Apple starts off by addressing customers directly, writing, "We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making."
The company goes on to state that it is not intentionally shortening the life of its iPhones (which some have indicated was an Apple ploy to get customers to upgrade to newer models) and that in fact, its policy was enacted to help extend the life of iPhones.
Apple goes to explain that degradation of lithium-ion batteries is inevitable and unavoidable:
All rechargeable batteries are consumable components that become less effective as they chemically age and their ability to hold a charge diminishes. Time and the number of times a battery has been charged are not the only factors in this chemical aging process.
Device use also affects the performance of a battery over its lifespan. For example, leaving or charging a battery in a hot environment can cause a battery to age faster. These are characteristics of battery chemistry, common to lithium-ion batteries across the industry.
A chemically aged battery also becomes less capable of delivering peak energy loads, especially in a low state of charge, which may result in a device unexpectedly shutting itself down in some situations.
Apple spends much of the letter explaining its practices with iOS 10.2.1 and iOS 11.2, and how it has responded to customer feedback. But how is the company going to address the concerns of customers that need to replace a battery or are worried their phone's battery is approaching "no man's land" with respect to useful life?
For starters, the company is slashing $50 off the cost of an out-of-warranty battery replacement for customers that have an iPhone 6 or newer. Unfortunately, this price break is only good through December 2018, or essentially a year from now, so mark that calendar. The second thing that Apple is promising an iOS update that will arrive in 2018 with enhanced battery health information. This should give users an at-a-glance look at how their battery is currently performing.
"At Apple, our customers’ trust means everything to us. We will never stop working to earn and maintain it," the company concludes. "We are able to do the work we love only because of your faith and support — and we will never forget that or take it for granted."