Apple agrees in a lawsuit in San Francisco to pay a $ 113 million (95.5 million) settlement to 34 US states. They took Apple to court because the tech giant would deliberately slow down older models of the iPhone, so that users switch to a new series faster.
What is it about? In 2016, Apple sent out an update for the software of the iPhones 6, 7 and SE. This led to millions of complaints from users about slower operation. In some cases, the smartphone also fell out unexpectedly. Perhaps the update prevented the batteries from sending peak current to the processor of the smartphone.
What was the complaint? According to the complainants, Apple has cheated by hiding the purpose of the update: limiting battery performance and thus the phone, so that the battery would drain more slowly. “Apple withheld information about the batteries that slowed iPhones, pretending it was a regular software update,” prosecutor Xavier Becerra said.
According to the complainants, Apple wanted to secretly influence users to switch to a newer iPhone model. “Apple knows all too well what the effects will be on sales,” said the Arizona prosecutor.
What does Apple say itself? The iPhone maker has always denied that there were any covert motives. According to the company, the changes were supposed to extend battery life and users were under no obligation to switch to a faster iPhone. Earlier, Apple already apologized and the prices for replacing a battery have been lowered.
What are the financial consequences? It is not the first time that Apple settles or has to pay in cases involving deliberate delays of iPhones. Under the settlement that was canceled on Wednesday, which Apple says is not an admission of guilt, the company will pay $ 113 million to the affected states, who will withdraw their complaint in return. For the cash-rich Apple, the amount is little more than a little change. The sum will be distributed among the 34 states and will be used to pay the lawyers and to fund other legal initiatives around consumer protection.
What does this mean for the future? Perhaps the most important result is that Apple will offer more transparency about its batteries. The company must publish truthful information about the iPhone batteries and the impact of software updates on its website, according to the deal. Remarkably, that transparency promise is limited to only three years, according to the settlement.