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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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RE: Mixed feelings
By TomZ on 7/27/2007 5:53:49 PM , Rating: 3
If you support the view that this is a valid lawsuit, then what law was broken? False advertising, no, since it was clear that the battery was not replaceable prior to purchase. Breach of warranty? No, the battery should outlive the paltry warranty. Then what?

Also, I think we should also think about the harm done to the individual in this case. How does this situation cause this invidual any significant financial harm? What is the value they lost, that they thought they would have? $20? $50? $100?

Finally, I should mention the following. Of all the phones I've owned, personally and through my business for my employees, we've never replaced a battery, ever. Usually in 2-3 years when the battery starts to be not so great, we just get a new phone, which basically costs nothing. Maybe iPhones will see longer life because of their premium cost, but I would think that most iPhone users will want to upgrade to the "latest and greatest" when their iPhone battery becomes unusable. And in that sense, Apple probably made the correct (but unpopular) decision with their original design.


"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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