The impact of the iPhone battery fiasco on brand Apple

MUMBAI: Ever since Steve Jobs launched his company decades ago, the now ubiquitous Apple stands at the epitome of technology, especially when it comes to laptops and smartphones. For over a decade, users of the iPhone have not only cherished the Apple product as their most prized possession but also one that is worth every penny paid. For Rs 60,000-90,000, you get luxury combined with sleekness, unbeatable hardware and a lifelong association.

Apple sold 6.1 million first-generation iPhone units over five quarters and over 51 million iPhones in the first quarter of 2014. The iPhone became the best-selling technology product of 2017, selling more units than Samsung Galaxy8 and Nintendo Switch combined. In December 2017, Apple took a risk in introducing three new iPhones, the most expensive iPhone ever, the $999 X.

But avid iPhone lovers around the world felt angered when the news of Apple deliberately slowing down the battery of older versions was leaked early December last year. Although it was rumoured for the longest time that Apple slows down the earlier models, it was nothing less than a betrayal or shock for most of its ardent devotees as they felt it was a coercive move to get them to ditch the older ones for the latest expensive ones. They felt cheated and resorted to social media to criticise the company for beguiling them about throttling CPU performance of older models.


On 28 December 2017, the company was quick to issue an appropriate and well-crafted response on its website, acknowledging the effect that old batteries have on the iPhone's performance. The company offered $29 (Rs 2000) battery replacements as a solution which would otherwise have cost $79.

In a media statement, Apple said, “To address our customers’ concerns, to recognise their loyalty and to regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted Apple’s intentions, Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by Rs 3900 from Rs 5900 to Rs 2000 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, available worldwide through December 2018.”

Early in 2018, Apple will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their phone battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.


Stressing the fact that Apple will need to do a lot more than this, brand strategy specialist Harish Bijoor believes that Apple needs to fight the bad image it has accrued after all these decades with the latest controversy. “The brand is scarred for now on that count. Let's remember, this is a politically correct world we live in. Something like this is considered a breach of trust with the gullible customer,” he points out.

While this turned out to be a good PR move for Apple to resolve the issue, it would mean that more iPhone users would now take the offer instead of upgrading to a newer device. Though Apple will gain some revenue with the battery replacement program, it will be nowhere close to the margins the company would have enjoyed on a brand new iPhone sale.

Barclays' analyst Mark Moskowitz estimates that 77 percent of iPhone users are among those eligible to upgrade the batteries. “10 per cent of those 519 million users take the $29 offer, and around 30 per cent of them decide not to buy a new iPhone this year. This means around 16 million iPhone sales could be at risk, creating a negative (-) 4 percent downside to our current revenue estimate for C2018,” he says.

Bijoor emphasises that there is a need for strict actions to be taken against such companies and consumer compensation is a must which needs to be more in terms of brand positive strokes rather than money. tired seeking a response from Apple India’s spokesperson to understand the company’s point of view on the same but they did not respond to our message till the time of publication.

Only time will tell whether the move will further help brand Apple in restoring its image or not. But for now, as Apple says in its advertisements, “If you don’t have an iPhone, well you don’t have a (slow) iPhone!”

Also Read:

Apple to acquire Shazam

Apple commits $4.2 bn for original content

Jio-Apple strike a win-win deal as Airtel plans aggressive 4G offer

Latest Reads
Havas Group India appoints Priyanka Mehra as director marketing and communications

Havas Group India has appointed Priyanka Mehra as director marketing and communications. The appointment is in line with unifying communications across all disciplines under the Havas Group umbrella. Her remit includes working with the senior leadership in India and the regional communications team...

MAM Media and Advertising People
Avvatar sports nutrition urges people to take up a habit instead of a resolution in their new-year digital campaign #aadatbanalo

New year approaches and everyone starts making resolutions. And not surprisingly, most of those resolutions are about getting fit, losing weight and getting in shape.

MAM Marketing MAM
Worldwide Media’s marquee digital property filmfare short film awards announces the 3rd edition

Filmfare, the most credible name in the Indian entertainment industry is back with the 3rd edition of the prestigious Filmfare Short Film Awards 2019. The platform is inviting entries till 31st January.

MAM Marketing MAM
Qatar Airways launches Hollywood-style campaign 'A World Like Never Before'

Qatar Airways started the new year with the launch of the airline’s biggest and most cinematic brand campaign to date, ‘A World Like Never Before’. Conceived and created by 180 Kingsday – Qatar Airways’ agency on record – and produced by London production company, Ridley Scott Associates Films, the...

MAM Marketing MAM
Niine launches period tracker app in Hindi, English

Made-in-India sanitary napkin brand Niine has launched, in collaboration with Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI), a period tracker app. The app has been developed in consultation with medical professionals and is said to be the first to be developed by a sanitary...

MAM Marketing Brands
Ipsos Study 74% Indians are content with their current body weight

According to a new study by Ipsos that explores world’s food habits, insights about Indians are particularly interesting as they bust myths about food habits of Indians

MAM Marketing MAM
91% Indians to spend more on e-com sites in 2019

Factors like growing traffic congestion across the cities are prompting more and more people to shop online reveals the business and brands predictions report 2019.

MAM Marketing Brands
Celebrating the self, Blenders Pride Fashion Tour 2018-19 arrives in Mumbai

The 14th edition of the Blenders Pride Fashion Tour celebrated the self and the individual through its extraordinary new concept-‘Pride’, in Mumbai.

MAM Marketing Brands
MS Dhoni turns world upside-down in Orient Electric's new ad for Aeroslim fan

Orient Electric, part of the USD 1.8 billion CK Birla group, launched an integrated advertising campaign to promote Aeroslim, “India’s first smart ceiling fan”. Aeroslim fan is IoT-enabled and can be controlled via Orient Smart mobile app or by using voice commands via Alexa or Google Assistant. It...

MAM Marketing Brands

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories