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
Foodpanda acquires Holachef

Food delivery company Foodpanda, India’s fastest growing today announced its acquisition of Mumbai-based food-tech venture Holachef. Through this collaboration, Foodpanda marks its strategic entry into cloud kitchens and plans to launch its own brand of food products in different categories.

MAM Marketing Brands
Amazon Echo says experience everyday magic in new campaign

In today’s world, where people are worried that the growth of technology is drawing them apart, Amazon Echo’s new campaign aims to bring Indian families together with its smart speaker technology. The campaign stitches together an Indian family’s everyday situations that lead to small moments of...

MAM Media and Advertising Ad Campaigns
Ajmal Perfumes partners with Parcos

Global home-grown perfume house, Ajmal Perfumes has entered into a strategic association with one of the leading perfume and cosmetics retailer, Parcos.

MAM Marketing Brands
KFC hands over digital mandate to iProspect

iProspect India, the digital agency from Dentsu Aegis Network, has bagged the SEO, paid media and digital business for KFC India, an American fast food restaurant chain. The account will be handled from the agency’s Delhi office.

MAM Media and Advertising Account
KOSH Oats launches Roti Donation Drive on World Food Day

KOSH Oats by Future Consumers announces ‘Roti Donation Drive’ a special initiative which starts on World Food Day.

MAM Marketing MAM
Truecaller shows it is more than just a caller ID & spam detection app

Truecaller has launched its new television and digitally focused advertising campaign with the tagline ‘Sab ke liye’ meaning both ‘for everyone’ and ‘for everything’. The ad campaign is aimed to create awareness among the audience about the recent features introduced on the app apart from Caller ID...

MAM Marketing MAM
Birla Gold & BBH team up for another power pact film

Birla Gold, the cement brand of the B.K. Birla Group of Industries launched its new ad campaign marking the beginning of the latest Pro Kabaddi League season and commemorating its association with Patna Pirates, three-time winning champions.

MAM Media and Advertising Ad Campaigns
fbb launches its festive collection at Mumbai Airport

The season for shopping has begun and people all over the country have increased their spending budgets to ensure they look their best this season.

MAM Marketing MAM
Kansai Nerolac reconstitutes its iconic 'Ghar Ki Raunak' jingle into a song

Kansai Nerolac Paints Ltd. (KNPL), one of the leading paint companies in India and pioneers of ‘Healthy Home Paints’ has recently teamed up with popular Indian music director, Pritam’s musical platform JAM8 to roll out a rendition to Nerolac’s iconic jingle as a song, across India.

MAM Marketing MAM

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories