Apple compares iOS updates to kitchen renovations in motion to dismiss iPhone slowdown law...

Posted:
in iPhone
Apple cannot be liable for slowing down iPhones via iOS updates, according to a motion to dismiss a lawsuit concerning efforts to prolong an iPhone's battery life by reducing its performance, with the company arguing the suit is the equivalent of suing a building contractor for upgrading a kitchen.

The battery and internals of an iPhone 6s
The battery and internals of an iPhone 6s


In the 50-page filing with the United States District Court for the Northern District of California from January 24, San Jose Division, Apple's motion seeks to dismiss one of a number of lawsuits that surfaced in the United States, following the company's admittance it temporarily slowed down processes on older iPhones when a worn and potentially malfunctioning battery is detected.

It is argued by the defendants they were made to install software updates that included elements to fix the battery problems by reducing the processor's performance, which had the aim of preventing the battery from running completely flat and from randomly shutting down. The defendants believe they were misled by Apple, which is accused of slipping the slow-down functions in an iOS update without providing adequate warning to users of its effects.

Arguing the plaintiffs failed to explain "what is false or misleading" about Apple's statements, Apple also notes the change in argument from its opponents by seizing upon the statement the "battery is designed to retain up to 80 percent of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles," adding it believes it cannot be used to "wring an affirmative misrepresentation claim" either.

Apple "had no duty to disclose the facts regarding software capability and battery capacity," the company asserts, on the basis it does not cause an "unreasonable safety hazard," and that there is a limit to the duty a company has to offer such disclosure.

Under a section of the filing claiming "Plaintiffs fail to plead that Apple fraudulently induced plaintiffs to damage their devices," Apple argues that the updates were installed with the user's consent, and that means they agreed to changes the software would make. The plaintiffs are also attacked for stating they "did not give permission" but at the same time provides proof they in fact did, via the iOS license agreement.

In one notable element, the pushback on alleged "damage" caused by the software updates is reasoned with an analogy about kitchen installations. The plaintiffs are likened to "homeowners who have let a building contractor into their homes to upgrade their kitchens, thus giving permission for the contractor to demolish and change parts of the houses."

Since the plaintiffs provided permission, this would be the kitchen analogy equivalent of the contractor causing excessive damage as part of the installation but it remaining within contract, rather than as trespass. "Plaintiffs' consent defeats each of their computer intrusion claims," the filing adds.

According to the filing, the court will be holding a hearing on the lawsuit on March 7, with Judge Edward J. Davila presiding over the matter.

Since the announcement, Apple has offered affected customers a reduced-cost out-of-warranty battery replacement, which changed the battery in a user's iPhone for $29. Under the program, 11 million iPhone batteries were replaced, 9 million more than average under the previous $79 pricing.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    "homeowners who have let a building contractor into their homes to upgrade their kitchens, thus giving permission for the contractor to demolish and change parts of the houses." - okay, but the intent is that that upgrade will improve the kitchen on how it looks and functions...I've had my renovations done on my home and in each instance the contractors have noted that "if we do X, then this is what happens to Y, do you still want to do X". . . I've never had a contractor make the executive decision that in order to bring hot water more efficiently to the kitchen they'll just reduce the flow of it to other parts of the house and I'll just have to live with not having a hot shower...Apple essentially made that executive decision and felt like they didn't need to inform user of what they would be giving up in order to have improved battery performance or that without the update and reduced performance there would be safety issue with the battery...it wasn't an unforeseen side effect, Apple knew what they were doing and consciously decided against transparency to the end user. Users have free will and should decide if they want to stay with Apple knowing where they stand as customers and the lack of transparency
    edited January 30 gatorguymuthuk_vanalingamatomic101pairof9
  • Reply 2 of 18
    I agree with Apples claim over here. But they could improve their case in the future by making Terms & Conditions pages easier to read.
    lolliver
  • Reply 3 of 18
    "Apple's motion seeks to dismiss one of a number of lawsuits that surfaced in the United States, following the company's admittance it temporarily slowed down processes on older iPhones when a worn and potentially malfunctioning battery is detected."

    That's not even close to being an accurate description of what Apple did. Apple updated the OS to monitor and smooth out large spikes in voltage demand to the battery that could potentially cause an auto shutdown of the phone. Those voltage spikes do NOT only occur with a "worn or potentially malfunctioning battery". They can also occur when charge level is low or when the phone is exposed to cold temperatures. In other words, the majority of the situations where an auto shutdown might need to be prevented have absolutely nothing to do with battery age or wear.
    edited January 30 jason leavittlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 18
    BxBorn said: - okay, but the intent is that that upgrade will improve the kitchen on how it looks and functions...
    Apple did improve the function of iOS. They reduced the chances that the phone would suddenly shut down due to a voltage demand that was too high for the battery to supply. That was an issue that customers had complained to Apple about. It wasn't something Apple arbitrarily decided to add to the OS. 
    ronnjason leavittlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 18
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,995administrator
    "Apple's motion seeks to dismiss one of a number of lawsuits that surfaced in the United States, following the company's admittance it temporarily slowed down processes on older iPhones when a worn and potentially malfunctioning battery is detected."

    That's not even close to being an accurate description of what Apple did. Apple updated the OS to monitor and smooth out large spikes in voltage demand to the battery that could potentially cause an auto shutdown of the phone. Those voltage spikes do NOT only occur with a "worn or potentially malfunctioning battery". They can also occur when charge level is low or when the phone is exposed to cold temperatures. In other words, the majority of the situations where an auto shutdown might need to be prevented have absolutely nothing to do with battery age or wear.
    While I understand what you're saying, and agree in part, if they happen when charge level is low, that means the battery isn't performing as it should generally because of chemical depletion.

    Where we differ is where the majority situation line lies. Just because it can happen in cold weather, doesn't make that the dominant situation. Most users got the warning primarily because of an old battery which shifts the voltage curve, and aggravates every other fail state that could be tripped by the software.
    edited January 30 ronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 18
    BxBorn said:
    "homeowners who have let a building contractor into their homes to upgrade their kitchens, thus giving permission for the contractor to demolish and change parts of the houses." - okay, but the intent is that that upgrade will improve the kitchen on how it looks and functions...I've had my renovations done on my home and in each instance the contractors have noted that "if we do X, then this is what happens to Y, do you still want to do X". . . I've never had a contractor make the executive decision that in order to bring hot water more efficiently to the kitchen they'll just reduce the flow of it to other parts of the house and I'll just have to live with not having a hot shower...Apple essentially made that executive decision and felt like they didn't need to inform user of what they would be giving up in order to have improved battery performance or that without the update and reduced performance there would be safety issue with the battery...it wasn't an unforeseen side effect, Apple knew what they were doing and consciously decided against transparency to the end user. Users have free will and should decide if they want to stay with Apple knowing where they stand as customers and the lack of transparency

    And no one has ever had a contractor come back to their house three years later and tweek their dishwasher to work less because that contractor thought that was something the owner wanted now that some time has passed--without asking permission and entering through a backdoor (when does Apple say they are going to do an update? After 11pm?) in the middle of the night.

    It's like Apple thinks they still have an ownership stake in something that they sold 3 or 4 years ago.

    It's worth mentioning that the way Apple is micromanaged by Tim and Jony; they would have been aware and signed off on this.
    BxBorn
  • Reply 7 of 18
    Mike Wuerthele said: While I understand what you're saying, and agree in part, if they happen when charge level is low, that means the battery isn't performing as it should generally because of chemical depletion. 
    A brand new lithium-ion battery that is phone sized loses it's ability to supply a consistent level of voltage at around 20% charge. That's why Apple has the low charge warning at 20%. Voltage supply problems around that level of charge are unavoidable and not a defect. It's just a limitation of the current battery technology when you're using a small device like a mobile phone. 

    That's one of the reasons that rushing out to get a new battery to "speed up" your iPhone was entirely pointless unless the battery was already around 80% capacity and essentially EOD. New batteries can't avoid voltage supply problems at low charge or in cold conditions. 
    edited January 30 watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 18
    Oh! And after that contractor is found and confronted with what he did to the dishwasher he says "I'll sell you some dishwasher detergent tablets for 1/2 price....We're cool, right?"
  • Reply 9 of 18
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,995administrator
    Mike Wuerthele said: While I understand what you're saying, and agree in part, if they happen when charge level is low, that means the battery isn't performing as it should generally because of chemical depletion. 
    A brand new lithium-ion battery that is phone sized loses it's ability to supply a consistent level of voltage at around 20% charge. That's why Apple has the low charge warning at 20%. Voltage supply problems around that level of charge are unavoidable and not a defect. It's just a limitation of the current battery technology when you're using a small device like a mobile phone. 
    A brand new li-ion battery loses its ability to supply a consistent level of voltage at around 20% of the maximum theoretical battery capacity, that is correct. That's also why the "0%" as displayed on the iPhone is above that 20% line of the battery's theoretical capacity. When the performance curve shifts, the critical voltage moves above that 0 percent as marked on the phone.
    edited January 30 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 18
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,193member
    The kitchen renovation analogy does not adequately describe the scenario, at least not in my mind. I think this is purely a fault tolerance and failure avoidance scenario. I would liken it to a commercial airliner that is discovered in mid-flight to have one faulty engine. To complete the flight safely and successfully the pilot powers down the faulty engine. Because one engine is offline the flight arrives at its destination later than planned. Everyone is safe but some passengers sue the airline for the delay.

    A faulty, leaking fuel tank analogy could also apply, where the pilot throttles back all engines to reduce fuel consumption because of the leak. The plane flies more slowly, arrives late, but again, everyone is safe and living. What would the other option be? Continue to fly at full speed, draining the faulty fuel tanks, crashing the plane in the middle of the Atlantic, and everyone is dead? Would you rather go slower and arrive late or continue on at full speed, ignoring the fault, and never arriving? I know what my choice would be. Faults happen, but faults do not have to lead to failures, or death, as the case may be.

    And yes, I do fully expect Apple to implement fault tolerance and failure avoidance as part of every product's Update and maintenance cycle. That's exactly why I let them update my Apple products.
    edited January 30 watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 18
    That's also why the "0%" as displayed on the iPhone is above that 20% line of the battery's theoretical capacity.
    Fair enough, I've never seen that mentioned before. That must mean "100%" is below theoretical capacity as well. Apple's own statement regarding lithium-ion doesn't actually use any percentages at all... "Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components."
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 18
    bobroo said:
    BxBorn said:
    "homeowners who have let a building contractor into their homes to upgrade their kitchens, thus giving permission for the contractor to demolish and change parts of the houses." - okay, but the intent is that that upgrade will improve the kitchen on how it looks and functions...I've had my renovations done on my home and in each instance the contractors have noted that "if we do X, then this is what happens to Y, do you still want to do X". . . I've never had a contractor make the executive decision that in order to bring hot water more efficiently to the kitchen they'll just reduce the flow of it to other parts of the house and I'll just have to live with not having a hot shower...Apple essentially made that executive decision and felt like they didn't need to inform user of what they would be giving up in order to have improved battery performance or that without the update and reduced performance there would be safety issue with the battery...it wasn't an unforeseen side effect, Apple knew what they were doing and consciously decided against transparency to the end user. Users have free will and should decide if they want to stay with Apple knowing where they stand as customers and the lack of transparency

    And no one has ever had a contractor come back to their house three years later and tweek their dishwasher to work less because that contractor thought that was something the owner wanted now that some time has passed--without asking permission and entering through a backdoor (when does Apple say they are going to do an update? After 11pm?) in the middle of the night.

    It's like Apple thinks they still have an ownership stake in something that they sold 3 or 4 years ago.

    It's worth mentioning that the way Apple is micromanaged by Tim and Jony; they would have been aware and signed off on this.
    They did sign off on it. There is a mandatory signing of a terms of agreement that has two steps. First you acknowledged that you ok to download the update. At this point you can decline after reading what it will do. Once downloaded it will not install until you explicitly sign off on the install providing a second opportunity to read the contract and decline. So, if a contractor build you a kitchen with a free update after 3 years and when he showed up he handed you a new concent form to demolish and change your kitchen, then if you sign it you have given consent, just like in this case. 

    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 18
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,283member
    genovelle said:
    bobroo said:
    BxBorn said:
    "homeowners who have let a building contractor into their homes to upgrade their kitchens, thus giving permission for the contractor to demolish and change parts of the houses." - okay, but the intent is that that upgrade will improve the kitchen on how it looks and functions...I've had my renovations done on my home and in each instance the contractors have noted that "if we do X, then this is what happens to Y, do you still want to do X". . . I've never had a contractor make the executive decision that in order to bring hot water more efficiently to the kitchen they'll just reduce the flow of it to other parts of the house and I'll just have to live with not having a hot shower...Apple essentially made that executive decision and felt like they didn't need to inform user of what they would be giving up in order to have improved battery performance or that without the update and reduced performance there would be safety issue with the battery...it wasn't an unforeseen side effect, Apple knew what they were doing and consciously decided against transparency to the end user. Users have free will and should decide if they want to stay with Apple knowing where they stand as customers and the lack of transparency

    And no one has ever had a contractor come back to their house three years later and tweek their dishwasher to work less because that contractor thought that was something the owner wanted now that some time has passed--without asking permission and entering through a backdoor (when does Apple say they are going to do an update? After 11pm?) in the middle of the night.

    It's like Apple thinks they still have an ownership stake in something that they sold 3 or 4 years ago.

    It's worth mentioning that the way Apple is micromanaged by Tim and Jony; they would have been aware and signed off on this.
    They did sign off on it. There is a mandatory signing of a terms of agreement that has two steps. First you acknowledged that you ok to download the update. At this point you can decline after reading what it will do. Once downloaded it will not install until you explicitly sign off on the install providing a second opportunity to read the contract and decline. So, if a contractor build you a kitchen with a free update after 3 years and when he showed up he handed you a new concent form to demolish and change your kitchen, then if you sign it you have given consent, just like in this case. 

    The claim in this one was that Apple didn't disclose in advance that the update would allow for a device's operation to be artificially slowed. The didn't mention it until sometime later after millions of folks had already applied the update. The argument is some folks may have declined to do so had Apple explained in advance what the effect on their device might be. 

    My guess is most folks wouldn't have read it anyway even if Apple had told them so in general it wouldn't have mattered.
  • Reply 14 of 18
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,995administrator
    That's also why the "0%" as displayed on the iPhone is above that 20% line of the battery's theoretical capacity.
    Fair enough, I've never seen that mentioned before. That must mean "100%" is below theoretical capacity as well. Apple's own statement regarding lithium-ion doesn't actually use any percentages at all... "Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components."
    It is. The iPhone-displayed 100% is about 90% of the max theoretical capacity of the battery, with Samsung and most Android manufacturers opting for 95% to 98%. This cuts way, way back on thermal runaways.

    Li-ion batteries really, really don't like being fully discharged from a physics and chemistry standpoint. That 20% gap keeps the user from getting too low, and causing other problems.
    fastasleeplolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 18
    Guys all this talk about kitchens is just Apple lawyers trying to be magicians. Look at my left hand while I fleece you with my right.

    It has been proven in studies that the average Joe does not look at those user agreements before clicking OK. So for Apple to point to those and say that they were signed is not a great argument.

    Also the crux of the argument between the plaintives is not that Apple throttled the phones, it is that it didn’t give the owner of the iPhone the plain choice of continuing to use the phone in the throttled state or get it fixed with a battery replacement. That is where Apple went wrong and is why they had such a PR disaster resulting in the battery replacement program and this lawsuit.
  • Reply 16 of 18
    BxBorn said: - okay, but the intent is that that upgrade will improve the kitchen on how it looks and functions...
    Apple did improve the function of iOS. They reduced the chances that the phone would suddenly shut down due to a voltage demand that was too high for the battery to supply. That was an issue that customers had complained to Apple about. It wasn't something Apple arbitrarily decided to add to the OS. 
    Not arbitrarily, but definitely unilaterally by withholding disclosure of such an important feature addition to iOS. Regardless of whether it benefitted iPhone users or not, the lack of communication, in either the software update distribution or through customer support channels, of such a feature and its affects on iPhone performance led rational users to surmise they owned a defective device...and like me, felt compelled to upgrade as such. Why did Apple not disclose the information of such an intended feature, especially when direct support was requested, prior to iPhone 8/X launches? 

    In short, the reason may have been beneficial and even justified, but the implementation was deceptive. 
  • Reply 17 of 18
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,518member
    pairof9 said:
    In short, the reason may have been beneficial and even justified, but the implementation was deceptive. 
    That's a big ol' sack of bullshit. There was no justification needed, with the sole exception to avoid a PR storm.

    Because crybabies didn't understand what was happening with the update (that is Apple's fault) they felt butthurt and claimed that Apple was deliberately trying to force sales of battery replacements and phones. So they wanted to sue. Of course they did.

    If I don't owe you an explanation and I don't lie to you, there's no deception. Just because you believe you were deceived doesn't mean you were.

    There was also the issue of some phones going from a moderate charged ~50% to 0, without stopping at 20% and providing a warning. In some instances the problem wasn't reproduced at the Apple Store and the battery capacity was higher than 80% so Apple didn't see the problem and didn't replace the batteries under warranty.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 18
    I'm not sure that the kitchen analogy is going to help Apple too much but let's not lose sight of the big picture:

    * Batteries wear out. However you approach it, that's what happens. Disadvantaged batteries (eg cold) lose their effective charge very quickly: photographers and others have known that for years and it's chemistry, not commercial interest.
    * "It is argued by the defendants they were made to install software updates that included elements to fix the battery problems ... which had the aim of preventing the battery from running completely flat and from randomly shutting down." Or to rephrase that, to make the phone work in situations where it otherwise wouldn't (including because it's old and marginal on being worn out). You can't give some people something helpful - I despair.
    watto_cobra
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