Apple AAPL +0.22% may be famed for its Reality Distortion Field but, as increasing numbers of iPhones fall victim to a serious battery problem I first reported last week, the Chinese government has dismissed Apple’s attempts to downplay the situation and attacked the company for failing to “meet basic consumer needs for normal wireless communication.”
In an official statement (via Quartz) the China Consumers Association, a government watchdog group, has issued Apple with a formal warning and demanded both action and an admission of wider culpability:
“After Apple published the ‘iPhone 6s Program for Unexpected Shutdown Issues’ many consumers continued to send replies to the China Consumers Association reporting their situation. After collecting these reports, we discovered the shutdown malfunction also exists in the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus, in addition to iPhone 6s devices produced between September and October 2015. The aforementioned models were among the devices suspected of malfunction problems in the China Consumer Associations’ letter sent out on November 15. Meanwhile, consumers have opinions and suggestions about the execution of Apple’s “iPhone 6s Program for Unexpected Shutdown Issues.”
As a result, on November 29, the China Consumer Association once again sent a letter to Apple expressing our wish that Apple provide a thorough analysis, reason and solution for the malfunctioning iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone 6s phones produced between September and October 2015. In addition, as for the “iPhone 6s Program for Unexpected Shutdown Issues,” some consumers have questions about its terms and [we] ask for a timely clarification. [We also request] Apple improve the convenience of the booking and consultation systems [for battery replacement], prepare enough components to replace batteries efficiently, and meet basic consumer needs for normal wireless communication.”
And yet Apple’s latest response is only likely to further annoy both the Chinese watchdog and all affected users. In a follow up statement (notably written in both English and Mandarin) Apple has once again denied the issue extends beyond iPhone 6S models produced between September and October 2015 or requires action beyond its existing replacement program:
“After hearing reports from iPhone customers whose devices unexpectedly shut down, we thoroughly looked into these reports, and collected and analyzed devices…We looked for any other factors that could cause an iPhone to shut down unexpectedly. After intensive investigations, no new factors have been identified. We will continue to monitor and analyze customer reports.”
Apple also rather disingenuously pointed out that “an iPhone is actually designed to shut down automatically under certain conditions, such as extremely cold temperature” – but this bares no relevance to the many shutdowns being reported by users in everyday scenarios.