SAN JOSE, Calif. - A consumer advocacy group has expressed outrage over Apple Inc.'s battery replacement program for the iPhone, while developers and hackers are trying to figure out ways they could expand the capabilities of the hot new gadget.
The hybrid cell phone, iPod media player and wireless Web-browsing device launched to much fanfare on June 29. On the same day, the Foundation for Consumer and Taxpayer Rights fired off a letter to Apple and AT&T Inc., the cell phone's exclusive carrier, complaining that customers were being left in the dark about the procedure and cost of replacing the gadget's battery.
The iPhone's battery is apparently soldered on inside the device and cannot be swapped out by the owner like most other cell phones.
Apple spokeswoman Jennifer Hakes said Thursday the company posted the battery replacement details on its Web site last Friday after the product went on sale.
Users would have to submit their iPhone to Apple for battery service. The service will cost users $79, plus $6.95 for shipping, and will take three business days.
The procedure is similar to the one it has for the company's best-selling iPod players, but because some users will not want to live without their cell phones, Apple is also offering a loaner iPhone for $29 while the gadget is under repair.