Apple is currently facing eight lawsuits for fraud, alleged false claims or misrepresentation after the tech giants admitted to slowing down the previous versions of iPhones. Though the company had alleged that slowing down iPhones was adopted as a measure to protect customers from technical issues and aging batteries, one of the lawsuits is asking for a settlement of $999 billion USD.
It all started on the 28th December 2017 when the company responded to customer’s feedback on battery life and performances by posting a formal apology through a message titled “A message to our customers about iPhone batteries and performance,” as published on the company’s website. Information on the Apple’s message was aimed at explaining how batteries age, their measures to prevent unexpected iPhone shutdowns, addressing the recent user feedback and customer concerns.
Apple explained that all rechargeable (lithium-ion) batteries are susceptible to less efficiency as they age chemically. They attributed this phenomenon to environmental factors and the number of recharge or usage, stating that lowered battery performance results in unexpected shutdowns of iPhones, which is unacceptable. In their message, the tech giants alleged to have introduced a measure to improve power management through a software update in iOS 10.2.1 of 2016. According to the company, the update manages the peak performance of some system components to avert unexpected shutdowns during peak workloads on iPhone SE, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone 6.
The same software upgrade support was extended to iOS 11.2 for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus after recording success to a reduced occurrence of unexpected shutdowns. However, the dramatic phrase in the message by Apple says “While these changes may go unnoticed, in some cases users may experience longer launch times for apps and other reductions in performance.”
Furthermore, the tech giants acknowledged having received feedback from various users who experienced slow performance in some situations over the course of the software update. Apple said they had thought the problem was from temporary performance impact during operating system upgrades as iPhone updates or install new apps or minor bugs in their previous iOS which was thought to have been fixed before accepting the blame – 2016 software update.
Apple affirmed that replacing an aged battery with a new one is paramount to achieving normal performance, having realized that batteries with low performances due to continued chemical aging, mostly in older iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s devices will initiate poor device performances.
As a means to address customer’s concern and regain their trust, Apple introduced three measures as benefits to the customers. They include “reducing the price of out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement from $79 to $29” This offer was made available for all users with iPhone 6 or later worldwide till December 2018, introduction of iOS software update with features to monitor battery health within the first quarter of 2018, and more efforts to avoid unexpected shutdowns from battery aging with improved performance.
Though Apple made it explicitly clear that the company “have never and would never do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades”, a customer, Violetta Mailyan has filed a $999 million USD lawsuit stating that the company has forced customers into buying newer iPhone models due to poor performance of the older iPhone models. The suit is also alleging that the company had tried to conceal the fraud instead of offering a replacement for the battery issue.
The technology giant needs to provide evidence to defend the company against these claims (lawsuits). And also a supporting fact that the throttling of iPhones performance is not a measure to force customers to upgrade to newer versions.