iPhone customers racing to replace batteries after Apple apology

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Apple is apologizing for secretly slowing down older iPhones without users' knowledge. Customers have been complaining about phone problems and now Apple admits it. As the legal battle intensifies, iPhone users scramble to the nearest repair stores.

At Experimac in the West Loop, customers are frustrated with their iPhones - including Kiona Kumpulainen and Emily Kloth.

"It was at 100 percent. My mom was calling me, and then, within minutes - it dropped to 12 percent and it would suddenly shut off," said Kiona Kumpulainen, an iPhone 5c.

"We're stuck and we're like....what's wrong with our phone? We come here and they don't know what happens....and then Apple is like, it's this," said Emily Kloth, an iPhone 6 owner.

Apple admitted it intentionally throttles the speed of older phones' processors - including the iPhones 6, 6S and 7 - to prevent random shutdowns.

In the online statement, Apple said when their batteries chemically age, their ability to hold a charge diminishes. As it ages, it becomes less capable of delivering peak loads, especially when the charge is low. As a result, the company said their iOS "dynamically manages the maximum performance of some system components when needed to prevent a shutdown."

At Experimac, Apple's admission finally makes sense - especially after more and more customers came in to complain. They tested phones, worked on them, and then Apple's admission.

"That was our eureka moment! It was definitely a turning point for us. I think that's really what put the spotlight on what causing these issues to happen in the first place," said Experimac Assistant Manager Jose Aguilar.

Apple says it never intended to shorten the life of any device.

Their statement: "We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize."

"The bottom line is did Apple act in a fraudulent manner? We think that they did," said attorney James Vlahakis.

Attorney James Vlahakis filed a class action lawsuit against Apple last week. Since then, customers from across the country and around the world have contacted him. He calls Apple's apology "hollow."

"Apology means two things. It means Apple knows it did the wrong thing. It deceived consumers. But the apology comes too late many people who contacted us who have already obtained new phones," said Vlahakis.

The revelations spurred widespread outrage from customers, who felt Apple was withholding information about the batteries in an effort to force them to purchase new, expensive iPhones, as well as several lawsuits, including one filed in Chicago federal court on behalf of five iPhone owners from Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina.

The plaintiffs said they never would have bought new iPhones had Apple told them that simply replacing the batteries would have sped up their old ones. The suit alleges Apple violated consumer fraud laws.

Apple said in an effort to address the backlash, they would implement a series of remedies.

First, beginning in late January 2018 and lasting for the rest of the year, Apple will reduce the price of out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50; from $79 to $29, for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later. Those with phones under warranty or who have Applecare will be able to have batteries replaced for free.

Apple will also deploy an iOS software update in early 2018 to make battery health more visible to users, the company said.

Vlahakis said the bigger issue is how many people already spent hundreds of dollars to buy new phones instead.

Click here to read the full statement.
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