The battery conundrum

Nikhil Bhave
Saturday, 30 December 2017

We all know what happens when our phones get old. The battery discharges faster and the entire handset slows down. This usually ends with us saying ‘damn it’, and here starts the search for a new handset. But what if the slowing effect was not because of age? This week saw Apple raise the doubt in everyone’s mind (and a few lawsuits too). The company had to come out and apologise.

We all know what happens when our phones get old. The battery discharges faster and the entire handset slows down. This usually ends with us saying ‘damn it’, and here starts the search for a new handset. But what if the slowing effect was not because of age? This week saw Apple raise the doubt in everyone’s mind (and a few lawsuits too). The company had to come out and apologise.

In a statement to TechCrunch, the Cupertino-based tech-giant confirmed that its updates to older iPhones slowed the devices to a considerable extent. But, the company says this was done to preserve battery life of the device. Here is what they had to say: ‘Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, at low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.”

“Last year, we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.”

In other words, a user notices his/her older phone is slowing down. He/she surmises it must be due to the age and then buys a newer iPhone. Conversely, as smartphones continue to evolve, older models cannot keep up. Hence problems like battery drain. Hence, the slowing down to conserve battery makes sense. But isn’t that something best left to the customer to decide? The company should have ensured transparency in this process and let people choose. One size doesn’t fit all. The customers should be allowed to change their device’s battery, instead of forcing them to buy a new (and expensive) one. After all, if the device is working fine otherwise, why force a product down their throat?

Those wanting a newer product will go for it anyway. A case in point is iPhone X in India. Despite its higher price bracket, it still found enough buyers in India.

The battery charging problem is something not restricted to Apple devices only. All lithium-ion batteries go the same way after a certain number of charge cycles. More durable, longer-lasting batteries are the need of the hour.

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