Apple’s BatteryGate apology was an extraordinary move for the company. The iPhone maker just doesn’t come out and say “I’m sorry, hey we screwed up” that often. In fact, any apology at all is unusual.
Apple has not apologised for a hardware flaw, as it did with the ‘Antennagate’ controversy that plagued the iPhone 4. And it’s not apologizing for lacklustre software, as it did in 2012 when the launch of Apple Maps was a fiasco.
No, Apple is apologising for one of its own decisions. What Apple is apologizing for isn’t a bug; it’s a design feature.
Apple admitted slowing some phones with ageing batteries but said it was to “prolong the life” of the devices Call me sceptical but my gut tells me they kept the battery-performance slowdown a secret to drive sales for the iPhone 8 and X.
Now that it’s been found out, Apple has basically been cornered into making the consumer-friendly moves it should have made in the first place. For the next 12 months, it will replace the batteries in customers’ iPhones for $29 each instead of the previous charge of $79. And its iOS operating system will get new features that will allow users to monitor the health of their batteries.
iPhone ‘glitches’ could have been fixed by swapping the battery from the outset. Why didn’t they just do this in the first place?
From now on every up-to-date iPhone will carry the result of this apology from Apple for years to come. Apple can’t back down — it has already essentially acknowledged that it made a mistake. Apple has shown an uncanny knack of bouncing back. Maybe this will serve as a positive lesson to Apple about the value of openness and transparency — things it has long lacked.