An Apple iPhone is only meant to live for five years before becoming obsolete.
Now it’s been claimed the tech giant is going to grant some of its ageing smartphones a new lease of life.
Last year, Apple released a new operating system called iOS 13 that was exciting for lots of people but potentially upsetting for millions more.
Anyone who owned Apple’s iPhone 6 or a previous model was unable to install iOS 13, meaning the oldest device it worked on was the iPhone 6S released in 2015.
Under the normal run of things, Apple will release a new iPhone this September along with a new operating system which is not compatible with the iPhone 6S.
But Apple is now taking steps to further boost its green credentials and cut down on its use of Earth’s precious finite resources.
The tech firm has already rolled out a policy which makes it easier to repair iPhones, meaning they should have a slightly longer lifespan.
Now a French Apple website has claimed the next mobile operating system – iOS 14 – will be compatible with the iPhone 6S.
This means the phone will be supported for at least six years, rather than the usual five.
However, at this stage, the claim is little more than a rumour and we’ll probably find out Apple’s real plans at its annual WWDC conference in June.
Last year, Apple announced a major repair policy change which made it cheaper and simpler to fix a broken iPhone.
Until recently, you had to rely on Apple or companies it named as ‘authorised service providers’ for iPhone repairs.
But Apple announced that it will begin selling parts, tools and repair guides to independent shops so they can fix broken iPhones.
This a big u-turn for the tech giant, which has spent years lobbying against the introduction of ‘right-to-repair’ laws in some US states.
Apple said the scheme should help ease heavy demand on Apple and partners companies to fix millions of cracked screens and fried charging ports.
The policy change could also lead to a mini-boom for repair shops who could find they are able to offer the same repair services as Apple but at a much cheaper price for customers.
It launched in the United States before being rolled out to other countries.
Independent repair shops will be offered official parts for out-of-warranty repairs at the same price offered to authorized service providers, such as Best Buy Inc, which perform warranty work.
Ben Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies, said the move could create more opportunities for Apple to sell services or accessories if it encourages iPhone owners to hand down used phones to friends and family.
‘That helps them get the product more affordably into the hands of more customers and increases the base,’ Bajarin said.
‘Every data point seems to say, if you get someone into the Apple ecosystem, they generally don’t leave.’
Apple’s iPhone sales have declined in the past two fiscal quarters, but sales of accessories such as its AirPods wireless headphones and the Apple Watch, along with paid services like Apple Music, have helped make up for some of the revenue falls.
Independent shops have long complained that the high purchase volumes required by Apple to become an authorized service provider priced them out of the repair market.
The tech giant had previously lobbied against right-to-repair bills which would have compelled it to supply independent businesses in several US states including New York and California.
It cited concerns about maintaining a high service standard. However, earlier this year Apple allowed all US Best Buy stores to handle work carried out under warranty.
Apple said it trialled the new repair program for a year with 20 businesses across North America, Europe and Asia. It did not give a timetable for the international launches.
The new policy will allow independent stores to set their own prices for repairs and also offer cheaper aftermarket parts.
They will be required to return any collected broken Apple parts to the company for refurbishment or recycling.
The program will be free for shops to join, but they will be required to have an Apple-certified technician who has taken a free 40-hour training course and test provided by the company.
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