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
DDB Mudra Group creates a new rally cry for team KKR

MUMBAI: The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) is a franchise cricket team representing the city of Kolkata (West Bengal) in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The team, defined by its ‘Korbo, lorbo, jeetbo’ (Play, Fight, Win) spirit has won the championship trophy twice. At the IPL 2018, the team has...

MAM Marketing Brands
Black & White launches first India TVC

MUMBAI: Black & White Gettogethers from Diageo India has launched its first-ever India-specific TVC conceptualised by J Walter Thompson Bangalore and inspired by the brand message, “Made of Sharing”. It is a commercial that exhorts us to go out there and share moments and experiences with...

MAM Marketing MAM
Swiggy smashes creative sixer this IPL season

MUMBAI: Food ordering and delivery platform Swiggy has launched six relatable and witty television commercials this IPL season to celebrate two of India’s biggest passions — cricket and food. The multi-lingual campaign is conceptualised by Lowe Lintas, Bengaluru. Swiggy roped in seasoned cricket...

MAM Marketing MAM
Honda launches new campaign for Activa 5G

MUMBAI: Honda Motorcycle and Scooter has introduced a 360 degree ad campaign for the iconic Activa 5G. Developed by Dentsu One, a Dentsu Aegis Network Company, the TVC is now on air across all popular channels.

MAM Media and Advertising Ad Campaigns
Bisleri launches new ad for Bisleri Fonzo

MUMBAI: Bisleri International recently announced the launch of its new brand Bisleri Fonzo, a mango aerated drink. The launch is supported by an integrated marketing campaign #MMMbhiAAHbhi which conveys the sensorial experience of the product – the delectable taste of the juice and the refreshment...

MAM Marketing Brands
Centuary Mattresses gets Sania Mirza as brand ambassador

MUMBAI: Centuary Mattresses has appointed Indian tennis player Sania Mirza as its brand ambassador. This move also makes the company an early mover amongst the Indian mattress companies to have an association with a celebrity brand ambassador.

MAM Media and Advertising Ad Campaigns
IAA unveils new identity on 80th anniversary

MUMBAI: The International Advertising Association (IAA) has unveiled its new identity and mission, symbolised by the introduction of a new logo that signifies its transformation and culture of thought leadership built over the association’s 80-year history.

MAM Marketing MAM
BlueStar promotes new cooler range

Air conditioner manufacturer, Blue Star, recently entered the air cooler market with its own brand: Windus.

MAM Media and Advertising Ad Campaigns
Forca launches new campaign with Tiger Shroff

MUMBAI: Lifestyle has launched a powerful digital first campaign for its denim-wear brand Forca starring Tiger Shroff. Capturing Shroff in action, performing stellar stunts, the film dramatically frames his high-action acrobatic jumps, backflips, kicks and many such moves that highlight the...

MAM Marketing Brands

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories