Print 61 comment(s) - last by Fritzr.. on Aug 2 at 9:09 PM

iPhone customer is upset with Apple over the lack of a user-replaceable battery

The iPhone has been parading through news headlines ever since its early January unveil at MacWorld 2007. When the bulk of the tech press was roaming around Las Vegas totally underwhelmed by the Consumer Electronics Show, Apple was spilling the beans on a product that had been long rumored.

During its unveil, Apple went over the bulk of the iPhone's features and reporters were quick to point out its deficiencies. A few minuses that were harped upon with regards to the iPhone included its lack of a physical keyboard and its sealed battery.

The lack of a physical keyboard has been overcome by many iPhones users who have become accustomed to the on-screen alternative, but many still harp on the lack of a user-replaceable battery.

Apple claims that the iPhone's battery is good for 400 charge/discharge cycles. The design specifications for the iPhone note that the battery will retain 80 percent of its charge after 400 cycles have been exhausted.

For those that weren't satisfied with 400 charge cycles or experience greatly diminished battery life, Apple announced its $85.95 battery replacement program. Under the program, customers would pay $79 plus $6.95 shipping in the event of an iPhone battery failure. And considering that users would be without an iPhone a week or more for repairs, Apple also announced that it would rent an iPhone ($29) to those who couldn't be without a phone.

iPhone users now have a cheaper option with AppleCare coverage. AppleCare extends the iPhone's warranty from one year to two years and is available for $69.

One iPhone customer wasn't happy at all with the iPhone's battery life or the two alternatives to replacing a defective battery and filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple as a result. In the suit, Jose Trujillo claims that:

Unknown to the Plaintiff, and undisclosed to the public, prior to purchase, the iPhone is a sealed unit with its battery soldered on the inside of the device so that it cannot be changed by the owner.

The suit goes on state:

The battery enclosed in the iPhone can only be charged approximately 300 times before it will be in need of replacement, necessitating a new battery annually for owners of the iPhone.

To the first point; the fact that the battery was not replaceable was disclosed to the public from the very beginning and is nothing new. Secondly, the suit claims that the iPhone battery can only be charged for 300 times before it needs replacement. Apple clearly states that the iPhone’s battery will retain 80 percent capacity even after its design specifications of 400 cycles.

The full text of the complaint can be viewed at Gizmodo, but it's doubtful that the suit will gain much traction in court.

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By SirLucius on 7/27/2007 4:20:28 PM , Rating: 3
This is such a silly lawsuit. As said in the article, it was made very clear in the beginning that there was no user-replaceable battery. Even the local news stations were saying how the iPhone didn't have a replaceable battery, and their technology reports are almost always sorely lacking. It seems to me that you'd have to be living under a rock not to know.

And I find it very hard to believe that this guy can claim only 300 charges without any hard evidence. I highly doubt he sat around charging and delpeting his battery until it was completely dead.

RE: Silly
By Sazar on 7/27/2007 4:23:31 PM , Rating: 2
The ONLY annoyance I can see is loss of data during a battery replacement.

And that too can probably be solved by imaging to your computer before replacement. Those w/o computers, perhaps Apple can store an image in-store (or factory or whatever) while replacement takes place.

This lawsuit is just plain dumb.

RE: Silly
By tekzor on 7/27/2007 5:01:16 PM , Rating: 2
Now Anandtech provides me with a comedy fill for the day in addition to my tech news!

RE: Silly
By Ralph The Magician on 7/27/2007 6:30:14 PM , Rating: 2
A backup of the phone is stored in your local iTunes profile every time you sync it and there is new data. When you plug it in after say, a hard reset that whipes all data, you are given the option to restore from backup.

RE: Silly
By MarlboroGuy on 7/27/2007 4:28:12 PM , Rating: 1
And I find it very hard to believe that this guy can claim only 300 charges without any hard evidence. I highly doubt he sat around charging and delpeting his battery until it was completely dead.

im sure someone out there did exactly that. Most companies put in some kind of life cycle in their products, They need their gismo's to break down so the consumer can either purchase a newer model, or pay for repairs that isnt covered by the warranty.

RE: Silly
By geeg on 7/27/2007 5:00:19 PM , Rating: 2
Sending the unit out to have its battery replaced might grow concerns about the sensitive data on the phone. Besides the data might be lost.

RE: Silly
By SirLucius on 7/27/2007 5:09:15 PM , Rating: 3
That's very true. But let's think about this. If you're able to afford a $500-600 phone plus service contract, I'm 99% sure you'll also have a computer able to run iTunes 7.3. And when looking at the iPhone options in iTunes it seems pretty simple to backup information from the phone to your computer. In fact, if I recall correctly, Apple stated somewhere that it highly advised to backup your iPhone to your computer before sending it in for a battery replacement. So if you're that concerned about losing info, or info getting leaked, backup and wipe your phone before sending it in.

Don't get me wrong, I think the lack of an user-replaceable battery on the iPhone is a HUGE ommission, and Apple should include one in later revisions of the phone. But if you don't bother to research before purchasing a $600 phone, that's on you, not Apple, regardless of what their phone SHOULD be able to do.

RE: Silly
By MADAOO7 on 7/28/2007 6:39:52 PM , Rating: 3
SirLucious, the lack of a replaceable battery was not an oversight at all, but intentional in order for the iPhone to have such a small form factor. The same goes for why the phone lacks 3G ability.

RE: Silly
By SiliconAddict on 7/29/2007 4:01:04 AM , Rating: 4
That is a load of bullcrap. I've taken apart a crap load of PDA's and phones over the years and I can tell you right now the amount of space needed to add a removable battery and connectors is marginal at best. At most you are adding length to the thing. Not width. This has NOTHING to do with size, and as everything to do with Apple wringing a bit more money out of their iPhone suc....customers.

RE: Silly
By grtgrfx on 7/29/2007 1:00:22 PM , Rating: 2
The only reason the iPhone battery's not replaceable is so Apple doesn't have to a) increase the thickness of the phone to allow a door, and b) so they can retain the unbroken steel back, which strengthens the case. So, mainly for appearance, slightly for structural reinforcement.

Of course they may merely have an exclusive contract with the manufacturers of these extra-slim batteries so that other sellers couldn't acquire them anyway.

RE: Silly
By littleprince on 7/27/2007 7:39:59 PM , Rating: 2
The battery doesnt magically die. The life gets shorter. If your that worried about it, before the life is like 3 seconds, wipe the dang thing and send it in.

People who cry privacy all the time are the ppl who deserve to be robbed because the criminals ARE a lot smarter than they are!

RE: Silly
By MonkeyPaw on 7/27/2007 5:16:41 PM , Rating: 5
And if history is any guide, there will be no replaceable batteries in iPhones in the future. After all these years, the iPod still doesn't have one, so why should the iPhone be so lucky? Look how much money Apple makes by selling people their second, third or fourth iPod. The iPhone is just a more profitable iPod.

As always, Apple (and their customers) choose form over function. It's such a paradox, since Apple's software is typically quite intuitive. Like with the iPod battery lawsuits, this one will also go nowhere.

RE: Silly
By invidious on 7/28/07, Rating: 0
RE: Silly
By SiliconAddict on 7/29/2007 4:10:27 AM , Rating: 3
Yah and all of those batteries are do it yourself. It is no simple task to replace a battery for your average person and you damn well know it.
$10 says most people would rip some of the ribbon cables while they tried replacing the battery.

RE: Silly
By bpurkapi on 7/29/2007 1:33:58 PM , Rating: 3
The main problem is that Apple is thought of as being top of the line, or better because of the intuitive software and ascetically pleasing designs. Almost everyone I know forgets that the actual parts such as the flash memory, or the battery are made in a factory in China. All computer companies like dell, apple, toshiba, gateway, use the same cheap mass produced parts. This is the reason why apple sucks, it gives people who know little about computers some sort of an idea that an apple product is superior, but in fact the individual got the same hardware as they could get inside a dell.

RE: Silly
By iwod on 7/27/2007 10:14:50 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, come on, it is America and no law suit are silly. You can sue anyone for just about anything.

RE: Silly
By paydirt on 7/30/2007 8:46:45 AM , Rating: 2
Lawsuits like these should be thrown out on the first day.

RE: Silly
By tedrodai on 7/30/2007 11:31:58 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed on the first point. What's the saying that applies here? "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."

I personally feel like their battery policies are akin to highway robbery, but they definitely told anyone who wanted to listen well before it was on the store shelves.

But hey, it's life...just think of all the lawsuits caused by "didn't realize I/she would get pregnant!"

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings
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