Wait times for replacement iPhone batteries are actually getting longer

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Justin Sullivan/Getty

  • Apple stores are offering iPhone battery replacements for $29.
  • Most stores currently have a multiple-week waitlist for many iPhone battery models.
  • Barclays says the wait times aren’t going down.

Apple stores are currently dealing with a massive influx of customers who want new iPhone batteries.

Apple started offering replacement iPhone batteries for a discounted rate of $29 after a scandal where it had to apologize for artificially slowing down the processor on some older phones.

A new battery, Apple said, fixes slower older iPhones, including the iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, and iPhone 7.

The only catch is you might have to wait a few weeks for a new battery – and wait times aren’t improving, according to Barclays analysts.

They write in a Tuesday note for clients that the average wait time for a new battery at an Apple store has increased to 2.7 weeks, up from 2.3 weeks at the beginning of January.

The battery shortage means that instead of replacing the battery on the same day, store employees must order batteries and contact customers when they arrive weeks later.

In January, Apple sent a memo to stores that outlined two-week waits for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S Plus batteries, with a particular shortage for iPhone 6 Plus batteries, which weren’t expected to be delivered until March or April. Barclays notes that iPhone 7 batteries are often in stock at Apple stores.

Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz writes:

1) the slight increase in wait time likely indicates demand for battery replacement, especially IP6 and 6 Plus, remains very strong.

2) The battery supplies are not improving as we expected two weeks ago, despite Apple’s claim that it is working everything it can to increase supplies.

3) As wait time is still within the 2-3 week range, we expect an increasing cross-section of consumers to take advantage of the $29 offer instead of purchasing a new iPhone.

The $10 billion battery

iPhone Battery

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iFixit

Investors are wondering if the battery replacement program might hurt iPhone sales.

If a customer replaces his battery and finds the newly upgraded performance to be acceptable, they might not buy a new iPhone.

Barclays previously modeled a scenario where Apple could lose $10.29 billion in iPhone sales if 16 million people decide not to upgrade thanks to the battery replacement deal.

Apple retail employees previously told Business Insider that many people replacing their batteries don’t need a new one according to diagnostic tests.

“While this is the right thing for Apple to do, it should continue to negatively impact iPhone [sales] for 2018,” Moskowitz wrote in Tuesday’s note.