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Has the iPhone battery replacement program impacted device upgrades?

At yesterday’s earnings call that covered the first half of 2018, a question was posed to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook about whether or not investors should be concerned about slowing upgrade rates due to the company’s battery replacement program.

Consumers may now opt to replace the battery in their current device rather than purchasing a new iPhone. In response, Cook said that he was unable to answer because this is not something that Apple has taken into account. He explained, “We did it because we thought it was the right thing to do for our customers. I don’t know what effect it will have for our investors. It was not in our thought process of deciding to do what we’ve done.”

Cook also said that the iPhone has “fantastic reliability” and that the previously-owned market is continually expanding, with plenty of customers handing in their older models and using trade-ins for new devices.

Following the news that Apple introduced power management features to slow older iPhones in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns in devices that have degraded batteries, the company was accused of planned obsolescence and deliberately slowing iPhones to prompt customers to invest in an upgrade.  The company continues to deny this claim, and states that the power management feature was introduced to expand the life of an iPhone for as long as possible.

Apple has since apologized for the release of misinformation and has introduced a program that allows customers to get $29 battery replacements for iPhone 6 and newer. In iOS 11.3, more information will be given about battery health and customers will have the opportunity to toggle off the power management feature completely.

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