Criminal lawsuit over iPhone battery slowdowns filed in France, where planned obsolescence...

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 8
Fallout continues to grow following the discovery that Apple slows down older phones with aging batteries to prevent random shutdowns, as a new criminal lawsuit in France aims to hit Apple's pocketbook -- and could even result in jail time.




The complaint filed by Halte l'Obsolescence Programme, or Stop Planned Obsolescence, could carry a maximum prison sentence of two years, a fine of up to 300,000 euros, and 5 percent of the company's profits, according to TheLocal.fr.

"It is our mission to defend customers and the environment against this waste organized by Apple," HOP cofounder Laetitia Vasseur said.

The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday, but prosecutors must first determine whether the complaint is legitimate before letting it proceed in court. France passed a law in August of 2015 making it illegal to "deliberately reduce the lifespan of a product to increase the rate of replacement."

Last week, Apple confirmed that it temporarily slows down processes on older iPhones when their internal batteries have degraded to a point where they are no longer operating near full capacity. The software-based changes are intended to prevent random shutdowns of older phones, which can be caused by spikes in power usage.

"Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have low battery charge, or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components," Apple said in a statement.




The company revealed that it began implementing this change in 2016 with a software update for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and iPhone SE. Support has since been expanded to the iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2.

However, the situation has helped to fuel a conspiracy theory suggesting that Apple intentionally slows down older iPhones, in order to compel users to purchase a new device. That is incorrect -- tests have conclusively proven that older iPhone hardware with an adequately functioning battery is no slower than it was at launch.

Some users have found that having the battery replaced on an older iPhone addresses the issue, as the software recognizes that the hardware is no longer depleted and ceases throttling. A battery replacement through Apple without an AppleCare+ warranty costs $79.

Beyond France, Apple has been hit with a number of lawsuits in the U.S., accusing Apple of using slowdowns to avoid fixing hardware flaws. The issue is also the subject of a government probe in South Korea.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 108
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,105member
    Who would they jail?
  • Reply 2 of 108
    Planned obsolescence should be illegal everywhere!
    edited December 2017 VRingjeffharrisbloggerblogMustSeeUHDTVmuthuk_vanalingamSnickersMagoocornchipdysamoriaivanhjony0
  • Reply 3 of 108
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,061member
    Honestly, this was just the opposite (though communication was piss poor). It was easy to do a battery upgrade and get full speed back. For those that didn’t want to do that, it kept phones, and batteries, in use longer.

    Apple’s communication on this, however, was atrocious. 
    stevenozmuthuk_vanalingamkirkgraywatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 108
    So Apple fixes an issue where degraded batteries cause unexpected shutdowns and everyone is upset with them for fixing it?

    As the article says, there is no slowdown with fully functioning batteries.

    Instead of suing Apple, customers should be thanking them for fixing the random shutdown issue.
    caddyman33rob53racerhomie3tmayStrangeDayswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 5 of 108
    After I got an iPhone 7, my iPhone 6 just sat for about 6 months.
    I plugged it, hoping to wipe it and either sell it or use it like an iPod Touch.
    However. it couldn't even charge enough to boot up. It stopped charging altogether.

    When I took it to the Apple Store, they said I should just throw it away, the repair would be too expensive.
    They didn't even have a definitive answer as to what was wrong with it.

    Gotta love it. 


  • Reply 6 of 108
    asdasd said:
    Who would they jail?
    Let's assume they find a smoking gun, an e-mail where one person says to the other: let's slow down the CPU, and we'll shoot two birds with one stone: fix the unexpected shutdowns, and at the same time, if the phone slows down noticeably, the person is more likely to be nudged towards buying a new phone, then those people could go do jail. But you already knew that executives can be held personally responsible, right?
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 7 of 108
    I believe this is a case which comes from an inauthentic place on the part of the complainants.

    Perhaps hidden revelations will surface, but on the face, Apple actions seem very reasonable.
    edited December 2017 bshankwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 8 of 108
    VRingVRing Posts: 108member
    alandail said:
    So Apple fixes an issue where degraded batteries cause unexpected shutdowns and everyone is upset with them for fixing it?

    As the article says, there is no slowdown with fully functioning batteries.

    Instead of suing Apple, customers should be thanking them for fixing the random shutdown issue.
    The "fix" was to degrade device performance and not tell anyone (including store staff).

    So they introduced a new problem to fix the old problem, and only now are they acknowledging the new problem after they had been caught. If it didn't come out through testing, Apple would have never said anything.
    muthuk_vanalingamr2d2larryasmaffei
  • Reply 9 of 108
    First: This is NOT planned obsolescence it is Apple ensuring that phones continue to work as the battery wears down. They are trying their best to keep your device working which leads me to...

    Second: By ensuring that the phone works for longer they are reducing the waste not adding to it.

    You can spin all the negative you want at this but you’re  a complete tool if you do. Could Apple have handled this different with notifications? No because these same Negative Nellies will still complain about Apple slowing down their iPhone. Apple can’t win because for some retarded reason people want Apple to fail.
    edited December 2017 flashfan207racerhomie3tmaychiaStrangeDayswatto_cobracharlitunaanalogjackjony0
  • Reply 10 of 108
    I think this could be a turning point for Apple in terms of them losing "trust and integrity" with the general population.

    At a family Christmas visit, where most people have iPhones, this was surpisingly a hot topic - with non techy people.

    And the consensus was that apple played a devious card by not telling them their phone battery was compromised, and thus slowing down the phone. People were angry that they probably upgraded from their 6 recently due it being slow as a snail when they could have just got a new battery. Even worse that you can go to an Apple store and they will test the battery and say its fine even though iOS is slowing down your CPU due to the battery. Thats unforgivable. My family agreed.

    That lack of transparency is gonna cost Apple dearly. I heard family members considering Android (and Ive never heard any of them say this before). Perhaps Apple doesnt understand the level of anger here.

    Apple needs to get some comms out there ASAP or face even more backlash. Its also not transparent that you cant even see easily how many cycles your battery has had. Why hide this info in a private API (it used to be public but they changed it... wonder why!)

    It may well have been a solid technical fix but the way they went about it just reeks.

    At this point, Ive also held off updating my iPhone 7 to 11.2. Not sure I will either. At this point, they have lost my trust. And to be honest, over the years that was worth a lot in $ terms to them. So I hope they find a way to regain it.
    ZooMigomuthuk_vanalingamlarryasgunderson94rogifan_newcropr
  • Reply 11 of 108
    dws-2dws-2 Posts: 197member
    steven n. said:
    Honestly, this was just the opposite (though communication was piss poor). It was easy to do a battery upgrade and get full speed back. For those that didn’t want to do that, it kept phones, and batteries, in use longer.

    Apple’s communication on this, however, was atrocious. 

    The reason this story has legs is because most people I know who keep their iPhones have noticed slowdowns. I believe it's 99% because of either operating system updates, software bugs, and memory getting full. 

    However, when personal experience meets conspiracy theory, it's like snowball meet hill.

    The real issue is that software updates cause older phones to get slow. Of course, there are benefits in that users get the latest features, but a lot of consumers feel tricked when their phones suddenly become really slow.
    muthuk_vanalingamStrangeDaysjony0
  • Reply 12 of 108
    Since Apple was doing the EXACT OPPOSITE of planned obsolescence, good luck proving that in court.
    bshankSoliracerhomie3chiacornchipAppleZuluwatto_cobraanalogjackjony0
  • Reply 13 of 108
    After I got an iPhone 7, my iPhone 6 just sat for about 6 months.
    I plugged it, hoping to wipe it and either sell it or use it like an iPod Touch.
    However. it couldn't even charge enough to boot up. It stopped charging altogether.

    When I took it to the Apple Store, they said I should just throw it away, the repair would be too expensive.
    They didn't even have a definitive answer as to what was wrong with it.

    Gotta love it. 


    How long did you leave it on charge for. You do realise even when turned off a device, any device, will still use power with the battery connected and therefore drain the battery? Also given the nature of Lithium batteries the idea you can simply plug it in and it will go is not true at all. In fact a drained iPhone will not turn on until it is around 10% charged from flat. That’s around about 30 minutes because it won’t be a fast charge.
    rob53watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 14 of 108
    bshankbshank Posts: 140member
    After I got an iPhone 7, my iPhone 6 just sat for about 6 months.
    I plugged it, hoping to wipe it and either sell it or use it like an iPod Touch.
    However. it couldn't even charge enough to boot up. It stopped charging altogether.

    When I took it to the Apple Store, they said I should just throw it away, the repair would be too expensive.
    They didn't even have a definitive answer as to what was wrong with it.

    Gotta love it. 


    Dope. If you do nothing with a  lithium ion battery it will die. You need to keep charging and cycling the battery through power cycles. That applies to all batteries of this type, so this has nothing to do with Apple and everything to do with your negligence. People just are not smart enough to own this technology apparently 
    edited December 2017 racerhomie3cornchipdsdwatto_cobraanalogjackjony0
  • Reply 15 of 108
    At least initially I'll give Apple the benefit of the doubt on planned obsolescence.  It would be very risky to deliberately spec a battery that provides marginal voltage when new and knowingly deteriorates to an unusable condition in just a couple of years.  In fact, that would likely hurt their reputation very quickly as customers used to Apple devices lasting three, four, or even five years with nothing more than reduced runtime suddenly found themselves with a device that was worse than useless as soon as the warranty ran out.

    Apple is at least guilty of piss-poor transparency in their communications with users.  They knew there was a hardware problem with battery output and didn't come out and say it, nor did the phone give any indication an internal self-test had failed and the CPU was throttled.  For an out-of-warranty device this would be acceptable to keep the device limping along provided Apple made engineering improvements to later devices to ensure phone performance isn't compromised because of normal battery degradation.  Normal users expect reduced runtime, they don't expect the phone to operate at half-speed or randomly crash.

    The real question is did Apple deliberately obscure the underlying issue in an attempt to avoid in-warranty repairs?

    This particular lawsuit smells of political and social justice undertones by a biased organization.  I don't think it will go anywhere outside of generating a few headlines.
    racerhomie3muthuk_vanalingamesummerscornchip
  • Reply 16 of 108
    bshankbshank Posts: 140member
    Which conspiracy is a it? Planned obsolescence? Or slowing down old phones to help them last longer? Both conspiracy theories cannot both be true at the same time.
    edited December 2017 georgie01cornchipwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 17 of 108
    bshankbshank Posts: 140member
    muadibe said:
    Since Apple was doing the EXACT OPPOSITE of planned obsolescence, good luck proving that in court.
    Exactly! 
    cornchipwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 18 of 108
    bshankbshank Posts: 140member
    dws-2 said:
    steven n. said:
    Honestly, this was just the opposite (though communication was piss poor). It was easy to do a battery upgrade and get full speed back. For those that didn’t want to do that, it kept phones, and batteries, in use longer.

    Apple’s communication on this, however, was atrocious. 

    The reason this story has legs is because most people I know who keep their iPhones have noticed slowdowns. I believe it's 99% because of either operating system updates, software bugs, and memory getting full. 

    However, when personal experience meets conspiracy theory, it's like snowball meet hill.

    The real issue is that software updates cause older phones to get slow. Of course, there are benefits in that users get the latest features, but a lot of consumers feel tricked when their phones suddenly become really slow.
    People are very tech dumb in general. They do not understand what they are buying.
    racerhomie3watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 19 of 108
    bshankbshank Posts: 140member
    lewchenko said:
    I think this could be a turning point for Apple in terms of them losing "trust and integrity" with the general population.

    At a family Christmas visit, where most people have iPhones, this was surpisingly a hot topic - with non techy people.

    And the consensus was that apple played a devious card by not telling them their phone battery was compromised, and thus slowing down the phone. People were angry that they probably upgraded from their 6 recently due it being slow as a snail when they could have just got a new battery. Even worse that you can go to an Apple store and they will test the battery and say its fine even though iOS is slowing down your CPU due to the battery. Thats unforgivable. My family agreed.

    That lack of transparency is gonna cost Apple dearly. I heard family members considering Android (and Ive never heard any of them say this before). Perhaps Apple doesnt understand the level of anger here.

    Apple needs to get some comms out there ASAP or face even more backlash. Its also not transparent that you cant even see easily how many cycles your battery has had. Why hide this info in a private API (it used to be public but they changed it... wonder why!)

    It may well have been a solid technical fix but the way they went about it just reeks.

    At this point, Ive also held off updating my iPhone 7 to 11.2. Not sure I will either. At this point, they have lost my trust. And to be honest, over the years that was worth a lot in $ terms to them. So I hope they find a way to regain it.
    Apple did inform people in the release notes of iOS 10.2.1. You know, those notes meant to be read that people who have no idea what is in their tech never read? Anyway, I hope your family members do change to Android. Good luck to them on their path of self-inflicted problems
    edited December 2017 rob53anton zuykovesummersracerhomie3chiajahbladegeorgie01cornchipwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 20 of 108
    They should add the iMac Pro to that list.
    ivanh
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