Following widespread criticism for reducing SoC frequency because of battery degradation, Apple announced plans to cut down the price of an out-of-warranty battery replacement for the iPhone 6 and newer models to $29 (from $79) throughout 2018. The battery swap program was expected to kick off early in 2018, but Apple has decided to initiate it immediately in the US, starting December 30. Later on, the company plans to update its iOS in early 2018 to give its customers a visibility of battery wear out and help them to decide whether they need a swap or not.

We expected to need more time to be ready,” Apple said in a statement published by TechCrunch. “But we are happy to offer our customers the lower pricing right away. Initial supplies of some replacement batteries may be limited.

Earlier this month Apple confirmed that it reduces the iPhone SoC frequency, among other things, as its battery capacity depreciates over time in order to avoid unexpected shutdowns from high current draw. The company claims that at times its processors demand a higher peak current than a degraded battery can provide. In particular, as batteries age (or are operated in a low temperature environment), the impedance grows and the ability to supply enough current at a stable voltage drops. Apple’s power management monitors a combination of the iPhone temperature, battery charge, and the battery’s impedance (the company does not say how it can monitor the impedance of a battery). Since all components require certain voltages and currents to operate, in a bid to avoid unexpected shutdowns, iOS reduces the SoC frequency and therefore reduces the performance of the smartphone until the power management IC finds it reasonable.

We have already published two stories covering the Apple battery fiasco, where we covered some additional details on the matter:

While an iPhone is guaranteed to make an emergency call, its aged battery may not provide required performance for all the third-party applications needed. In a bid to remedy the battery situation, Apple offers owners of the iPhone 6, 6S, SE and 7 in the US to install a new battery for $29, starting today. To do so, owners of the said iPhones will have to either send their smartphones to Apple, bring them to the company’s stores, or bring them to an Apple authorized service provider. The final details yet have to be published. Apple says that it usually takes 7-9 days to replace a battery, but if a large number of clients decide to replace their existing units straight away, the service will take longer and shortages of certain battery units may occur. It remains to be seen how Apple deals with its customers in Asia and Europe.

Sometimes early next year Apple intends to update its iOS to give their customers a clear understanding of the health of their iPhone’s batteries. This probably indicates that Apple will continue to lower performance of its SoCs going forward to prevent shutdowns, prolong battery life and guarantee phone operation in case of emergencies for all of its customers. 

Source: TechCrunch

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  • basroil - Monday, January 01, 2018 - link

    You're confusing everything I'm saying with nonsense right now.Here's the rundown:
    1) Li-ion batteries have a set discharge profile, they go from a charge voltage, usually ~4.2V, to a discharge voltage, somewhere around 3V. That is a chemical voltage and CANNOT change without a change in chemistry (which does not happen during degradation)
    2) Charge is the total energy stored between the charge voltage and discharge voltage for a certain use rate. The manufacturer determines the use rate, and depending on the battery model that may or may not be an optimal rate for maximum charge.
    3) The EXTERNAL voltage can differ from the internal one due to internal resistance and current. A properly designed system will build in sufficient capacitance to smooth out any spikes. More importantly, a properly designed system will measure the battery charge based on the actual maximum use scenario. Remember that the internal voltage may be dropping to 3V but the external one is actually a bit lower!
    4) Manufacturing processes induce variations, so if your first unit hit 3000mAh before 3V at half the actual power you're using, even the pilot run will likely have a half dozen or more that will get only 2400mAh at full power unless you built in enough margin during testing! Guess what? 2400mAh would be less than 80% max charge, and the battery would have to be replaced immediately from the factory!

    Don't fixate on current spikes, any properly designed system will have enough capacitance to smooth it out. I happen to work with amp boards that drive nano-precision motors at 30A, and even at 90% use the total current used by all motors is nowhere near 30A peak at the wall because there's a few large capacitors providing the extra energy when necessary.
    Reply
  • picka - Tuesday, January 02, 2018 - link

    Let's have the provide a toggle with full performance mode and then compare. If it was due to battery degradation, then why doesn't the phone operate at max frequency when on charger? I am charging and have it still running at 911MHz. Reply
  • Samus - Sunday, December 31, 2017 - link

    Hopefully this opens up the possibility Apple will change their industrial design to incorporate user replaceable batteries... Reply
  • Hurr Durr - Monday, January 01, 2018 - link

    One thing that certainly will never happen. If the goy can change his battery at will, how to make him buy a new phone? Reply
  • Me Yo - Sunday, December 31, 2017 - link

    ddriver

    You're defending a hardware defect on iPhones.

    Every battery degrades over time and doesn't cause the issues Apple is describing.
    Reply
  • ddrіver - Sunday, December 31, 2017 - link

    I am defending Apple's response to a battery defect in the iPhone.

    Since no other manufacturer uses Apple's A SoCs it's hard to tell if this behavior isn't caused by a design choice. Like the SoC triggering much higher spikes than SoCs used in other phones. The same design choices may even be the reason why Apple's SoCs outpace all others regardless of core count.

    But most old phones actually get this behavior. They reboot when the battery drops below certain levels even if they shouldn't. I have plenty of old phones that reboot anywhere between 40%-60%. Some of them aren't even that old, and didn't go through that many charge cycles (like a ~3 y/o BB that was charged every 3-5 days and that now reboots consistently at ~50%).

    If the battery in those iPhones was a dud or the users went through a lot of charge cycles due to the battery being small then it will just happen faster. To claim that this can't happen to others just suggests your parents buy you new phones every Christmas.
    Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Sunday, December 31, 2017 - link

    "Apple's A SoCs it's hard to tell if this behavior isn't caused by a design choice. Like the SoC triggering much higher spikes than SoCs used in other phones."

    but that's not what happened, of course. a new OS decided that the battery was defective, once that OS was installed. if that's not a good definition of sabotage, I'll wait while someone finds a better one.
    Reply
  • RanDum72 - Monday, January 01, 2018 - link

    Basically the new OS was given the capability to 'throttle or not to throttle' depending on battery health. Whether or not it is 'sabotage' remains to be seen. It can also be seen as a device saving measure which ensures the user can still use the phone and not require an expensive (now rather cheap) new battery. Reply
  • ddrіver - Monday, January 01, 2018 - link

    Bunny, you're not fun. The OS didn't decide "hey, let me do this and that". Apple engineers noticed the SoC exceeds battery operation conditions a lot sooner than in most other slower phones. So the software engineers introduced the throttling to compensate. It's not sabotage, it's very similar to every other protections put in place in every CPU since the dark ages of computing.

    Your CPU slows down when it's hot. But what if you wanted it to be fast at ANY cost? And the damn capitalist pigs sabotaged you! No, the problem here is that they did the right thing but weren't honest with people and didn't tell them. Screaming sabotage is so idiotic it's not even funny.

    Next you'll tell me Mercedes limiting their cars to 155mph is also sabotage. Forces you to buy the more expensive unlimited models.
    Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Monday, January 01, 2018 - link

    "No, the problem here is that they did the right thing but weren't honest with people and didn't tell them."

    I don't run iPhone, just to be clear, but tell that to all the folks here who've installed 11 and found that their battery is "degraded". the only change is the OS. battery was fine under previous OS, and so, apparently, was the phone. the only reasonable conclusion: iOS 11 (at least) tries to drive *all* iPhone as if it were the latest SoC, rather than the real one inside the case. it's not rocket science to configure an OS to the cpu it runs, rather than simply degrading the SoC. linux does that all the time.
    Reply

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