U.S. Lawmaker Wants Answers From Apple On BatteryGate

Senator John Thune, a Republican who chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, has some questions for Apple following its revelation that older iPhones are slowed down with sluggish batteries.

According to news from Reuters, citing a letter the lawmaker sent to Apple’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, Thune wants to know what’s happening to older iPhones. In the letter, the lawmaker wrote: “The large volume of consumer criticism leveled against the company in light of its admission suggests that there should have been better transparency.”

Thune wants to know if Apple considered making the battery replacements free and if it alerted consumers of the throttling feature in the software update that made older iPhones operate slower. He also wants to know if consumers had the option to opt out of the software update and if software of a similar nature was used for older iPhone models as well. Thune is giving Apple a deadline of Jan. 23 to answer his questions.

In December, John Poole, founder of software company Primate Labs, discovered that iPhone 6s models running iOS versions 10.2 and 11.2 and iPhone 7 phones running iOS 11.2 were more likely to have instances of slower processing speeds. Apple confirmed Poole’s findings, noting on Dec. 20 that the tech company was trying to “smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down” when conditions were cold or as batteries aged.

The news caused a social media backlash, as customers expressed outrage that they had not been informed of the change or were given the option to replace the battery. It also resulted in a class-action lawsuit against the Cupertino, California-based company.

As a result, Apple issued an apology, saying: “We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making. First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.”

The company is slashing $50 off the out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement for the next year. A new software update will also launch early next year, giving users more insight into battery life.