After weeks of intense scrutiny over Apple’s decision to slow down performance in older iPhone models to prevent unexpected battery shutdowns, CEO Tim Cook spoke about the issue for the first time this week.

In an interview with ABC News that aired Wednesday night, Cook apologized for not being more transparent about the feature but said that Apple reached out to iPhone users to alert them about the company’s practice.

“When we did put it out, we did say what it was, but I don’t think a lot of people were paying attention,” said Cook. “Maybe we should have been clearer as well, and so we deeply apologize for anybody that thinks we had some kind of other motivation.”

Cook was in Reno on Tuesday to open construction on a new data center. On the same day, Apple announced its plans for U.S. expansion for the next five years, which involved creating 20,000 new jobs, constructing a new campus — which won’t be in California or Texas, the CEO said — reserved for technical assistance, and paying $38 billion in a one-time tax repatriation payment that’s being made possible by the tax reform bill.

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Cook said Apple’s next iOS update will include a tool that allows iPhone users to check battery health and opt out of slowing down their phones.

“We’re going to give people the visibility of the health of their battery so it’s very, very transparent,” said Cook. “This hasn’t been done before.”

Cook did not mention in the interview a $50 discount on out-of-warranty battery replacements at Apple stores until December 2018. Batteries for iPhones as old as iPhone 6 can be replaced for just $30, according to a statement from Apple on Dec. 28.

In that statement, Apple apologized and said it would “never do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.”

Since its admission Dec. 20 that an iOS update slowed down iPhone performance, Apple has been bombarded by lawsuits hoping to take the Cupertino tech giant to court for damages.

In the United States alone, there have been 39 lawsuits filed against Apple, and six more outside the United States, according to Apple-centric tech blog MacRumors. In France, the government’s consumer watchdog launched an investigation into whether Apple committed planned obsolescence, which is illegal.

Photo: Apple CEO Tim Cook watches as members of the media check out the new MacBook Pro at a press event held at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino on Oct. 27, 2016. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)

Tags: Apple, battery, iPhone, Tim Cook

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