United States Senator John Thune (R–S.D.), chairman of the Commerce Committee, has sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook seeking, among other things, clarification on how his company has decided to throttle performance of iPhones with worn-out batteries in iOS 10.2.1 and later.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Senator Thune noted that many customers believe Apple should have offered the battery replacement service for free to those affected.

From the article:

In a letter to Chief Executive Tim Cook, a copy of which was viewed by The Wall Street Journal, Thune asked how Apple has tracked customer complaints of processing performance, and if Apple has explored offering rebates to customers who paid full price for a battery replacement before the company offered discounted rates last month.

Having admitted to slowing down older iPhones with worn-out batteries, Apple has slashed its iPhone battery replacement service fee to $29 from $79 (limited to one repair per iPhone), regardless of the device’s battery condition.

Eligible devices include all iPhone SE, iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 models.

TUTORIAL: 4 ways to check your iPhone battery health

The publication also cited the Paris prosecutor’s office as saying that it is overseeing an investigation into Apple’s “alleged deception” and “planned obsolescence” of its products, launched last week and conducted by French consumer fraud group DGCCRF.

As many as 30 different class action lawsuits have been filed against Apple so far over the controversial battery slowdown practice.

iPhone 7 teardown image courtesy of iFixit

  • k8l

    « C’est un scandale ! » ?

  • M_Hawke

    This is the bad corporate decision that just keeps growing.

    • One could argue that their hardware design strategy was flawed and/or fault apple for not clearly stating that this important fix would inevitably slow down phones. But the decision to enact this change was a good corporate decision and one that needed to be made.

      • M_Hawke

        John, we’ve already had this discussion. And I don’t agree with you. And since I already know that you’ll reply back with another argument, I’ll just say that this is the last I’ll be responding to this. Regardless, have a good evening.

      • Well if you ever change your mind and respond, I’m curious as to what you don’t agree with. That power brownouts are bad for electronics? That spontaneous power failures during updates could brick your iPhone? That tens of thousands of people with older phones were experiencing these things at 20-40% battery life? That multiple independent studies corroborated Apple’s finding (that degraded batteries couldn’t output enough power to keep the device running under peak loads)? That Apple should have fixed it instead of letting consumers run the risk of permanent damage to their phones? That Apple should have stated up front what the side effect of this much needed change was to avoid confusion? That going forward Apple should rethink their design strategy and provide bigger batteries than needed to allow more time to degrade before it will affect performance (like virtually all Android phones)?

        Sorry, but I don’t understand why these statements keep getting so much pushback from people. Every time I give some combination of those facts/opinions people either say they don’t agree, I’m wrong, call me names, etc. But to date no one has actually written one sentence saying why any of that is incorrect… Oh well… have a good day sir.

      • bscaine

        So you work for Apple… I understand. Well good look trying to cover up Apple mess.

      • Lol, didn’t know that all it took was knowing facts about one issue to become an apple employee. But IDK… maybe when Steve Jobs was running Apple I would have been interested in working there. Under Tim Cook however, I’ve lost too much respect for Apple to actually want to work for them.

        I will say however, bravo for managing to read my paragraph of questions and not address any of them (including my accusations of Apple’s wrong doings) and go straight to an assessment of my career. You must be an internet veteran sir.

      • bscaine

        LOL, of course I know you are an Apple sprout wannabe. But guess what, Apple it’s not what it use to be anymore.

      • Lol I don’t even know what an Apple sprout wannabe even means… but if you’re going to ignore the dozens and dozens of posts I’ve made criticizing Apple and their products then I don’t know what to say… keep believing I’m an Apple fanboy/employee/sprout/etc. I guess if that makes you feel better about ignoring all the facts I’ve pointed out on this issue then you do you.

        And thanks for telling me that Apple isn’t what it used to be anymore. Now it finally makes sense to me why I’ve lost so much respect for them over the years, why their quality has dropped, why they released half baked products like the iPhone X, why they keep missing product ship dates etc etc…

  • bscaine

    This is nothing but tryiing to force iPhone user to upgrade their devices in orther to increse sales.

    • Or… It’s nothing more than a much needed protection against a design flaw that could ultimate cause your phone serious damage… Honestly, I’d suggest doing a tiny bit of research before making such wild assumptions.

      • Jamie Pearcey

        It’s just as bad in it’s self to secretly patch such a design flaw by rendering your product no better than a seriously outdated (obsolete?) device.

        – Such a design flaw should not exist in a £600 product
        – By hiding the flaw rather than providing an (acceptable) solution apple is preventing the buyer from seeking lawful remedy via consumer protection legislation
        – Even if it’s in the customers best interest, when you damage a product you have already sold someone, transparency and permission are completely essential. They had no right to retrospectively hamper the performance of a product they have already sold.
        – Rumors have been flying for years that apple was carrying out such mallicious practices, so given that they knew how important it was to consumers to have faith that such a wasn’t happening, there was no excuse for fulfilling such a conspiracy for what ever reason.
        – It is not a practice that is considered standard or acceptable within the industry. It is therefore implied that the company shall not implement anything that would deliberately have a detrimental effect on the performance of the device
        – Resolving the issue by way of battery replacement has remained prohibitively expensive
        – As the user was prevented from made aware of the extent of the damage caused by having an out of date battery, they were less likely to justify paying the excessive battery replacement fee over buying a new device
        – It is not in any way ethical to financially benefit from a flaw in your product at the expense of your customers. Regardless as to the intention of apple, they must have known that such a move would result in increased product sales.
        – IPhone have lobbied against consumer protection legislation that would enable customers to replace there own batteries, with unmerited justification. It’s like they don’t want a device they have broken to be fixable at a cost effective price?!
        – Release of the patch just happened to coincide with the release and was described in such a way in the release notes that no one would be any the wiser as to the consequence of downloading such an update
        – If you buy a device that slows down after so long due to a design defect. Then you are in effect buying a device which is temporarily overclocked. It should never have been advertised with a performance any better than the performance it slows down to. As that is the peformance you are getting out of it for a good part of the products lifespan. You are in effect paying through the move for a device that will have a particularly poor performance overall.