After having its hand forced by Chinese consumer association watchdog and several of its own users, Apple has made a statement about problems with the iPhone battery. Interestingly, the post was made to Apple’s Chinese website:
“We take every customer concern very seriously, including the limited number of reports of unexpected shutdown with iPhones. We also want to thank the agencies for forwarding concerns to us and their engagement with us…When we find something, we work to quickly provide our customers with a solution.”
If you can read between the lines, you will see their PT engines working on overdrive mode. The message was part of an article titled “A Message from Apple about iPhone and Unexpected Shutdowns” and recognizes that there is, indeed, some grounds to what is being called the “30% bug”.
The bug involves iPhones automatically shutting down with 30% battery power remaining. But Apple doesn’t acknowledge that this is a multi-device problem, only naming the iPhone 6S. However, from the consumer complaints we’ve been seeing on social media, the problem seems be have affected iPhone SE, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5S and iPhone 5.
Apparently, even Tony Fadell, the creator of iPod, acknowledges that the iPhone 6S Plus has the problem. Unfortunately, the battery recall that Apple earlier initiated only covers the iPhone 6S. One clue to Apple’s awareness of the extent of the problem, however, is the fact that they’ve planned a special iOS update to diagnose battery performance. That clearly indicates that either they aren’t aware of how widespread this is, or they do and are trying to downplay it.
Not Just Older iPhones
iPhone 7 has problems of its own, including publicly reported cases where the phone app freezes and needs to be hard-closed and launched again to make a call. Several other users in that referenced thread on Support Communities seem to be facing the same issue, as well as the phone freezing on the Contacts app. The bulk of them are currently on iOS 10.1.1.
What strikes me as odd here is that 2016 is turning out to be a nightmare for smartphone makers, and with no exceptions, apparently. Smartphone sales growth has been relatively flat this year, giving rise to speculation that a global slowdown in the growth of phone sales might be on the horizon.
We also know that the majority of smartphone makes around the world are losing money hand over fist, and that Apple and Samsung seem to be the only ones making any sort of profits.
And then there were Samsung’s problems over the double-recalled Note 7 and ultimate demise of the model shortly after its launch this year.
Even Google Pixel has been seeing problems with LTE Band 4 connectivity, which they appear to have recently fixed with an Android 7.1.1 Nougat update. Some users also complained of a camera freeze issue.
As you can see, nobody has been left out of what now seems to be a flurry of problems affecting premium smartphones.
But the problem for Apple is a serious one. China is a key market for them now because of the popularity of iPhone with Chinese upper-middle-class shoppers. They already have the consumer watchdog on their tail, and reports have been coming in about Apple “downplaying” its iPhone problems from as early as last year.
As Samsung knows, a major recall is an expensive affair. Apple likely won’t go through that, but these problems are coming at a crucial time. iPhone 7 sales showed strong demand when it was launched, but that seems to be softening now, and Apple needs some solid sales this quarter to pacify investors regarding the overall downturn in iPhone sales in fiscal 2017.
The real problem is, Apple’s main focus needs to be on the 2017 iPhone – the 10th anniversary edition of iPhone. They cannot afford to be distracted with issues on older models. Even if these problems don’t cost them as much as the $17 billion Samsung is said to have lost on Note 7, Apple executives are definitely losing some sleep over these issues.
The sooner these problems are resolved, the sooner they can get back to their plans for iPhone 8.
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