Apple is to pay £750 million because the company allegedly deliberately slowed down older devices. Apple calls this battery management.
Actually, the affair about the performance throttling of iPhones was considered over for Apple: Back in December 2017, the company had to admit that devices at the time reduced their system performance when the battery capacity was too low, in order to prevent the smartphones from simply shutting down. Accusations came that Apple was operating a planned obsolescence here.
Apologies and cheaper batteries
Public apologies and various technical measures followed, and new batteries were also offered at a lower price for a certain period of time. Apple itself had initially defended the secret function as “battery management”. But the issue is not over: Now a well-known British consumer activist wants to revisit the iPhone performance throttling and is suing for a high amount in the millions.
Justin Gutmann, who also works as a market researcher, has filed the case with the Competition Appeals Tribunal in London. He hopes that owners of affected models from 2017 will receive compensation. In total, a total sum of 750 million pounds could be at stake, the activist believes. A total of 25 million devices could be affected; they are iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, X as well as SE, the Guardian reports.
Inadequate fix via software
Gutmann argues that Apple concealed the performance throttling from its users, trying to hide the fact that older iPhone batteries are unable to meet new performance requirements. Instead of issuing a recall or replacement program for the batteries – or admitting that newer iOS versions could have problems with older devices – Apple pushed through an update that “reduces the performance of [users’] devices.” Throttling had been as high as 58 percent of overall performance.
In a statement, Apple told the Guardian it had “never – and would never – willfully shorten the life of any Apple product.” The same goes for degrading the user experience to encourage new purchases by customers, it said. Das Verfahren ist bei weitem nicht das einzige gegen Apple wegen der Leistungsdrossel. So mussten Millionenstrafgebühren in Europa entrichtet werden, hiesige Verbraucherschützer forderten Entschädigung und in den USA gab es eine Sammelklage, für die Apple insgesamt 310 Millionen US-Dollar berappen musste – maximal 25 Dollar pro Gerät. Das Verfahren in Großbritannien hätte dennoch eine besondere Dimension.