South Korean prosecutors probe Apple over iPhone slowdowns

Posted:
in iPhone
A day after a South Korean consumer group filed a complaint against Apple over the company's handling of iPhone battery issues, prosecutors on Friday said they have launched a probe to determine whether the iPhone slowdown debacle amounts to planned obsolescence.


Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office


Amid mounting criticism over Apple's decision to throttle older iPhones to keep them running smoothly, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office announced it has assigned an investigation into the matter to its intellectual property-related crime unit, reports The Korea Herald.

The probe was spurred by a legal filing from Citizens United for Consumer Sovereignty, which on Thursday lodged a criminal complaint against Apple CEO Tim Cook and Daniel Dicicco, the company's Korea chief, alleging destruction of property and fraud.

In its complaint, CUCS claims Apple forces iPhone owners to purchase new hardware by intentionally slowing down performance of older models. Those same allegations are at the heart of nearly 50 lawsuits filed across the U.S., as well as government inquiries initiated by officials in France, Italy and America.

In 2016, Apple released a software update, iOS 10.2.1, to deal with unexpected shutdown events in then-current iPhone 6, 6s and SE models. Details of the update's fix were left unmentioned, but it was later discovered that the software temporarily throttles CPU performance in phones with depleted battery cells.

Apple admitted to slowing down older phones in an open letter published in December, saying the iOS feature is intended "to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions." Similar preventative measures have since been applied to iPhone 7 and 7 Plus with the release of iOS 11.2, and will further be implemented in future products, the company said.

Apple's failure to disclose how, exactly, the iOS 10.2.1 update functioned left an opening for claims that the software is part of a planned obsolescence strategy designed to push customers toward hardware upgrades.

Customer blowback prompted Apple to issue an apology and institute a battery repair discount, cutting prices for out-of-warranty replacements from $79 to $29.

As a further consolation, a future iOS version will allow customers to determine whether the health of their iPhone's battery is impacted performance. Cook in an interview earlier this week revealed the forthcoming software update, which will be released to beta testers next month, will also let users disable the CPU throttling feature altogether.

Today's announcement of a South Korean probe follows a similar action from France's anti-fraud agency, which initiated an investigation into iPhone slowdowns earlier this month. Italy is also looking into allegations that Apple and Samsung participate in planned obsolescence programs, while U.S. lawmakers are pursuing similar lines of questioning in letters to Cook and Apple.
Avieshek

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 172member
    Quite the opposite. The slowdown involving failed batteries is planned life extension. 
    racerhomie3watto_cobrabshank
  • Reply 2 of 19
    JFC_PA said:
    Quite the opposite. The slowdown involving failed batteries is planned life extension. 
    But if they can’t make a clear case this could lead to a global bill with a lot of trailing zeros. 
  • Reply 3 of 19

    "Amid mounting criticism over Apple's decision to throttle older iPhones to keep them running smoothly"

    Oposite: in order to keep them running at all; throtled iPhone's are not smooth by any meeasure.

    Avieshekmuthuk_vanalingamavon b7maxit
  • Reply 4 of 19
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 172member
    JFC_PA said:
    Quite the opposite. The slowdown involving failed batteries is planned life extension. 
    But if they can’t make a clear case this could lead to a global bill with a lot of trailing zeros. 
    The key is showing the code that responds to battery condition and not simply the date the phone was manufactured. That would be performance management in reaction to the inevitable chemistry of a Lithium battery not “planned obsolescence”. 

    A conditional: “if, then”...

    not even Apple gets to repel the reslities of chemistry, ones thry spell out in their product description btw. 
    edited January 20 watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 19
    Or.. they are just using a mediocre battery to make a software excuse?
    edited January 20 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 6 of 19
    JFC_PA said:
    JFC_PA said:
    Quite the opposite. The slowdown involving failed batteries is planned life extension. 
    But if they can’t make a clear case this could lead to a global bill with a lot of trailing zeros. 
    The key is showing the code that responds to battery condition and not simply the date the phone was manufactured. That would be performance management in reaction to the inevitable chemistry of a Lithium battery not “planned obsolescence”. 

    A conditional: “if, then”...

    not even Apple gets to repel the reslities of chemistry, ones thry spell out in their product description btw. 
    Basically, I’d agree. But I would bet on the next step from “the other side”: coming up with battery design and total capacity and from there back to square one, in that Apple “should have” designed a stronger battery. The logic would be as follows: design it such that throttling is not necessary. Actually, if you feel that you have to implement software routines throttling based on battery age then you simply have subpar design, blablabla. 

    For me personally, it boils down to: I bought this phone “as is”. No explicit commitment was given by the manufacturer about speed. Actually, they state lifetime (I.e. single charge duration) in perfect = new state. The rest is physics. 

    And if if you don’t like it simply do not buy it! Try your luck elsewhere. im getting into a rant here, apologies, but Jesus, some people think they are entitled to everything and anything and for free. Upon buying a device “as is” of course the manufacturer HAS to give me more features, better software, at no cost, and no speed trade off etc. don’t like walled garden, concept Apple is pursuing. Sorry, mate. Not for you. Try your luck elsewhere again. And please don’t come with market position. People chose and grew the customer base based on even older and less capable tech, and at the same time “boundary conditions” such as the walled garden did not change significantly. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 19
    JFC_PA said:
    JFC_PA said:
    Quite the opposite. The slowdown involving failed batteries is planned life extension. 
    But if they can’t make a clear case this could lead to a global bill with a lot of trailing zeros. 
    The key is showing the code that responds to battery condition and not simply the date the phone was manufactured. That would be performance management in reaction to the inevitable chemistry of a Lithium battery not “planned obsolescence”. 

    A conditional: “if, then”...

    not even Apple gets to repel the reslities of chemistry, ones thry spell out in their product description btw. 

    For me personally, it boils down to: I bought this phone “as is”. No explicit commitment was given by the manufacturer about speed. Actually, they state lifetime (I.e. single charge duration) in perfect = new state. The rest is physics.  

    It's true that there is no explicit garantee for any bit of performance. Because there is no need for that - it's expected that any kind of machine runs as sold until something is broken. It's expected that batteries age, so you have litle less running time every day etc etc. It was thrue for other iphones, ipods and ipads and for any other battery powered device in existence. li-ion batteries are in long use and they are known variable. iPhone battery tipically can withstand 700-800 full cycles and loose just 20% of capacity  without unexpected shuttdowns. It's reasonable to expect 2-3 yrs of usable life from one of the most expensive smartphones on Earth.


    P.S. Seems to me that you never watched new apple iphone presentation. They love to brag about SoC performance, Shiller even went so far to tell that "ihpone 7 is fastest smartphone ever made" After throtling is secretly implemented that's not thrue any more so we are talking about false advertasing now...

    edited January 20 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 8 of 19
    feudalist said:
    JFC_PA said:
    JFC_PA said:
    Quite the opposite. The slowdown involving failed batteries is planned life extension. 
    But if they can’t make a clear case this could lead to a global bill with a lot of trailing zeros. 
    The key is showing the code that responds to battery condition and not simply the date the phone was manufactured. That would be performance management in reaction to the inevitable chemistry of a Lithium battery not “planned obsolescence”. 

    A conditional: “if, then”...

    not even Apple gets to repel the reslities of chemistry, ones thry spell out in their product description btw. 

    For me personally, it boils down to: I bought this phone “as is”. No explicit commitment was given by the manufacturer about speed. Actually, they state lifetime (I.e. single charge duration) in perfect = new state. The rest is physics.  

    It's true that there is no explicit garantee for any bit of performance. Because there is no need for that - it's expected that any kind of machine runs as sold until something is broken. It's expected that batteries age, so you have litle less running time every day etc etc. It was thrue for other iphones, ipods and ipads and for any other battery powered device in existence. li-ion batteries are in long use and they are known variable. iPhone battery tipically can withstand 700-800 full cycles and loose just 20% of capacity  without unexpected shuttdowns. It's reasonable to expect 2-3 yrs of usable life from one of the most expensive smartphones on Earth.


    P.S. Seems to me that you never watched new apple iphone presentation. They love to brag about SoC performance, Shiller even went so far to tell that "ihpone 7 is fastest smartphone ever made" After throtling is secretly implemented that's not thrue any more so we are talking about false advertasing now...

    It runs as sold. Unless you update. Or your battery wears out. 
    I’m writing this from my SE, i have reluctant to update the Spectre/meltdown fix update, so I installed Geekbench 4 and measures twice before updating and once after updating. While measuring I never touched the phone, it was on WiFi and freshly restarted. The variation of the two measurements before the update was bigger than the difference to the values after update. However, the updates values were actually highest. This made me wonder, how this throttling is actually experienced. Phone performance obviously depends on a number of parameters, battery health obviously being one of them. Things such as free memory another one. There have been posts that phones would take a 40% performance hit after the update... until now I miss hard data on such claims. On the other hand, I hear about “gentle throttling”. Again, I don’t have hard data on that one. It would be good as a basis for the throttling discussion to have actual facts on the table. That is, when exactly how strong the device is throttled depending on battery health. 
    Until then I come from my own experience, anecdotical stories from friends I trust in this respect and the plain assumption that Apple has to decide when to be “geeky” and provide toggles and dials and switches on specific technical features, and where to not let the user fiddle with settings because it should “just work”. 
    Regarding false advertising, I’m not sure I follow. Sure, I saw the presentation. And I am sure you know as well as I do that nothing was specified relative to what exactly means “fastest” and under which conditions. Such as a healthy battery, for example?
  • Reply 9 of 19
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,597member

    P.S. Seems to me that you never watched new apple iphone presentation. They love to brag about SoC performance, Shiller even went so far to tell that "ihpone 7 is fastest smartphone ever made" After throtling is secretly implemented that's not thrue any more so we are talking about false advertasing now...

    What Schiller actually said was that the iPhone 7’s processor was the fastest ever made. 

    https://www.macworld.com/article/3117593/apple-phone/fastest-smartphone-chip-ever-the-a10-fusion-powers-apples-new-iphone-7.html

    Still a subjective measure, but hardly false advertising. 

    StrangeDaysbshank
  • Reply 10 of 19
    Rayz2016 said:

    P.S. Seems to me that you never watched new apple iphone presentation. They love to brag about SoC performance, Shiller even went so far to tell that "ihpone 7 is fastest smartphone ever made" After throtling is secretly implemented that's not thrue any more so we are talking about false advertasing now...

    What Schiller actually said was that the iPhone 7’s processor was the fastest ever made. 

    https://www.macworld.com/article/3117593/apple-phone/fastest-smartphone-chip-ever-the-a10-fusion-powers-apples-new-iphone-7.html

    Still a subjective measure, but hardly false advertising. 

    Yes, he said that, but he also said that every iphone is fastest smartphone on the market and that they are killing it  now. Second sentence in performance section, 1:32 in presentatin video for 7th gen. 
    And it’s objective measure when you present relative distance to something and that distance is measurable in  physicall units. On the other side is best, beautiful etc. 

    Iphone’s speed is unquestioned market reality, even for competing mnfgs and big part of user satisfaction
  • Reply 11 of 19
    maxitmaxit Posts: 196member
    IN this story we just need ONE HONEST ANSWER: why Apple is throttling also 1 year old devices. I don’t care if they are throttling 2+ years old iPhone to preserve and prolong their life. But why on hell are they throttling iPhone 7’s ???
    feudalist
  • Reply 12 of 19
    maxit said:
    IN this story we just need ONE HONEST ANSWER: why Apple is throttling also 1 year old devices. I don’t care if they are throttling 2+ years old iPhone to preserve and prolong their life. But why on hell are they throttling iPhone 7’s ???
    Because even new phones eventually will have a worn out battery?
    Btw, could you pls provide me a link to where it is documented iPhone 7 has throttling active and what the battery condition might be?
  • Reply 13 of 19
    maxit said:
    IN this story we just need ONE HONEST ANSWER: why Apple is throttling also 1 year old devices. I don’t care if they are throttling 2+ years old iPhone to preserve and prolong their life. But why on hell are they throttling iPhone 7’s ???
    They aren't, not as a matter of policy. The peak power draw throttling checks a number of factors, the primary being whether your battery is toast. For a 7, you'd have to perform 2-3 charge cycles daily. Have you done that? If not, then you're battery is still at healthy levels. Go into Settings > Battery and have a look. No warning message, no problem.
    bshank
  • Reply 14 of 19
    maxit said:
    IN this story we just need ONE HONEST ANSWER: why Apple is throttling also 1 year old devices. I don’t care if they are throttling 2+ years old iPhone to preserve and prolong their life. But why on hell are they throttling iPhone 7’s ???
    Because even new phones eventually will have a worn out battery?
    Btw, could you pls provide me a link to where it is documented iPhone 7 has throttling active and what the battery condition might be?


    https://www.geekbench.com/blog/2017/12/iphone-performance-and-battery-age/

    whatever battery condition might be, it's absolutelly not acceptable for 14-15 months old devices at that time to be randomly shuttdown or (secretly)  throtled otherwise.

  • Reply 15 of 19
    maxit said:
    IN this story we just need ONE HONEST ANSWER: why Apple is throttling also 1 year old devices. I don’t care if they are throttling 2+ years old iPhone to preserve and prolong their life. But why on hell are they throttling iPhone 7’s ???
    The peak power draw throttling checks a number of factors, the primary being whether your battery is toast.
    |cut|
    Go into Settings > Battery and have a look. No warning message, no problem.

    According to official Apple statement it's just 3: device temp, battery charge state and battery impedance. So, there is no single word about age or diminished capacity as a reason to engage this feature. And we are talking about ten pages long article. But there is one key sentence to think about: "In addition, a battery's ability to provide power quickly may decrease". This 10-pages long article, actually, is about that. Only that and nothing more. So, according to this statement, throtling is engaged without taking in consideration number of cycles or retained capacity.
  • Reply 16 of 19

    According to official Apple statement it's just 3: device temp, battery charge state and battery impedance. So, there is no single word about age or diminished capacity as a reason to engage this feature. And we are talking about ten pages long article. But there is one key sentence to think about: "In addition, a battery's ability to provide power quickly may decrease". This 10-pages long article, actually, is about that. Only that and nothing more. So, according to this statement, throtling is engaged without taking in consideration number of cycles or retained capacity.
    I want to quote Linus Torvalds: "Talk is cheap, show me the code." :D
  • Reply 17 of 19
    feudalist said:
    maxit said:
    IN this story we just need ONE HONEST ANSWER: why Apple is throttling also 1 year old devices. I don’t care if they are throttling 2+ years old iPhone to preserve and prolong their life. But why on hell are they throttling iPhone 7’s ???
    The peak power draw throttling checks a number of factors, the primary being whether your battery is toast.
    |cut|
    Go into Settings > Battery and have a look. No warning message, no problem.

    According to official Apple statement it's just 3: device temp, battery charge state and battery impedance. So, there is no single word about age or diminished capacity as a reason to engage this feature. And we are talking about ten pages long article. But there is one key sentence to think about: "In addition, a battery's ability to provide power quickly may decrease". This 10-pages long article, actually, is about that. Only that and nothing more. So, according to this statement, throtling is engaged without taking in consideration number of cycles or retained capacity.
    If the battery is new and not defective impedance won’t be an issue. if it’s old and has gone thru it’s rated number of cycles it can or will be. This doesn’t really need explaining. 

    So again, a non-defective 7 will still have a healthy battery unless you’ve charged it 2-3 full cycles a day. 
    edited January 22
  • Reply 18 of 19
    feudalist said:
    maxit said:
    IN this story we just need ONE HONEST ANSWER: why Apple is throttling also 1 year old devices. I don’t care if they are throttling 2+ years old iPhone to preserve and prolong their life. But why on hell are they throttling iPhone 7’s ???
    The peak power draw throttling checks a number of factors, the primary being whether your battery is toast.
    |cut|
    Go into Settings > Battery and have a look. No warning message, no problem.

    According to official Apple statement it's just 3: device temp, battery charge state and battery impedance. So, there is no single word about age or diminished capacity as a reason to engage this feature. And we are talking about ten pages long article. But there is one key sentence to think about: "In addition, a battery's ability to provide power quickly may decrease". This 10-pages long article, actually, is about that. Only that and nothing more. So, according to this statement, throtling is engaged without taking in consideration number of cycles or retained capacity.
    If the battery is new and not defective impedance won’t be an issue. if it’s old and has gone thru it’s rated number of cycles it can or will be. This doesn’t really need explaining. 

    So again, a non-defective 7 will still have a healthy battery unless you’ve charged it 2-3 full cycles a day. 

    When I read your comments, you seem to imply "All that users need to understand about the status of the battery in their own iPhone is ALREADY available in the Settings page, clearly laid out for users to understand". Am I reading your comments correctly?


    The reason why I ask this question is - Apple themselves clearly mentioned that "Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance". But you seem to be confident that ALL that iPhone users need to do is "Go into Settings > Battery and have a look. No warning message, no problem". Is it really that straightforward? If it is THAT straightforward, why would Apple develop new features to give more visibility into the health of their iPhone's battery? Where is the disconnect? Did you read Apple's statement before commenting on this topic?

    feudalist
  • Reply 19 of 19
    feudalist said:
    maxit said:
    IN this story we just need ONE HONEST ANSWER: why Apple is throttling also 1 year old devices. I don’t care if they are throttling 2+ years old iPhone to preserve and prolong their life. But why on hell are they throttling iPhone 7’s ???
    The peak power draw throttling checks a number of factors, the primary being whether your battery is toast.
    |cut|
    Go into Settings > Battery and have a look. No warning message, no problem.

    According to official Apple statement it's just 3: device temp, battery charge state and battery impedance. So, there is no single word about age or diminished capacity as a reason to engage this feature. And we are talking about ten pages long article. But there is one key sentence to think about: "In addition, a battery's ability to provide power quickly may decrease". This 10-pages long article, actually, is about that. Only that and nothing more. So, according to this statement, throtling is engaged without taking in consideration number of cycles or retained capacity. 

    So again, a non-defective 7 will still have a healthy battery unless you’ve charged it 2-3 full cycles a day. 
    This is overly simplistic view. As I said earlier, Li-ion batteries are known quantity. Until 6, 6s and Se, Apple didn’t have any batterie issue big enough to worry about. Suddenly, they have it. Big enough to go to research, find underlying cause and implement sw solution which is to say that iphone batterie can not prowide power as designed, produced, assembled and sold. Clearly, it’s design flaw. Kind of, only best in field can make. When you work at Apple, there is no third grade components, tolerances are tight, QC pervassive. Engeneering is about trade-ofs, first block is tightly controlled, second also and so on. Somebody decided that there is little room to squeeze couple mAh more in capacity versus little more current. Because everything is too tight on edge of whats possible, and you think that everything is tightly controlled, you can make bad call and when one component goes just little bit outside boundaries, everything fails. It can happen to everybody. In that case you just have to be honest, admit and correct no matter what. All this nightmare is about honesty. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
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