A properly maintained iPhone battery is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity after 400 full charge and discharge cycles. You may choose to replace your battery when it no longer holds sufficient charge to meet your needs.
Now Sullivan has decided that this means the battery becomes completely unusable after 400 cycles, and written a whole article about it. So yes, he’s guilty of spreading FUD, and I guess you can call him a jackass for that.
But Gruber has gone to the opposite extreme. Notice the use of “properly maintained,” “designed to” and “up to” in that quote. Gruber seems to think that this means the iPhone battery will hold 80% of its original capacity after 400 cycles. It doesn’t say that at all. It also doesn’t say how much of the 80% capacity that’s retained might actually be usable. Remember, too, that because we carry our phones around with us, we just charge them when we can. None of us are really in a position to “properly maintain” their batteries. In this case, it would appear that Gruber is spreading fanboyism.
Is the built-in battery really such a big deal? To me it is. I like to be able to carry a fully charged spare battery and swap it in. I wouldn’t be able to do that with an iPhone. But it’s a well-known fact that iPhone batteries are non-removable, and the performance figures and price don’t really look that much worse than the competition. So for people all the people who only use one phone battery anyway (I imagine this is the majority case), it probably isn’t an issue.