A number of lawsuits were launched against the United States tech giant Apple Inc. after it was revealed last week that the company is intentionally slowing down older versions of its flagship product, iPhone, in order to “prolong the life” of the device and make its battery last longer. The practice was confirmed after an iPhone 6S user did a performance test, concluding that his device had slowed down considerably with time but had suddenly sped up again after the battery had been replaced. However, iPhone users are suspecting that Apple is actually forcing them to buy the new models of the phone by making their older versions significantly slower. Moreover, they claim that this act is unlawful since they were never asked to consent to the changes in the product they bought.
For that reason, two class action lawsuits were filed against the Cupertino-based company in California and Chicago by groups of iPhone users who claim they have sustained “economic damage” when Apple chose to meddle in their devices without their knowledge. In the Californian lawsuit, plaintiffs Stefan Bogdanovich and Dakota Speas, who had owned older versions of iPhone over the past years claim that they suffered damage as a result of Apple’s wrongful actions. Meanwhile, James Vlahakis, who is representing the plaintiffs in the Chicago lawsuit stated that “Apple’s failure to inform consumers these updates would wreak havoc on the phone’s performance is being deemed purposeful, and if proven, constitutes the unlawful and decisive withholding of material information.” He added that he considers Apple’s act to be a direct violation of the consumer fraud-related laws in several US states. However, legal action against Apple has not been confined to the US, since two Israeli citizens also filed a class action lawsuit in Tel Aviv against the company, arguing that it effectively defrauded its customers by failing to inform them about the basic changes made to their devices. “There is no doubt that information about the device slowing is important, and cardinal, and users had the right to get [that information] from Apple before deciding whether to install the software updates,” the plaintiffs claimed.
Meanwhile, Apple responded to the accusations by saying that performance of the lithium-ion batteries diminishes over time, which can result in the phone unexpectedly shutting down. “Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, [when they] have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components,” the company said. “Last year, we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.”