Remember when in 2017 the news broke that Apple was deliberately slowing down the older models of iPhone, which was confirmed by Apple itself? Well, it turns out that it has come to bite them in the back. After more than 2 years of this knowledge becoming public, Apple has been fined for taking such a decision and not having informed its users of the same.
The case was filed by the Halt Planned Obsolescence association which requested prosecutors to inquire into this matter. It was heard by France’s Directorate-General for Competition, Consumption and the Suppression of Fraud (DGCCRF) and after sufficient deliberations, the authority fined Apple a whopping $27 million fine (INR 211 crores).
The rationale behind the fine, the watchdog noted, was that Apple did not warn the users that their phones would slow down once their iPhones were updated to the latest firmware, as the device would prompt its users to do. The authority found that the users were at no point informed: “that installing iOS updates (10.2.1 and 11.2) could slow down their devices.”
The popular theory that arose in 2017 after the news broke was that Apple was slowing down the phones so that the users would be forced to upgrade their devices to the latest model. However, Apple silenced this conspiracy theory by having its side heard. It responded by stating that the decision to slow down the devices was taken in order to prolong their lifespan.
According to Apple, as a device ages, the batteries that power them are not in their best condition. The lithium-ion batteries that are used in the devices start supplying lesser power in a peak scenario as they age. This could result in the constant shutting down of the iPhones, which obviously is undesirable. Therefore, in an attempt to control this potentially frequent shutting down of the device, Apple had to ensure that the chipset could not perform in its peak capacity anymore. Thus, the phones were slowed down. The only way to stop this from happening is to change the battery on the devices.
Apple has not contested the order and has agreed to pay the fine levied on it by the French authority and is also mandated to publish a press release for a month on its French website.
This does not end the trouble for Apple yet as there are many class-action lawsuits being filed in California, New York, and Illinois, to name a few cities. This means that a lot more people could jump on this and claim compensation for having been cheated out of their money. In an effort to control this wave of people, Apple back in 2018 decided to offer the users of iPhone 6 and later devices, a discount of sorts of $50 (INR 3,900) if the users were to replace the battery out of warranty.
It is worth mentioning here that the fine levied upon Apple amounts to a mere 0.002% of the profits the giant has made in Q4 2019.