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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  • Prismatic - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    You might want to experience it. I have a 20 year old ThinkPad, 10 year old Toughbook and 9 year old Palm Centro whose batteries perform 90% or higher.

    The reason why the battery only lasts 2 years is because they're continually kept at 100% which burns them up faster than using them.
  • ddrіver - Monday, January 1, 2018 - link

    Your tooth brush also only has one spike, when it's turned on and jut two modes of operation: on or off.

    It's nice to see your level of understanding of a complex SoC power usage profile by comparing it with a tooth brush. I have a LED light in my remote and the batteries are 4 years old, Apple could learn from those LED manufacturers and alkaline battery makers.
  • rsandru - Monday, January 1, 2018 - link

    Thatr's a dumb example: your toothbrush doesn't spike at a dozen amperes for a few milliseconds and expects the battery voltage to hold steady... Search for Ohm's law and see what happens to your voltage output when the impedance increases and you try to suddenly pull 10A...
  • cpy - Sunday, December 31, 2017 - link

    Capacity down to 10% of original = order of magnitude lower
    Capacity down to 1% of original = orders of magnitude lower

    Apparenlty we're dealing with idiots here.
  • ddrіver - Sunday, December 31, 2017 - link

    Those same guys can't realize that the capacity is not relevant to the problem. It's the voltage/impedance that's the problem. Both degradations may occur at the same time but it's the second one that caused this whole debacle.
  • FunBunny2 - Sunday, December 31, 2017 - link

    "It's the voltage/impedance that's the problem. "

    no, it isn't. the problem is that iOS 11 made the problem by being one-size-fits-newest-iPhone, thus sabotaging existing units. having an OS that switches functions based on the hardware it runs on isn't rocket science or unprecedented. as I said on one of these posts, Gates had DOS and Windows written to the latest x86 cpu, and devil take the rest. nothing new. Cook faces a slightly different problem: battery progress has always been glacial, and there's some reason to believe that energy density has reached the asymptote of density increase. since we're nearing the quantum problem of smaller node size, another asymptote, dealing with being on the leveling part of the curve is something humans haven't had to deal with before. previous Dark Ages of anti-progress were the result of decisions to ignore science. here, even though some of us are anti-intellectual (guess who?), the issue is reaching the limits of physics.
  • ddrіver - Monday, January 1, 2018 - link

    You'd better stick to toothbrush comparisons. Your other rants are boring and look like the ravings of a drunk.
  • FunBunny2 - Monday, January 1, 2018 - link

    an interesting observation, but still doesn't offer a rational explanation for why: older SoC with older batteries and older iOS run fine, but tank when iOS 11 is installed. well, other than Apple thought it a neato way to get folks to toss an old iPhone for a new one. just read the multitude of comments describing that behaviour. again, Apple has the smarts to configure iOS 11 to meet the needs, and just the needs, of older SoC installed. they chose not to do that.
  • BillBear - Monday, January 1, 2018 - link

    You call suddenly turning off without warning "running fine"?

    I'm kind of waiting for someone to file a class action lawsuit against Android device makers because they can't make emergency calls when their device suddenly shuts down without warning.
  • FunBunny2 - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - link

    "You call suddenly turning off without warning "running fine"?"

    go through the comments. the number of shutdown when running old iOS on old iPhone with old battery is a small fraction of the iOS 11 on such an iPhone tanking. FWIW. again, with vigour: Cook could have ordered the pointy headed guys to build iOS such that it configured to the SoC/battery combination it found, and didn't implement the "new" iOS functions that cause problems with said old SoC/battery combos. that would have been putting the customer first. make it transparent that older iPhones wouldn't get all the new goodies of iOS 11, so the owner could choose. and, for the sake of argument, how long do you think old iPhones will take to eat that new battery running iOS 11 functions that still clobber older SoC???? a few months, is my guess.

    the problem is iOS 11 only works as designed on 8/X phones. but Cook won't tell you that.

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