U.S. government questions Apple over iPhone slowdown debacle

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 9
Following revelations that the French government opened an investigation into Apple's decision to throttle the performance of older iPhones with deteriorated batteries, a U.S. senator on Tuesday sent a letter to CEO Tim Cook requesting details about the hardware policy.




In his letter to Cook, Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, asked a series of questions to suss out the company's policies on slowing down iPhones with depleted battery cells, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Apple has been under fire since it admitted to throttling processor performance on some older iPhone models last month.

In December, a Reddit user detailed what appeared to be evidence of CPU throttling on iPhones with degraded batteries, claims that were later backed up by Geekbench's John Poole. Aggregating multiple iPhone benchmark tests, Poole found a correlation in iPhone slowdowns, battery age and iOS version, with a noted change in performance apparent between iOS 10.2 and iOS 10.2.1.

Apple released iOS 10.2.1 in 2016 to deal with unexpected shutdowns afflicting iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE models, though the company failed to disclose how the firmware fixed the apparent problem.

In a statement last month, Apple said the built-in iOS feature helps "smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions." The same technology has been carried forward with iOS 11.2 to cover iPhone 7, and Apple says the feature will be further implemented in future products.

Customers who took offense to Apple's decision to remotely install a performance-capping feature, or more specifically the company's lack of transparency on the matter, began to file class-action lawsuits in a bid to recoup lost expenses. More than 30 complaints have been filed in the U.S. so far, including a case being handled by Hagens Berman, the consumer rights law firm that successfully obtained a $450 million settlement from Apple over e-book price fixing in 2015.

For its part, Apple apologized for not communicating the implementation to iPhone owners. At the same time, the company dropped the cost of out-of-warranty battery replacements from $79 to $29 in a play for positive customer sentiment.

"Apple's proposed solutions have prompted additional criticism from some customers, particularly its decision not to provide free replacement batteries," Thune writes.

Thune goes on to ask how Apple is tracking customer complaints related to the processor slowdown issue, and whether the company is looking into rebates for iPhone owners who paid full price for a battery replacement prior to the discount offer, the report said. Thune requests Apple respond to the queries by Jan. 23.

News of the U.S. government's interest in Apple's handling of iPhone battery woes comes just one day after French regulators initiated an investigation into identical issues. In that case, the DGCCRF anti-fraud agency is following up on a private complaint by Stop Planned Obsolescence.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 73
    This is incredibly stupid.
    designrmagman1979brisancewilliamlondonjasenj1jbdragonStrangeDayshodarwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 73
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,933member
    Here we go again, someone who knows next to nothing about how rechargeable batteries work. Why is it nobody cares about all their battery operated devices needing new batteries? We hardly ever hear about those but everyone is complaining about Apple's batteries as if they expect them to last forever. People need to get a grip and realize we're not using Star Trek era power sources that last longer but also don't last forever. As for Apple being required to give people free replacement batteries, if the courts demand this then I'm suing every manufacturer of battery operated devices for a lifetime supply of batteries, starting with my rechargeable batteries in my power tools. It's the same thing and don't get me started on Apple changing software to slow their devices down a bit to extend the life of the power in their batteries. This makes sense and people should appreciate it. As for the law firms going after Apple, I think Congress should investigate them and all the other ambulance chasing lawyers. Get rid of them. 
    cornchipmagman1979racerhomie3tmayAnilu_777georgie01jasenj1jbdragonMacsplosionwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 73
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,110member
    Oh my lord. Guess I shoul have seen this one coming...
    jbdragon
  • Reply 4 of 73
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,766member
    More grandstanding from political shitheads, but in another country. That is something that unites the world: technical idiocy.
    magman1979tmaywilliamlondonjbdragonStrangeDayswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 5 of 73
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,325member
    Apple needs to send him the explanation as a picture book. 
    radster360magman1979tmaywilliamlondonjbdragonhodarwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 6 of 73
    rob53 said:
    Here we go again, someone who knows next to nothing about how rechargeable batteries work. Why is it nobody cares about all their battery operated devices needing new batteries? We hardly ever hear about those but everyone is complaining about Apple's batteries as if they expect them to last forever.
    If forever means 2-3 years usefull life out of 800 to 1000 USD priced phone, yes we are not expecting but requesting that.
    muthuk_vanalingamanantksundaramsingularityClarityToSeejumewilliamlondon78Bandit
  • Reply 7 of 73
    magman1979magman1979 Posts: 1,064member
    feudalist said:
    rob53 said:
    Here we go again, someone who knows next to nothing about how rechargeable batteries work. Why is it nobody cares about all their battery operated devices needing new batteries? We hardly ever hear about those but everyone is complaining about Apple's batteries as if they expect them to last forever.
    If forever means 2-3 years usefull life out of 800 to 1000 USD priced phone, yes we are not expecting but requesting that.
    Are you still trying to make a fool of yourself? Did you not learn anything that was told to you in the last thread you attempted to sound informed???
    racerhomie3jbdragonStrangeDayswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 8 of 73
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,766member
    feudalist said:
    rob53 said:
    Here we go again, someone who knows next to nothing about how rechargeable batteries work. Why is it nobody cares about all their battery operated devices needing new batteries? We hardly ever hear about those but everyone is complaining about Apple's batteries as if they expect them to last forever.
    If forever means 2-3 years usefull life out of 800 to 1000 USD priced phone, yes we are not expecting but requesting that.
    Right... I suppose you throw a away your car instead of changing the tires, or the battery in your car
    no matter the usage, no matter the conditions you used / use them in huh bud.

    You are not entitled to miracles. Sooner you grow up and snap out of your delusion, the better it will be.

    The phone works on average at near top performance for normal use after 2 years (say 600-700 charges); they owe you, or those dancing idiots nothing else.
    If you charge your phone 700 times in one year, or spin your tires at stop lights, you won't make it to even average life span with original tires, or original battery.

    Batteries have always been consumable and they can be replaced for 8-10% of the price of the phone even before the reduced price. If you throw away a phone with a still high residual value that can be restored to full function for 20% of buying a new phone (pre reduced price), you've got some other issues than just batteries.

    The only way around this is for whiner like you to accept much larger phones initially; and you'll find time to whine about that too I bet.





    tmayAnilu_777macxpressStrangeDayshodarwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 9 of 73
    This is really getting ridiculous! First of, I do feel what Apple did, slowing down the phone, was to provide better value for the customer. It allows them to push their buying decision for new phone further down the line. Rechargeable batteries do have some end of life. As far as the speed goes, let's get real - Phones are communication and utility device, they are not solving some mission critical problem where a slowness is impacting the owners need. Yes, Apple did one thing wrong. Not informing their customer that they are switching into that mode. Couldn't they have used the "Power Save" mode to do exactly what they were doing otherwise? 

    In any case, Apple apologized and I think they have provided a generous deal for battery replacement. What I don't like is some French government action prompted this administration to question Apple and that too from an official who doesn't understand technology. Maybe, we should have out representative go question auto car manufacturer - It is commonly known that there are speed governors in car with electronics where it controls your max speed limit. The car can really go much more faster. Obviously the car companies do it so for the safety of the owner of the car, but also so that it doesn't destroy the engine due to prolonged running of engine at higher speed. Kind of sound familiar, doesn't it.
    Anilu_777georgie012old4funwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 73
    foggyhill said:
    feudalist said:
    rob53 said:
    Here we go again, someone who knows next to nothing about how rechargeable batteries work. Why is it nobody cares about all their battery operated devices needing new batteries? We hardly ever hear about those but everyone is complaining about Apple's batteries as if they expect them to last forever.
    If forever means 2-3 years usefull life out of 800 to 1000 USD priced phone, yes we are not expecting but requesting that.
    Right... I suppose you throw a away your car instead of changing the tires, or the battery in your car
    no matter the usage, no matter the conditions you used / use them in huh bud.

    I like this analogy and I will take it little further. So, if it happens that manufacturer used special bolts only accesible in manufacturer aproved service stations, of course without any warranty whatsoever but you will loose warranty for car if you make change in nearest garage, and they are prone to sudden loss of pressure unrelated to use/abuse before they are fully worn-out, what would be your expectation about longevity?

  • Reply 11 of 73

    More than anything else, I think Apple has learnt a very valuable lesson on communication here.

    People are skewering Apple for thinking about the life of their products. The whole thing could have been averted with a little open communication.

    Anilu_777philboogiesingularityMacsplosionwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 73
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,933member
    feudalist said:
    foggyhill said:
    feudalist said:
    rob53 said:
    Here we go again, someone who knows next to nothing about how rechargeable batteries work. Why is it nobody cares about all their battery operated devices needing new batteries? We hardly ever hear about those but everyone is complaining about Apple's batteries as if they expect them to last forever.
    If forever means 2-3 years usefull life out of 800 to 1000 USD priced phone, yes we are not expecting but requesting that.
    Right... I suppose you throw a away your car instead of changing the tires, or the battery in your car
    no matter the usage, no matter the conditions you used / use them in huh bud.

    I like this analogy and I will take it little further. So, if it happens that manufacturer used special bolts only accesible in manufacturer aproved service stations, of course without any warranty whatsoever but you will loose warranty for car if you make change in nearest garage, and they are prone to sudden loss of pressure unrelated to use/abuse before they are fully worn-out, what would be your expectation about longevity?

    Stupid extended analogy, especially when referring to Apple. There aren't any "special bolts" in any Apple device that there aren't screwdrivers for. Just check out iFixit's website for the tools. As for losing a warranty (nobody has loose warranties, they're very tight and specific), as long as you're still under Apple's warranty, either 1 yr or the extended 2 yr warranty, Apple replaces all parts for free and doesn't charge for labor. I know this is true because I took in my iPhone 6s on the last day of the two year AppleCare warranty because the home button was acting erratic and they ended up replacing the entire front panel, logic board, and battery and didn't charge me anything. The same thing happens with most car manufacturers along with reputable tire dealers. If my Les Schwab tires have an issue before the tread has worn beyond the accepted amount, they will replace the tire and mount it for free. I also have a 7 year warranty that covers most of my Toyota truck, except, here it comes, the BATTERY, tires and normal consumables, like air and oil filters. If you don't take advantage of these warranties and simply complain then I suggest you transport yourself back in time to the middle ages where people had not guarantees for anything, except death.
    Anilu_777fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 73

    Maybe, we should have out representative go question auto car manufacturer - It is commonly known that there are speed governors in car with electronics where it controls your max speed limit. The car can really go much more faster. Obviously the car companies do it so for the safety of the owner of the car, but also so that it doesn't destroy the engine due to prolonged running of engine at higher speed. Kind of sound familiar, doesn't it.
    electronicaly limited speed is actualy rare and it's advertised as such before purchase and clearly stated in user's manual. So, bad, very bad analogy
    singularityClarityToSeelarrya
  • Reply 14 of 73
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,325member

    More than anything else, I think Apple has learnt a very valuable lesson on communication here.

    People are skewering Apple for thinking about the life of their products. The whole thing could have been averted with a little open communication.

    I said that, but having listened to people desperately ignoring everything they know about Lithium Ion batteries just so they can stick it to Cook and Crew, then I’m going to have to admit that I was wrong. If they had said what they were doing several months ago, then the only difference it would have made is that we’d have been listening to this stuff since May, rather than hearing it since November. 
    edited January 10 andrewj5790watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 73
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,766member
    feudalist said:
    foggyhill said:
    feudalist said:
    rob53 said:
    Here we go again, someone who knows next to nothing about how rechargeable batteries work. Why is it nobody cares about all their battery operated devices needing new batteries? We hardly ever hear about those but everyone is complaining about Apple's batteries as if they expect them to last forever.
    If forever means 2-3 years usefull life out of 800 to 1000 USD priced phone, yes we are not expecting but requesting that.
    Right... I suppose you throw a away your car instead of changing the tires, or the battery in your car
    no matter the usage, no matter the conditions you used / use them in huh bud.

    I like this analogy and I will take it little further. So, if it happens that manufacturer used special bolts only accesible in manufacturer aproved service stations, of course without any warranty whatsoever but you will loose warranty for car if you make change in nearest garage, and they are prone to sudden loss of pressure unrelated to use/abuse before they are fully worn-out, what would be your expectation about longevity?

    WTF are you even hell are you talking about. Are you servicing the god damn brakes yourself, most people don't even change their own god damn oil.

    There are no special bolts, you can in fact, if you are adept enough service your own god damn phone but most people won't want to because well don't want to and paying $80 god damn bucks ($30 now) to service your phone once every 2 years is trivial when you're paying $80+ bucks /monthly already for your service plan.

    Your phone at that time is still worth $350+ dollars, double what a average Android phone would go for.

    People with expensive watches $1000+ even get watchmakers to service their expensive sealed watches regularly (or it will stop working).

    Better build something else besides a damn strawman if you want me to feed your desperate need to whine and be "outraged".
    edited January 10 StrangeDaysfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 73
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,325member

    feudalist said:
    foggyhill said:
    feudalist said:
    rob53 said:
    Here we go again, someone who knows next to nothing about how rechargeable batteries work. Why is it nobody cares about all their battery operated devices needing new batteries? We hardly ever hear about those but everyone is complaining about Apple's batteries as if they expect them to last forever.
    If forever means 2-3 years usefull life out of 800 to 1000 USD priced phone, yes we are not expecting but requesting that.
    Right... I suppose you throw a away your car instead of changing the tires, or the battery in your car
    no matter the usage, no matter the conditions you used / use them in huh bud.

    I like this analogy and I will take it little further. So, if it happens that manufacturer used special bolts only accesible in manufacturer aproved service stations, of course without any warranty whatsoever but you will loose warranty for car if you make change in nearest garage, and they are prone to sudden loss of pressure unrelated to use/abuse before they are fully worn-out, what would be your expectation about longevity?

    Then I would say you’re driving a Toyota Prius because those are the conditions of their warranties.

    How do I know? 

    I drive one and I’ve actually read the warranty.

    If I take it back to the dealership (and if I take it anywhere other than a proper Toyota garage then the warranty is cancelled), I cannot tell them that the battery has failed “and it’s not related to use and abuse” and expect them to take my word for it. They will examine the car to see exactly what I have been doing with it. 

    The same with a phone. There is no point trying to say that battery died too early because you have no idea how much the phone was used, what it was used for, and how many charge cycles the battery had to endure as a result. 

    The life of the battery depends more on the number of times it is charged than its actual physical age. And Apple goes to a great deal of trouble to ensure that battery is not charged more than it has to be. But in the end, the life of the battery is down to how you use the phone. 

    Where I live, if a taxi is not a black cab then the chances are it is a Prius. They’re cheap to run around town, but more importantly, they’re reliable. And the reason they’re reliable and last far longer than the life of the battery is because they’re well made, and the control system prevents you from thrashing the life out of the engines. 

    Incidently, the battery on a Prius is not covered by the same warranty as the rest of the car. 

    Its not the fastest car I’ve ever owned, but it is easily the most comfortable and reliable. Worst car I’ve ever owned was a Golf. Volkswagen must have seem me coming. 
    edited January 10 feudalistwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 73
    foggyhill said:
    feudalist said:
    rob53 said:
    Here we go again, someone who knows next to nothing about how rechargeable batteries work. Why is it nobody cares about all their battery operated devices needing new batteries? We hardly ever hear about those but everyone is complaining about Apple's batteries as if they expect them to last forever.
    If forever means 2-3 years usefull life out of 800 to 1000 USD priced phone, yes we are not expecting but requesting that.
    Right... I suppose you throw a away your car instead of changing the tires, or the battery in your car
    no matter the usage, no matter the conditions you used / use them in huh bud.

    You are not entitled to miracles. Sooner you grow up and snap out of your delusion, the better it will be.

    The phone works on average at near top performance for normal use after 2 years (say 600-700 charges); they owe you, or those dancing idiots nothing else.
    If you charge your phone 700 times in one year, or spin your tires at stop lights, you won't make it to even average life span with original tires, or original battery.

    Batteries have always been consumable and they can be replaced for 8-10% of the price of the phone even before the reduced price. If you throw away a phone with a still high residual value that can be restored to full function for 20% of buying a new phone (pre reduced price), you've got some other issues than just batteries.

    The only way around this is for whiner like you to accept much larger phones initially; and you'll find time to whine about that too I bet.





    No, I’m very happy with my iphones so far. Plus model is little to large for my taste but considering that they are seamingly unafected with throtling issue, maybe I can change my mind. 

    I bought five of them starting with 3gs and all of them iare in working condition and in use except 3gs whitch is to slow for anything but good old calls. 

    So, I don’t throw away anything usable and considering waterproofing on this 7, I hope that it will go through another couple of years before opening and braking factory sealant. And yes, 80 bucks (in my country it’s much more - 130 USD) is to much considering other brands and my 20 usd plan (unlimited text, voice, theatering and 4 GB, iptv and deezer are not counted)
  • Reply 18 of 73
    Rayz2016 said:

    feudalist said:
    foggyhill said:
    feudalist said:
    rob53 said:
    Here we go again, someone who knows next to nothing about how rechargeable batteries work. Why is it nobody cares about all their battery operated devices needing new batteries? We hardly ever hear about those but everyone is complaining about Apple's batteries as if they expect them to last forever.
    If forever means 2-3 years usefull life out of 800 to 1000 USD priced phone, yes we are not expecting but requesting that.
    Right... I suppose you throw a away your car instead of changing the tires, or the battery in your car
    no matter the usage, no matter the conditions you used / use them in huh bud.

    I like this analogy and I will take it little further. So, if it happens that manufacturer used special bolts only accesible in manufacturer aproved service stations, of course without any warranty whatsoever but you will loose warranty for car if you make change in nearest garage, and they are prone to sudden loss of pressure unrelated to use/abuse before they are fully worn-out, what would be your expectation about longevity?

    Then I would say you’re driving a Toyota Prius because those are the conditions of their warranties.

    How do I know? 

    I drive one and I’ve actually read the warranty.

    If I take it back to the dealership (and if I take it anywhere other than a proper Toyota garage then the warranty is cancelled), I cannot tell them that the battery has failed “and it’s not related to use and abuse” and expect them to take my word for it. They will examine the car to see exactly what I have been doing with it. 

    The same with a phone. There is no point trying to say that battery died too early because you have no idea how much the phone was used, what it was used for, and how many charge cycles the battery had to endure as a result. 

    The life of the battery depends more on the number of times it is charged than its actual physical age. And Apple goes to a great deal of trouble to ensure that battery is not charged more than it has to be. But in the end, the life of the battery is down to how you use the phone. 

    Where I live, if a taxi is not a black cab then the chances are it is a Prius. They’re cheap to run around town, but more importantly, they’re reliable. And the reason they’re reliable and last far longer than the life of the battery is because they’re well made, and the control system prevents you from thrashing the life out of the engines. 

    Incidently, the battery on a Prius is not covered by the same warranty as the rest of the car. 

    Its not the fastest car I’ve ever owned, but it is easily the most comfortable and reliable. Worst car I’ve ever owned was a Golf. Volkswagen must have seem me coming. 
    I like(d) this post. Well, prius aside, I’m considering iphone as ferrari. Speed, pure speed. if I want to drive until tank is emtpy in the midle of nowhere - so be it. Brakes only slow you down hehe. Don’t apply them without my knowledge, dear Apple. 
    muthuk_vanalingamairnerdlarrya
  • Reply 19 of 73
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,278member
    feudalist said:
    rob53 said:
    Here we go again, someone who knows next to nothing about how rechargeable batteries work. Why is it nobody cares about all their battery operated devices needing new batteries? We hardly ever hear about those but everyone is complaining about Apple's batteries as if they expect them to last forever.
    If forever means 2-3 years usefull life out of 800 to 1000 USD priced phone, yes we are not expecting but requesting that.
    Who the heck told you an $800-$1000 phone is only "useful" to 2-3 years?  Does it suddenly stop working?  Are you not able to take that phone to an Apple store 2-3 years later (or somewhere else) and have the battery replaced with a brand new one for < $100?

    The battery in my car lasts between 3-4 years.  Should I expect the car to be unusable after that as you imply?

    Jeez, there are some people here that are just really bad at trolling, or are a few cards short of a full deck.
    JFC_PAairnerdStrangeDaysmagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 73
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,771member
    rob53 said:
    Here we go again, someone who knows next to nothing about how rechargeable batteries work. Why is it nobody cares about all their battery operated devices needing new batteries? We hardly ever hear about those but everyone is complaining about Apple's batteries as if they expect them to last forever. People need to get a grip and realize we're not using Star Trek era power sources that last longer but also don't last forever. As for Apple being required to give people free replacement batteries, if the courts demand this then I'm suing every manufacturer of battery operated devices for a lifetime supply of batteries, starting with my rechargeable batteries in my power tools. It's the same thing and don't get me started on Apple changing software to slow their devices down a bit to extend the life of the power in their batteries. This makes sense and people should appreciate it. As for the law firms going after Apple, I think Congress should investigate them and all the other ambulance chasing lawyers. Get rid of them. 
    I think there's a slightly different angle to this that goes beyond the simple facts.

    Perhaps the root question is, if the iPhone battery can only be officially changed by Apple or an authorized service representative (and at a cost determined by Apple) and we know that the term 'phone' is employed very lightly in this day and age as far more time is dedicated to non voice use than voice use, how long should a battery reasonably last?

    While few or none would say 'forever' I know a few people who will argue that they need to last longer than they currently do in the current use situations.

    If you use up all the minimum charge cycles that Apple says you should get out of a stock battery (allowing for ambiental impact on performance) before the warranty is up, should you have to pay for a new battery or was the original battery design simply not designed with enough capacity in the first place to handle what we already know is a typical usage pattern?

    I think the French investigation will take this kind or argument into account.

    There are many potential solutions to issues like this which range from increasing the battery capacity through to offering a guarantee on battery life (as opposed to focussing on cycles) and making the battery user replaceable etc.

    Solutions have to be reasonable too so it wouldn't make sense to put a one kilo battery onto a phone.


    edited January 10 feudalistmuthuk_vanalingamrogifan_newairnerd
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