A week after the China Consumers Association (CCA) asked Apple (AAPL) to investigate into a sudden shutdown problem associated with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s in China, the tech giant admitted that a very small number of iPhone 6s devices manufactured between September 2015 and October 2015 may unexpectedly shut down, according to a statement posted on Apple's website on Sunday.
The Chinese consumer protection group had demanded an answer from Apple within ten days after receiving a considerable number of complaints from users of both devices. The reported problem involves iPhone 6 and 6s shutting down automatically while still retaining a 40% to 50% battery level. The phones could not be turned back on immediately or in some cases even when plugged into chargers.
To address the issue, Apple has offered to replace batteries free of charge for eligible affected users worldwide. But a cost may be associated with the repair if the affected iPhones have other unresolved problems such as a cracked screen.
Apple is also rolling out a repair program for iPhones plagued by "touch disease," a problem where some iPhone 6 Plus devices may exhibit a flickering gray bar across the top of the screen or experience touch responsiveness issues.
Apple said the problem really emerges after users drop the phones multiple times on a hard surface but the company is offering to fix the issue for a service fee of $149 for phones exhibiting such symptoms.
The issues surrounding the iPhone comes as China remains an important region for Apple, a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio, in both manufacturing and consumption of its devices. Both manufacturing and consumption have been called into question, especially under President-elect Donald Trump who has vowed to remake trade agreements between the U.S. and China.
"China also represents nearly 20% of Apple's sales. So a trade war would be a big negative, but we also think it's fairly unlikely to happen," explained Jack Mohr, TheStreet's chief investment strategist, in a note Nov. 18. "We think Trump just wants a better peace, and putting the world's largest company, which was U.S.A.-made and remains forever aligned with the country's innovation, would be a major mistake."
Apple's main smartphone rival Samsung Electronics had a global recall of around 2.5 million of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 phones in October due to their tendency to catch fire and explode. The company pointed out "a battery cell issue" as the likely root cause for the combustion.
Apple said its battery problem is not a "safety issue."