The controversy started last week by a post on Reddit surfaced yesterday, after further tests carried out by the creator of the app Geekbench, and took on a proportion that made Apple come to the public to address the issue.
In summary, for the first time it was proved, by numbers, that iPhones with old / worn batteries run even slower than expected. And, at first glance, the general public can understand this measure as a classic technique of the so-called "programmed obsolescence".
We debated the issue initially in last week's podcast and talked about it a lot again in issue # 259, which will air until today. And what Apple said to TechCrunch matches a lot with what we discussed:
Our goal is to deliver the best consumer experience, which includes the overall performance and life span of your devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less able to provide peak current demands in cold conditions, with a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can cause a device to shut down unexpectedly to protect its components electronic.
Last year we launched a feature for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out instantaneous spikes only when necessary, in order to predict that the device will turn off unexpectedly under these conditions. We now extend this feature to the iPhone 7, with iOS 11.2, and we plan to add support for other products in the future.
The statement clearly explains why these devices no longer reach benchmarks that they normally reach, with a new battery. That purposeful; depending on the condition of the battery, it simply is no longer able to supply enough current for certain very heavy tasks on the device. And testing of benchmarks they are a full plate for that.
But despite that, what * does * not happen on these devices that day-to-day performance is affected. As Apple's statement explains, the idea is simply to smooth out processing spikes so that the device continues to function, without harming its internal components and preventing it from turning off before the battery is actually drained.
What must happen, in many cases, is that the battery has really passed the stage of wear and tear when these “smoothings” implemented by Apple on iOS are not so noticeable. The worse the state of the battery, the greater the need to reduce these processing peaks and, increasingly, the overall performance of the device is impaired. Until, of course, your battery is replaced.
As I said in our podcast to come out later, for me the big mistake in this whole story was the lack of transparency / communication. If the state of the battery itself, coupled with this feature of iOS, can come to harm both the experience of users with the iPhone, Apple had to make this very clear and even recommend replacing the battery, perhaps offering a program itself for this, it is paid in order to prolong the useful life of the device, instead of giving the general feeling that it as a whole already needs to be changed, which has been exceeded for the current requirements of the operating system and apps. Not the case.
Apple also needs to be more proactive in the tips / recommendations it gives to users who want to extend the life of their batteries. An iPhone left inside a closed car in the sun, for example, may not show any signs of defect afterwards, but a full plate to greatly damage your battery and absurdly anticipate a state such that makes your performance go to the bag.
All of this is happening with great news for us, consumers. As much as Apple said today, it is possible that from now on it will become more transparent in this regard and even implement warnings / alerts on iOS in order to better guide the common user. Not least because most people * don't * follow technology sites like ours and continue to be unaware of all this information. That's the minimum, Apple.