Back to the iPhone battery ...

Back to the iPhone battery ...

Summary: Yesterday the Consumer Protection Board in New York called on Apple to make it easier and less expensive for users to replace the iPhone's battery once it's comes to the end of its life.

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Yesterday the Consumer Protection Board in New York called on Apple to make it easier and less expensive for users to replace the iPhone's battery once it's comes to the end of its life.

Here are the highlights from the press release [emphasis added]:

  • The Apple Corp. should revamp its customer service policies to make it easier and less expensive for consumers to repair an iPhone, the New York State Consumer Protection Board said today.
  • ... consumers should not have to pay a $79 fee to replace the battery in an iPhone.
  • One solution, she [CPB Chairperson and Executive Director Mindy A. Bockstein] said, would be a redesign to allow a consumer to replace the battery instead of sending it away for a new power supply.
  • The CPB is also objecting to the $29 fee that is charged for a temporary replacement phone, as well as the 14-day trial period offered by Apple.
  •  Apple should also drop the 10 percent restocking fee charged when someone returns an iPhone.
  • "Finally we ask that Apple review its practices in disclosing contract terms and conditions, warranties and return policies," said Chairperson Bockstein. In Apple stores and online, these disclosures should be more prominent and conspicuously displayed.
  • "A high-end cell phone shouldn't have to have low-end customer service," said Chairperson Bockstein.  

There are some pretty valid points made there by the CPB, but I'm just a little surprised that the criticisms over a battery that isn't user-replaceable is being aimed solely at the iPhone and not the other myriad devices in use that fall into the same category - such as music players, PDAs, GPS receivers, Bluetooth headsets, as well as countless other similar devices.  If the CPB wants to take exception to such devices, it needs to take a broader look at the market.

But on the other hand, it's not as though Apple didn't get plenty of prior warning that an internal battery wasn't such a good idea - I and many other commentators at the time the information was released felt that this battery issue could be a thorn in the side of the iPhone, and while it's certainly not a deal-breaker (iPod owners are already more than familiar and happy with internal batteries), it could represent a problem for Apple down the line.  Having an iPod go down because of a dodgy battery is one thing, having your cellphone, especially if it's used for business, is quite another.

I know that Apple doesn't like having too many buttons, catches and latches on devices, and I know that having the battery fitted internally means that a larger battery could be crammed into the device, but I really do think that Apple's going to have to bite the bullet and get used to the fact that a cellphone needs to have a user-replaceable battery, especially if it's to gain traction in the business/professional market segments.

Thoughts?

Topics: Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility

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41 comments
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  • One thing to consider

    [i]"I know that having the battery fitted internally means that a larger battery could be crammed into the device"[/i]

    I disagree with that. My daughter's Motorola is very slim and has a "square" battery which drops into a slot and the battery contacts are on the inner face so there is no wasted space for connections.

    My Nokia phone has the battery molded into the back of the case. Once again the contacts for the battery are flush to the fitting. When my wife was going out the other week, her phone charge was low so she unclipped her battery and pinched mine! You'll not be doing that with an iPhone!!

    Apple could have done this very easily, but I suspect a mix of Apple's desire to control the customers combined with their designers well-known love of minimalism is the main culprit here.
    bportlock
    • There's gotta be more to it.

      [b]Apple could have done this very easily, but I suspect a mix of Apple's desire to control the customers combined with their designers well-known love of minimalism is the main culprit here. [/b]

      I think you're wrong in this case. It IS a question of control, but, it's more a question of recurring income.

      Think about it. $29 for a loaner phone. $79 for the battery replacement. It's about greed.

      Meanwhile, if you look around, you can find batteries for that Motorola for $10 - $15 a pop. Heck, you can find brand new batteries for most Moto phones for under $10 on eBay ALL day long. That's including shipping.

      So it's a question of $110 in Apple's pocket and up to a week waiting for it to get back to you vs $10 bucks and about 30 seconds worth of your time swapping it out.
      Wolfie2K3
  • Too funny!

    Isn't this what we have been saying all along!

    The iPhone battery saga is all about Apple making a few more $$$. The battery could have EASILY been made user-replaceable, and anyone who thinks otherwise is naive.

    Of course, the Apple cultists will soon be here to 'defend the queen' in whatever ridiculous way they can...

    The really funny (NOT) part about this is the [i][b]...$29 fee that is charged for a temporary replacement phone...[/b][/i]. Is this $29 on top of the $79 to actually replace the battery, and does the $79 include the carriage to and from an Apple authorised service centre?

    Cider goggles off please...
    Scrat
    • Internal batteries

      Allow for cleaner design and design is what Apple is all about.
      frgough
      • SO it's more important...

        .. thet the design looks clean than whether you allow yourself to be outrageously scalped?

        Oh I forgot - anyone daft enough to pay $600 for a phone will never think of that.
        bportlock
        • Hmmmm...

          Anyone daft enoguh to pay $600 for a phone? Thanks for helping me manage my own hard earned money. I take exception to the people who try to act as though it is a bad thing to spend my own money on something i want. I also think it is funny that people are going out of their way to make idiotic comments about Apple and their user base. Listen, you don't like it, don't buy it. Daft? would you use such words for someone who purchases a $600 gps device that only functions as a navigational tool? I think that is a little crazy but I don't think it is any of my business to put down someone for spending their money how they want. Such moronic comments make me want to scream. When someone spends the same amount on an Xbox do you have the same comments for them? What the hell is it about Apple that gets you retards in such a tizzy? I like their products. So sue me. Call me names. But it is becoming so clich? to make comments about Mac users when the people making the comments are obviously so ridiculously blinded by their own bias that they can't appreciate anything that Apple does. Please go sit in the corner and let the world move on while you make love to your Compaq running Windows2000. Get a life!
          massiv_design
          • Take exception all you want...

            [i]"Thanks for helping me manage my own hard earned money."[/i]

            I don't care what you spend your money on, nor did my post say whether or not anyone *should* buy an iPhone.


            [i]"I also think it is funny that people are going out of their way to make idiotic comments about Apple and their user base."[/i]

            I'm glad to have brightened your day.


            [i]"would you use such words for someone who purchases a $600 gps device that only functions as a navigational tool?"[/i]

            No - because a GPS *is* a navigational tool. Trust me on this - I have enough of them.


            [i]"What the hell is it about Apple that gets you retards in such a tizzy?"[/i]

            I'm in a tizzy? Have you looked in the mirror today? Read your post perhaps?
            bportlock
          • Ok...

            [i]Trust me on this - I have enough of them.[/i]

            Wow. can i be you? You own multiple navigational devices? Either you own mulitple expensive cars, for which i am truly jealous, or you buy crappy products that constantly need replacing. I'm sure there is another option but it won't help in my response because it may actually be logical. =)

            [i]I don't care what you spend your money on, nor did my post say whether or not anyone *should* buy an iPhone.[/i]

            Really? Then maybe i wasn't directly responding your post. Because I am pretty sure making a negative comment about someone's character based on their purchasing an expensive device is doing just that. Something to think about.

            Listen, my post was a venting from a build up of anger. Did i get in a tizzy? You're damn right. I'm italian-american, its how we react to must things in general. I wasn't the first to start taking jabs and I'm sure i won't be the last.
            massiv_design
          • Errr...

            [i]"Wow. can i be you?"[/i]

            No


            [i]"You own multiple navigational devices?"[/i]

            When you fly aircraft you NEVER depend on only one device. You don't buy cheap ones for groundhuggers either, you need the 3D ones that use 4 satellites for position.


            [i]"Either you own mulitple expensive cars, for which i am truly jealous,"[/i]


            No, but many cars have them built in and they are not expensive cars either. Many family saloons have them. I take it things are different over there in the Land of the Fee?



            [i]"Listen, my post was a venting from a build up of anger. Did i get in a tizzy? You're damn right."[/i]

            It sort of showed....



            [i]"I'm italian-american, its how we react to must things in general."[/i]

            And that makes it OK does it? You're Italian so you are bad tempered? Well, I'm from Belfast originally - should I go round shooting people and planting bombs when I get upset? Here's some free advice that I use when I need to bomb someone - step back from the keyboard, go make a nice cup of tea, calm down, then do the typing. It really works - well it would for me 'cos I'm Irish!
            bportlock
        • I'm reminded...

          ...of the old Fernando Lamas sketch on Saturday Night Live. Billy Crystal, impersonating Fernando, would say, "It's better to look good than to feel good". Apparently form is more important than function.

          And on that note, I also imagine John Carroll is feeling vindicated right about now. :)

          Carl Rapson
          rapson
          • I know what you mean

            Shake the apple bandwagon a little and up pop the "Image is everything" brigade screaming at the top of their lungs.

            Beats the h*ll outa me! Don't they realise the importance of function, build and maintainability?
            bportlock
          • Not to mention...

            ...the new "closed is open" mantra, in which Apple is actually being more open by restricting the hardware on which its OS can run. Plus, Apple's refusal to sign broad licensing agreements is actually more open than Microsoft's licensing, because broad licensing somehow means less choice for consumers (I still haven't figured that one out).

            Carl Rapson
            rapson
          • tut, tut!!

            [i]"because broad licensing somehow means less choice for consumers (I still haven't figured that one out)."[/i]

            You'll clearly never cut it in politics..... ;-)
            bportlock
          • The flip side

            of the closed system is that companies can't play "pass the buck"
            where the hardware company says you have a Windows problem and
            that you need to contact MS - then MS says it's a hardware problem
            and to contact the hardware company. For OS/hardware problems
            Apple takes responsibility for both. that may not mean much to you,
            but it can for the average consumer.

            As for choice, the consumer has a huge range of computer products
            available, even without considering Apple. If they want they can look
            at little old Apple and decide if that option is for them. Lack of
            choice in the Pc world just isn't a problem.
            Ken_z
          • Ken: Apple takes responsibility?

            [i]For OS/hardware problems Apple takes responsibility for both. that may not mean much to you, but it can for the average consumer.[/i]

            Is "takes responsibility" a new code phrase for "sues the heck out of anyone who complains"? I swear that no company has ever sued their own customers more than Apple has.

            Also, was Apple taking responsibility when people had to sue them due to lousy battery life in the iPods, when their Cube cases showed cracks, when their iPods scratched just by looking at it funny?

            Apple has the [b]ability[/b] to take full responsibility... but they don't.
            NonZealot
          • Non_Z that is the RIAA

            [i]"I swear that no company has ever sued their own customers more than Apple has."[/i]

            The RIAA holds that title and will hold that title for years to come.
            dragosani
      • Er.. WHAT?

        [b]Internal batteries Allow for cleaner design and design is what Apple is all about. [/b]

        Uh.. Every cell phone I've had came with a user replacable INTERNAL battery. Not one of them ever stuck out of the case. Yes, some of them had a latch but not all of them. My A1200 doesn't. Just grab the side of the back of the case and slide down. NO unsightly latches. NO problems.
        Wolfie2K3
        • Batteries...

          Wolfie:

          Ah, I suppose you never owned a Moto StarTAC, then? Mine came with a slim battery, optional "fat" battery (replacement for the slim one), and the optional "backpack" battery.

          All external.
          M.R. Kennedy
    • Defending the "Queen"??

      [b]Of course, the Apple cultists will soon be here to 'defend the queen' in whatever ridiculous way they can...[/b]

      Scary thought there dude.. Steve Jobs in drag... Real scary.
      Wolfie2K3
  • Give me a break

    I do not buy, own, or use Apple products. Yet, I think the whole battery issue isn't an issue at all.

    If you don't like the Apple iPhone's battery then don't buy an iPhone. Vote with your money, folks.

    If they had a monopoly on the cell phone market that would be another story all together.

    People buy a $500+ dollar phone and complain about a $79 battery replacement every few years.

    Sheesh
    dragosani