Long wait times to get an Apple iPhone battery upgrade are finally getting shorter, according to an analyst note on Thursday.
Based on its poll of 30 Apple retail stores, Barclays said the average wait time for getting a new battery is now two to four and a half weeks, down from four to six weeks in January.
In late December, Apple (AAPL) dropped the price of replacing out-of-warranty batteries for certain iPhone models to $29 instead of $79. The move was intended to appease angry customers whose iPhones would otherwise suddenly turn off because of the aging batteries inside. Although Apple had a software fix to prevent the smartphones from abruptly turning off, the fix also lowered the overall performance of the impacted iPhones in certain cases.
But by cutting the price, customers flocked to Apple’s stores, which overwhelmed store staff and appeared to have created a shortage of replacement batteries. In early January, many Apple customers reported that the waiting times to receive an iPhone battery upgrade were six weeks to possibly months.
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“Based on our research, the general takeaway is that battery supplies to support the $29 replacement program are improving and should only get better,” the Barclays authors wrote. “In our view, the timing is good for Apple from a headline perspective given ongoing regulatory investigations, as shorter wait times suggest there is more muscle to extend the goodwill program to a broader swath of the customer base.”
Although the shorter battery upgrade times are good for consumers, Barclays warned that the lower price could have an adverse affect on Apple and lead to people simply upgrading their existing iPhones instead of buying newer, more expensive models.