Apple’s battery replacement deal could mean a dip in iPhone sales

4 Jan 2018

iPhone X. Image: Hadrian/Shutterstock

Apple has slashed the price of replacement batteries for many older iPhones.

It has been a number of weeks since Apple acknowledged it slowed down iPhones following prolonged speculation that the firm did so in order to force customers into purchasing new phones.

The company received major criticism for its approach, with many people saying that more transparency around the reasoning behind the slowdown would not have gone amiss. There are already lawsuits in the works in several US states, as well as Israel and France, as users accuse the tech giant of implementing a planned obsolescence strategy.

Battery replacement scheme could hurt sales

In an effort to appease customers, Apple has reduced the price for out-of-warranty battery replacements from $79 to $29. According to Fortune, the devices eligible for the lower replacement price include all models from the iPhone 6 to the iPhone X, and the phone must be in good working order without signs of damage.

The new battery scheme was supposed to kick off in late January but Apple recently announced that the replacements could commence immediately.

While the price reduction should please some customers, it could also end up having an impact on iPhone sales. Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz said the battery replacement programme’s effect on sales may be “significant”. He noted that 77pc of iPhone users are using models eligible for the more affordable replacement battery, meaning even a tiny portion of them opting to hold off on an upgrade to receive a new battery could make quite a dent in iPhone sales.

“While this is a good PR move for Apple to resolve the issue, we are concerned it could be a mild headwind for iPhone unit sales if more iPhone users decide to take the offer instead of upgrading to a new device.”

Apple clarifying issues

Apple wrote a letter to customers to clarify some misunderstandings people may have had about the issue, and why the phone performance reduction was implemented.

It explained that all rechargeable batteries are “consumable components” that become less effective as they chemically degrade, meaning their ability to adequately hold a charge is reduced.

Apple added an update to prevent random shutdowns of the phones, and maintains it was nothing to do with trying to get users to purchase new devices.

“First and foremost, we have never – and would never – do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.

“Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.”

iPhone X. Image: Hadrian/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects