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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 Keeir on 7/27/2007 7:22:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
...way a consumer did not know that prior to purchase, the 400 charge cycle number does not share the same status


Actually, if you read the iphone user manual when you purchase the phone, it explains in brief the battery problem and directs the user to a website that explains the entire problem. (Under how to charge your Iphone, and some other places as well)

Under typical ATT wireless policies, you should be able to return the phone and cancel the contract within 30 days with only the cost of the used minutes/services. I have done this myself with other phones, not sure if this applies to the Iphone.

Futhermore, if a phone battery dies (is 50% of total) within one year or two with extended warrenty (Apple Care), Apple will replace the battery for free. The charge is for people after 1/2 year that choose to replace thier battery.

Given that 1. you can return the merchandice with little or no additional cost (besides consumption costs) within 30 days (plenty of time to read your user's manual at least) and that 2. Apple will be replacing batteries at 50% capacity for 1 year, not sure how the customer is being cheated here...


RE: Mixed feelings
By lewisc on 7/29/2007 4:30:27 AM , Rating: 2
I agree that the basis of this case is pretty ridiculous, just one small point; I don't think you can rely upon the manual as a source of information to the customer, as by the point at which the consumer has the opportunity to read the manual, the contract has already been made.

It is a question as to whether the battery life issues, and cost of replacement, amount to a change in the contract between the customer and Apple after it has been made (in which case the customer would be able to either sue for damages, or rescind, depending on the scope of the breach) or if they're not considered important or pertinent enough for Apple to have reasonably informed in the first place.


RE: Mixed feelings
By mgambrell on 7/29/2007 3:15:07 PM , Rating: 2
You can read the manual before you buy it. Go ahead, ask. They'll crack open a box and let you see it.


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