So, you thought your iPhone began to slow down after every new iOS upgrade? Uh huh. Sure. Well, it turns out that you’re half right. Who’s to blame for this problem? Everybody. But let’s blame Apple first.
Guess who did a good deed that turned into a public relations nightmare? Apple, of course. Only Apple has problems. That’s because we care. Nobody complains much about Google, Samsung, or Microsoft. Why? Because only iPhones have battery problems.
Tell Me, Please
Unless you’ve been traveling abroad– and by abroad; I mean Mars, Venus would do; or, skirting through time in the T.A.R.D.I.S with Doctor Who– you haven’t heard the latest. Apple was caught slowing down older iPhones. On purpose. As in, deliberately.
You know why, right?
The most common notion is that Apple wants customers to think think their iPhones are older and running slower, especially when a new version of iOS is installed, so they’ll sell it, hand it down, trade it in, or do whatever– but just buy a new iPhone already. Right?
Digging into the facts a bit we come up with some science, some physics, some human nature, and mashed them all up with a public relations problem. Battery-gate, circa 2017.
Here’s the deal. Lithium ion batteries degrade over time, and within a year or two or three will charge up only to about 80-percent or less of their like-new maximum. That only happens to iPhone batteries because nobody cares about Android smartphone batteries. Unless they catch fire or explode.
When an iPhone’s battery reaches a certain point of weakened power it can cause performance problems and since Apple is all about the user experience the company installed functionality in recent iOS versions that would throttle the phone’s performance a bit– certainly enough to be noticed– to ensure it kept working as it should. That worked. Until someone pointed out the problem, ran some benchmark tests on iPhones with weaker batteries, and noticed a correlation between weak batteries and weak performance.
A good deed became a public relations nightmare. Drive-by shooter Adrian Kingsley-Hughes called it boneheaded.
Oh Apple, this is a terrible way to do business. This is like the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth buttons in Control Center that don’t actually turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, only a hundred times worse.
100 times worse? I’m sure Kingsley-Hughes has some math to back that up. Oh. Wait. My bad. ZDNet writers are not allowed to use math.
While I think that adding code to iOS that caters for battery issues is clever, not telling users that this is happening is something that categorically gets the Cupertino giant onto Santa’s naughty list for several reasons
So, not really actually that bad after all because clever? Still, perception is reality and the perception is iPhones are getting old because they’re slowing down (Apple’s fault), customers think they need a new iPhone when they may only need a new battery, and Apple has betrayed customer trust (Apple’s fault).
This whole Battery-gate issue is much like Bend-gate, Antenna-gate, and all the other Watergate-like scandals that have plagued Apple in recent years. Much ado about not much. Even Kingsley-Hughes admitted that what Apple did was clever. Apple just didn’t go far enough.
Surely Apple can develop software functionality that can alert customers to the need to get a battery checked out (or, just do it and issue a status report), and surely someone at Apple can create an alert notification to tell customers that the iPhone’s battery is getting weaker and then give them the option to either, 2) allow the slow down in performance as Apple does now, or, 2) leave it alone and take your chances.
Perception is reality and sometimes Apple’s perception of reality is different than the customer’s perception of reality. Just remember that only iPhone’s have battery problems.