Trouble in Paradise: Apple Faces 9 Lawsuits for Deliberately Slowing Down Old Phones
Apple has made a big revenue on the sales of its latest generation iPhone X which retails for $1000 along with its younger siblings iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. But people who own the older versions of the phone were less than happy to hear that Tim Cook was secretly slowing down the older iPhone models and some users even went as far as to claim that this move is a part of Apple’s strategy to make old users update to one of its newer devices. The tech giant is now in trouble as more than 9 class-act lawsuits have emerged against it in several states. What will be Apple’s next move?
THE PROBLEM BEGAN WITH A SHUT-DOWN GLITCH…
The problem began a few months ago when users of iPhone 6 and 7 started reporting a glitch which would cause their devices to suddenly shut down and not turn back on until plugged into a charger. This would often occur when the device was in the middle of its peak performance such as playing a game or downloading an app and Apple soon made an announcement acknowledging the problem and pushing a new update to old phones to fix the bug. As a result, phones were no longer turning off randomly – instead, they were becoming slower.
…AND TURNED INTO SOMETHING BIGGER
One developer at Geekbench named John Poole went out of his way to prove that Apple was indeed slowing down phones with its latest updates. What he did was take results of performance tests from a sample set of 100,000 iPhones, both before and after the update was pushed, to see if there was any difference. The results showed that Apple had indeed been slowing down the phones and the evidence was too big to be denied.
A few days after the news of slower iPhones spread like wildfire over the internet, the tech company came forth with an admission saying that they had the move in order to protect the lithium-ion batteries of the old phones from dying. Since the iPhone batteries are non-replaceable, they aren’t able to keep up with the demands of fast processors at the same capacity as they get older. Apple explained that by slowing down the phone’s speed, they are simply protecting the battery life of the old phones.
APPLE FACES SEVERAL LAWSUITS
The news that Apple was deliberately slowing down old devices didn’t sit well some phone owners who decided to wage a legal battle against the tech giant. Until now, at least nine class-action lawsuits have been filed against Apple for not being upfront with the users about the update issue. The cases that have been filed in various district courts around California, Illinois and New York claim that Apple’s silence on the issue caused the phone owners to purchase new devices believing that their old ones were faulty.
Had the company disclosed earlier that the update slows down phones to protect the battery, the users wouldn’t have had to spend more money to buy a pricier model of iPhone and would have simply gotten the batteries replaced.
One lawsuit even accused Apple of committing fraud through unfair business practice while another accused it of breach of contract because it interfered with users’ phones without getting their consent. Another lawsuit accuses the company of unjust enrichment by leading old users into believing that they needed to spend more money on buying new phones. A case has even been filed in Israel where a phone owner alleged that Apple committed a breach of duty by failing to inform the phone owners about the update in time.
James Vlahakis, an attorney representing plaintiffs from Illinois recommends amending the lawsuit with a demand that Apple offers a free battery replacement to all iPhone users and compensate those who unnecessarily bought a new device.
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