Apple has revealed that it will cost iPhone users in the US at least US$85.95 to replace the non-removable battery in the new handsets.
The cost includes a US$6.95 shipping fee to send the phone back to Apple, but users will have to pay an extra US$29 if they want to borrow a replacement iPhone for three business days while the work is carried out.
The arrangement is similar to that used to replace failing batteries in iPods, which are also fixed into the casing and cannot be swapped out by users.
Carolina Milanesi, a research director at analyst firm Gartner, told vnunet.com that modern phone users are unwilling to pay for replacements or repairs, especially when they are more likely to replace the phone than the battery.
"No-one is happy to pay anything nowadays, but it will really depend on how you see the device," she said.
"If you see it as a phone you would expect the battery to come out, but if you are thinking of it as an iPod you know the deal."
Milanesi added that very few people in Europe replace the battery in a mobile phone because they usually replace the whole handset every year under contract.
"Given that users will have a two-year contract with the iPhone we need to hope that the battery does not deteriorate in that time," she said.
The other problem is that consumers will not be able to seek an alternative, cheaper service to replace the battery as opening the back of the iPhone voids the warranty.
"I am sure that third-party suppliers offering solutions will not be put off, but as a consumer I would think twice before invalidating the warranty," said Milanesi.
Some analysts warned before the launch that the inclusion of a rechargeable battery that cannot be replaced by the user was a grave mistake.
"The non-replaceable battery is a mistake in my opinion. Just look at all the flack Apple took for the iPods without user battery replacement capability," Jack Gold, founder of product research firm J Gold Associates, told vnunet.com
"Many phone users carry around a spare battery because it is small and light and just plug it into the phone when needed."
New iPhone battery to cost US$85.95
By Matt Chapman on Jul 9, 2007 1:13PM