Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian

Apple shocked the tech world in late December when it admitted it had intentionally slowed down the performance of older iPhone handsets via its operating software updates. The Cupertino, CA tech giant offered its reasoning, which many consumers immediately dismissed. There was no way, most consumers said, that Apple was not slowing down their phones to entice new sales of its flagship product.

Apple stuck to its story, but the more representatives who insisted the intentional slowdown offered a long-run benefit for the customer, the more consumers loudly contemplated switching the Samsung. So, Apple went back to the drawing board, and recently teased a possible alternative solution to the slowdown. According to several media reports, Apple is thinking about offering a rebate to customers who go out and buy a new battery, the supposed cause of the slowdown in the first place.

This leaked plan came on the heels of yet another apology attempt that failed to return Apple to the good graces of its formerly dedicated fan base. In addition to this attempt, Apple also rather quietly, announced plans to lower the price of replacement batteries for later models from $79 to $29.

The rebate news came courtesy of Senator John Thune, who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee and has been in regular contact with Apple since it made the admission regarding the slowdown “update.”

Thune told the media last week that Apple was coming around on this issue. “Apple has acknowledged that its initial disclosures came up short … Apple has also promised the committee some follow-up information, including an answer about additional steps it may take to address customers who purchased a new battery at full price.”

Apple released a statement the same day as Thune. Cynthia Hogan, Apple’s VP of public policy, said, “… our intention has been to give our customers the best products and the best experiences, we have apologized to our customers and, as described here, have taken a number of steps to address the complaints …”

Hogan added that she believes the discounted batteries could be the olive branch that wins customers back. Demand for the replacements has been “strong” she said, and offering a rebate to customers that already paid the higher price could also go a long way toward assuaging the upset caused by the previous disclosure.

That’s not to say everyone’s happy. Many Apple customers have complained about updates for years, claiming Apple used the updates to mess with the function of their phones so they’d be forced to buy new ones. Until last December, Apple always ignored or denied these claims. Now, some consumers are saying, “See, told you … I won’t be duped again.” Clearly, Apple is not out of the woods quite yet.


Ronn Torossian founded 5WPR, a leading independent American PR agency.