The candid letter was both a defense of its actions and a plea for customers to give it another chance.
The letter opened by shooting down allegations that it intentionally slows down phones so customers are forced to upgrade, a practice known as forced obsolescence. A French consumer group recently filed a criminal lawsuit against Apple claiming it reduced the lifespan of its phones to “increase replacement rates,” an act that could result in jail time, according to French law.
“First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades,” Apple wrote. “Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.”
It went on to explain how lithium-ion batteries age depending on how they are charged and the conditions in which they are used. If you’re interested, you can learn more about it in a new support page Apple felt compelled to post. Most of the letter reiterates Apple’s defense: It purposefully throttled phones to prevent them from shutting down once their batteries couldn’t provide a strong enough charge.
Attempting to win consumers back, Apple posted a link to tips on maximizing the lifespan of an iPhone’s battery. It also said it would decrease the price of out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacements from $79 to $29 for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later, starting in late January. iPhones will also receive an update that gives users more visibility into the health of their batteries.
The company still has a long way to go to win its customer’s support back, but as we learned with Samsung’s Note 7 fiasco, apologizing is an important step in the right direction.