Apple Faces iPhone Battery Replacement Ire

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Back when Apple first introduced the iPod, the company faced criticism from both customers and consumer advocates over the music players’ batteries, which could not be replaced by owners. Instead, iPod addicts were to take their units back to Apple and pay a pretty hefty price for a new battery.

Now, the Cupertino company seems to recreated the same problem with its popular new iPhone. Although the unit has only been on a sale for a week and its many buyers seem to be enjoying its features, some have already begun to speculate what will happen when the iPhone battery begins to fail. Apple’s official answer is simple, but buried deep in Apple’s support Web site: getting a new battery in an iPhone will cost $79, plus $6.95 shipping, will wipe all data from the iPhone, and will normally take three business days. Users who can’t be without their iPhone that long can get a loaner iPhone for $29. Thus, the cost of replacing a battery in an iPhone will range from $86 to $115—in some cases, approaching one quarter of the cost of the iPhone itself.

The high battery replacement costs have angered some consumer advocates, who point out that mobile phone users are accustomed to being able to purchase and install their own replacement batteries at costs proportionately much smaller than the cost of Apple’s batter replacement program. However, batteries in Apple’s iPhone are not considered user-serviceable parts, and iPhone dissections have shown them to be soldered into the unit. While technically inclined users may well be capable of replacing the battery—assuming they can set hands on a replacement—doing so will certainly void their warranty. Apple guarantees the iPhone for one year from date of purchase.

Apple has not responded publicly to compaints about the cost of iPhone battery replacements, but has posted guidelines to help users get the most battery life out of their iPhones.

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