Apple really is slowing things down

Have you ever noticed your iPhone is all of the sudden acting up, or being slow? Conveniently around the time that Apple has released a newer model? It’s not a coincidence—it’s Apple’s strategy, and it’s now gotten them into some trouble.

iPhone owners aren’t very happy with Apple, and they’re showing it with some legal action. Apple is being sued after admitting that it intentionally slows down some iPhones as they get older.

Five iPhone users affected by this tactic have filed a lawsuit in New York, and are seeking a class-action status against Apple for intentionally slowing down their devices.

The plaintiffs claim that they only upgraded their devices to newer models because their iPhone had slowed down after recent iOS updates. If they had knowledge that it was their battery that slowed down their device, according to Apple’s defense, they would have replaced the battery instead of purchasing an entirely new iPhone, saving them hundreds of dollars and possibly the extension of a new contract.

This begs the question: if Apple benefits more from the purchase of a new iPhone rather than a new battery, should we expect any less from the multi-billion dollar company?

The question of how far Apple’s liability stretches in terms of informing their customers will be answered in the class action—given that the lawsuit states the nature of the cause to be Apple’s failure to disclose that Apple has been purposely slowing down the processor of its iPhone 5, iPhone 6 and certain iPhone 7 models through operating system software updates.

What did Apple have to say about this?

The company claims that the release of a recent software feature causes your iPhone to operate at a much slower rate to offset problems with its aging battery. As the age of a battery increases, it does not hold its charges as well as a new battery would. This causes problems when the charge is low, or the temperature is cold—possibly resulting in your iPhone unexpectedly shutting down.

To ‘fix’ this issue, Apple’s 10.2.1 iOS software incorporated a better operating system that slows down your device in order to prevent it from shutting down. Instead of your processor completing the task immediately, it rather spreads out the attempt to manage power consumption —thus resulting in an annoying slow iPhone.

What are these 5 iPhone users asking for?

The plaintiffs are asking for compensation for their money wasted, their frustration, and their time consumed over this issue. They are also asking that the company pay for litigation expenses, as well as whatever further relief the court may deem reasonable.

Whatever the courts decide, Apple will still have to face public opinion in the light of this controversy. The real question is whether such a thriving, and culturally-integrated company will see any actual fallout. How many people who are used to Apple’s interface will change their buying habits? And will such a big company feel the impacts of a boycott?