutes and drops to 1200 or 911MHz. It is bullshit that it is due to degraded batteries. Apple should provide a toggle and keep the 29$ dollar price for batteries.
  • HStewart - Saturday, December 30, 2017 - link

    "I bet they make a lot of money battery swaps, which was the plan all along."

    I seriously doubt they make money on battery swaps - my guess almost 90% of battery upgrades are when they get trade in. Typically an iPhone user trades them in every other version. This is first time I didn't - because 1. the 7 did not look like much improvement but I like the 8 better - but X was even more desirable and the 6 has done me great.
  • Alexvrb - Saturday, December 30, 2017 - link

    At $30 they won't be making money off the battery swaps themselves. They will be retaining customers, however.

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