Apple (AAPL) apologized for letting iPhone users down and said it would offer discounted battery replacements for older model iPhones after users discovered the company's operating system updates deliberately slowed down the devices.

Apple said the operating system changes were made to avoid sudden shutdowns of devices as their batteries age. But some users complained that the degraded speeds actually served as an underhanded trick to drive people to upgrade to a newer phone.

Apple denied that. "We have never -- and would never -- do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades," the company said in a statement.

Nevertheless, the company said it would cut the price of replacement batteries for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later to $29 from $79 starting in late January. The company also said it would update its operating system to give users "more visibility into the health of their iPhone's battery."

The controversy comes shortly after Apple's launch of the iPhone X, its most expensive iPhone ever. Some analysts have suggested that sales of the new model are weaker than expected. More clarity should come with the company's next earnings report, expected on Jan. 23. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expect Apple to report earnings of $3.78 a share on revenue of $86.2 billion.

Jim Cramer and the AAP team hold a position in Apple for their Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells AAPL? Learn more now.

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