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Fact vs. Fiction: The iPhone Battery Controversy

Following Apple’s admission of slowing down old iPhones, backlash (including lawsuits) ensued, with many frustrated consumers denouncing Apple for its actions.

However, when such controversies occur, the truth can often be mired in fiction, making it hard for the everyday person to get a proper sense of what exactly took place. Thus, it is time to separate these facts from the fluff, in order to clearly identify what exactly Apple did and did not do in this situation.

This controversy was initially caused by a teenager’s Reddit posting who, according to Macrumors.com, ran Geekbench tests testing the performance of his iPhone 6S’s processor before and after a battery replacement, noting that before the battery was replaced, it performed significantly worse than with the new battery. This led everyone to draw the conclusion that Apple was slowing down older iPhone models, resulting in the lower performance scores.

iPhone Battery Image
“IPhone Battery Scandal.” Apple, www.apple.com/support/products/images/iphone-hero.jpg.

Several days later, Apple confirmed that it was slowing down older iPhones, by preventing the amount of power the CPU (central processing unit) can take from the battery at any given time. However, contrary to the popular suspicion that Apple was doing this to force people to upgrade to a newer phone, the company instead maintained that this was intended to prevent the iPhones from randomly shutting down. These unexpected shutdowns would have been the result of aging batteries; the Lithium-ion batteries used by the iPhones naturally degrade over time, resulting in random shutdowns caused by an uneven supply of power to the processor. Thus, this slowing down of old phones is instead intended to extend the life of iPhones, sacrificing slower speeds for longer consistent use of the device.

Despite the fact that Apple’s intentions may have been clean in this controversy, there is still room for improvement for their PR; although what they did may be better than the alternative, the way they handled it was not up to standard. Instead of hiding this feature from consumers and only acknowledging it after it became the center of a controversy, Apple should have been up front with they customers, letting them know that their phones may become slower with age, and detailing why it would happen. In addition, as noted by 9to5Mac.com, Apple could warn users about their battery’s health by including a designated panel in Settings, allowing them to prioritize their batteries longevity or phone’s speed, depending on each individual’s preference.

Ultimately, as with any situation like it, Apple’s actions in this case have positives and negatives, and rights and wrongs. However, it is important to keep facts and fiction separate, and evaluate the situation from a clear, logical standpoint - in order to not only draw a valid conclusion about the current controversy, but also to learn lessons from it that apply to the future as well.

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Tagged in : Smartphones

Arthur Lafrance Image

Arthur Lafrance

Arthur Lafrance is a junior at Homestead High School in Cupertino, CA. Having worked with computers and computer programming since elementary school, he loves to learn and educate others about tech, and plans to pursue studies in the fields of computer science and computer engineering.