Under Fire, Apple Considers iPhone Battery-Replacement Rebates

Apple, facing scrutiny for slowing down older iPhones, is considering rebates for some customers who paid the full price of $79 for battery replacements, the company said in a letter to the U.S. Senate.

Apple answered eight questions asked by Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, earlier this month after Apple's admission in December that it slowed down iPhones to prevent unexpected shutdowns. Apple's response was filed Friday and made public Tuesday.

Thune, who chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, originally gave Apple a Jan. 23 deadline to reply but granted an extension at the company's request, according to the committee's communications director, Frederick Hill.

In addition to the possibility of rebates, Apple revealed that the new iPhone 8 and X have hardware updates that "allow a more advanced performance management system that more precisely allows iOS to anticipate and avoid an unexpected shutdown," wrote Cynthia Hogan, Apple's vice president for public policy.

Hogan also doubled down on Apple's stance that it would never slow down iPhones to pressure users to upgrade to a newer model, which is known as planned obsolescence.

"As we said publicly, 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," wrote Hogan. "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."

Hogan outlined that in fall 2016, Apple received notice of iPhones unexpectedly shutting down. In January 2017, Apple released the battery slowdown update. The next month, Apple alerted iPhone users in the iOS 10.2.1 ReadMe notes.

In December, Apple announced it will make all battery replacements $29 -- $50 less than the original out-of-warranty cost -- until the end of this year. Hogan...

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