|Photo by Suganth|
Apple’s iPhone slowdown controversy has reached what seems like its final stage last night, when Tim Cook announced in an exclusive interview with ABC News that the company would give users the option to keep their older iPhones running at full speed, even once the battery had become, in Cook’s words, ‘unhealthy.’
The controversy began a few weeks ago when several iPhone users online shared benchmarks that showed older phones—iPhone 6 and 6s models—were being slowed down to less than half their original CPU performance. This led to wild speculation about so-called ‘planned obsolescence’: the idea that Apple was slowing down phones to encourage users to upgrade to newer models.
Apple admitted to releasing an update that slowed down iPhones whose batteries had become older, but the company was vehement that it was done in the users best interest—a way to prevent unexpected restarts. Cook reiterated this point in last night’s interview with ABC News.
“When we did put [the update] out, we did say what it was, but I don’t think a lot of people were paying attention and maybe we should have been clearer as well,” says Cook, explaining that Apple did notify users, probably in the update release notes. “And so we deeply apologize to anybody that thinks we had some other kind of motivation.”
In the short cut of the interview above, this apology is all that’s mentioned, but a longer version of the interview also revealed another very interesting tidbit: Apple’s forthcoming battery update will let users choose whether or not their phones are slowed down once the battery becomes ‘unhealthy.’
As MacRumors quotes from a longer cut they were able to embed:
We’re also going to… first in a developer release that happens next month, we’re going to give people the visibility of the health of their battery.
…we will tell someone we’re reducing your performance by some amount in order to not have an unexpected restart. And if you don’t want it, you can turn it off. Now we don’t recommend it, because we think people’s iPhones are really important to them, and you never can tell when something is so urgent. Our actions were all in service of the user. I can’t stress that enough.
Whether or not these changes—and the discounted battery replacements announced a couple of weeks ago—will be enough to get Apple out of a few of the lawsuits currently being pursued against the company is yet to be seen. But for users who wanted more transparency from the company, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.