The design issue is that people wanted-or Apple thought they wanted- really thin phones. Thinner phones means smaller, less capacity batteries. From others on this thread evidently it also means lower quality, but I haven’t heard that before and I am not knowledgeable about different battery manufacturers so I can’t comment on that. But I do think a lot of design decisions were made based upon looks rather than practicality. But I don’t think Apple was intentionally trying to cripple phones to force customers to buy new phones. In a company where people join and leave every month, policy descisions like this are hard to to keep secret since a fair number of mid level people would either be in on the secrete or know enough background to figure it out. And someone would talk, at least anonymously. Over a period of months, you can keep a secret among more than 3 people truly secret provided all but 1 of them are dead.