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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  • Pork@III - Monday, January 1, 2018 - link
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Monday, January 1, 2018 - link

    Wow...For only $30.00 it's problem solved! I've got two iPhone 6+ phones that will get new batteries and keep on trucking. People will still complain, but for me, this is a cost effective solution.
  • FunBunny2 - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - link

    "for me, this is a cost effective solution."

    update this comment in 6 months: is that "new" battery now considered "degraded" by iOS 11??? enquiring minds will want to know.
  • Tams80 - Monday, January 1, 2018 - link

    The throttling itself is not an issue. It's what's best for the phones. However, not telling people this is most certainly not acceptable.

    That this battery replacement price is only going to be this low for a limited time is irresponsible, insulting, and greedy.
  • id4andrei - Monday, January 1, 2018 - link

    If after a year your smartphone gets kneecapped that constitutes a defect. It is not reasonable for your phone to lose performance because the battery is undersized by design. This is a design flaw either way you take it. Basically textbook planned obsolescence.
  • BillBear - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - link

    No, if after your battery reaches it's end of life and your device starts turning off without warning, this is an avoidable problem.

    How long until somebody sues Samsung because they were unable to make an emergency call because their device powers off unexpectedly, despite showing that it still has a charge?
  • id4andrei - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    Batteries do not reach EOL after 1 year. This is a design flaw by underspeccing the battery in relation to the SoC's requirements. It's planned obsolescence and the hidden "fix" robbed you and millions others from free warranty service or replacements.
  • Prismatic - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    If you charge the battery once per day, it will reach End of Life in 10 months.
  • FunBunny2 - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    my antique LG phone is on the charger every night for at least 4 years. runs fine.
  • Prismatic - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    I've never used an iPhone but I've tinkered with enough Lithium Polymer batteries over the years to understand the following:

    *The temperature charging range for Li-Po is much narrower than the discharge range. The higher the temperature the faster it degrades. It's safe to charge up to 45C but not usually advisable. Your phone will last longer if you charge it while not in use.
    *The higher the voltage is kept the faster the battery degrades. So in theory if the phone's battery is kept at 100% for 8 hours a day one would lose about 7% of the battery's lifespan over the course of a year.
    *There is no standard as to how many charges a battery is designed to go through. Some say 300 others say 500.
    *I've understood that if never fully charged or discharged the stresses upon the battery are halved.
    *I don't know about the iPhone but some devices will continually cycle the top 5% of the battery under external power in a vain effort to prolong battery life. This practice is highly destructive.
    *I've read that some iPhone and Samsung Galaxy battery malfunctions are due to third party adapters and power banks. I know on micro-USB devices the voltage regulation is on the external side rather than within the phone itself.
    *The health of a Li-Po pack is correlated to how much swelling it has. Something that can be seen with my Galaxy S3 and S4 that are still perfectly fine with the former being 5 years old.
    *Lithium Ion prefers to always be in a constant dis/charging state. So with laptops even cycling them once a week is better than leaving them on the wall for months at a time.

    I tend to be rather delicate with my batteries so I get well above the 'two years' expected out of Lithium Polymer. I can't compare Li-Ion cells because most of what I use in laptops are Panasonic and those things are durable.

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