Apple iPhone sales lag as customers maintain older phones, U.S. PIRG calls for Apple to embrace repair

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BOSTON — In a letter to shareholders, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that iPhone sales are lagging significantly behind projections. Among other reasons, Cook noted a contributing factor was “customers taking advantage of significantly reduced pricing for iPhone battery replacements,” the first time Apple has admitted repair hurts its profits. The reduced battery pricing was in response to “Throttle Gate,” when Apple was caught slowing down iPhones that had older batteries. In response, U.S. PIRG’s Right to Repair campaign director Nathan Proctor issued the following statement:

“Smartphones should not be treated as disposable, and we simply can’t continue making and tossing phones at such a rapid pace. It’s time for Apple to embrace repair, and our Right to Repair.

“Over the past year, I’ve spent a lot of time talking to lawmakers and consumers about Right to Repair, and it’s clear that “ThrottleGate” has fundamentally changed the way we think about our smartphones in two key ways. We now know that batteries can be replaced, extending the life of our older phones. We’ve also developed a sense of skepticism about upgrading our smartphones, due to feeling coerced in an underhanded way toward an unnecessary new phone purchase.

“Long-lasting devices are best for consumers, and best for the planet. Which begs the question: Why isn’t Apple out in front of this trend, instead of being caught off-guard by it?”

U.S. PIRG released “Recharge Repair” in the weeks after Apple admitted it was throttling phones. The report found that so many batteries needed repairs, in addition to the well-publicized, months-long waiting lists at Apple stores, independent repair shops also saw a 37 percent spike in their battery service requests.