Apple Facing A Bunch Of Lawsuits After Admitting It Slows Down Older Devices, But Insisting It's For A Good Reason
from the yes,-but... dept
There was a bit of controversy last week concerning Apple slowing down older devices. It started, as so many things do, with a Reddit post, noting that Apple appeared to be slowing down the processor on phones with older batteries. Geekbench’s John Poole then ran some tests confirming this. Apple then confirmed that it was doing so. All three of those links above also present the reason for this — which is not necessarily a nefarious one — though that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good explanation either. In short, it was a solution to a problem of older batteries causing “spontaneous” or “unexpected shutdowns.”
But, of course, slowing down the phone to avoid those kinds of shutdowns still has the impact of reduced performance on older phones — which ultimately angers users or makes them feel like they need to upgrade before they really do. This wouldn’t necessarily be a huge issue if two things were true: (1) it was easy to replace the batteries and (2) Apple was clear and upfront about this — telling people they could avoid this issue by replacing the battery. Neither of those things are true. Apple makes it quite difficult to replace the batteries (though, not impossible) and only now is explaining this “hack.”
And, because this is America, lawsuits are already being filed. Multiple lawsuits. I imagine that they’ll all be combined at some point into a giant class action, though I’m not sure how much of a chance this case has of going very far. Either way, I’d post the lawsuits, but as I type this PACER appears to not be working properly, and I really doubt there’s much that’s interesting in the complaints anyway.
What’s more interesting here is the troubling nature of just how much control over our devices we’ve given to the companies who sell us stuff. This all goes back to the theme that we’ve discussed many times around here, of how we no longer seem to own what we’ve ostensibly purchased. The fact that a company such as Apple can sneak in and change our settings in a way that harms overall performance — even if it claims it has a good reason to — is something that concern us all. And that’s especially true as more and more of our devices have such connectivity… and our own ability to get in and fix stuff is more and more limited.