Whether or not you buy Apple’s response that it doesn’t slow down older iPhone models to promote sales, but that the slowdown is actually due to worn batteries, the company’s lack of up-front transparency has come back to bit ‘em in the butt.
A new class action suit filed by L.A.’s Stefan Bogdanovich claims Apple’s decision to slow the operation of older phones to save battery life was never requested or agreed upon — and lowers the value of their phones. He also doesn’t buy the tech giant’s explanation and says the slow-down is just a ploy to to get folks to upgrade.
Apple could have avoided “battery-gate” in a variety of ways. Rather than secretly hamstring the iPhone’s CPU, it could have educated users about the limitations of lithium-ion batteries instead of burying the info in a user manual, Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit tells Wired. Or Apple could sell battery replacement kits to consumers.
The Cupertino, California-Based company argues that allowing consumers to replace the battery could make the iPhone more vulnerable to hacks, and that letting people peek inside would make the iPhone easier to counterfeit. True to not, the situation will almost certainly revive the battle over “right-to-repair” laws.
This year, 12 states introduced right to repair legislation, but none of them passed, due to lobbying (by, among others, tech companies such as Apple) or crowded legislative calendars. Most states introduce new legislation in the first few weeks of the year, and Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of repair.org, told MotherBoard lawmakers in many new states have reached out to her about their intention to write a right to repair bill.
Passage of such legislation would mean manufacturers such as Apple would have to sell replacement parts to independent repair shops and consumers and would also have to make their diagnostic and service manuals public.
“Limited authorized channels result in inflated, high repair prices and high overturn of electronic items,” the legislators who introduced the New York bill wrote. “Another concern is the large amount of electronic waste created by the inability to affordably repair broken electronics.”
Apple has never authorized an independent company to repair iPhones, though it has for Macs. Apple Stores will only replace iPhone batteries if they fail a specific diagnostic test, the specifics of which aren’t made public. Third-party replacement repair usually costs about $40, compared to the $79 that Apple charges.