Apple’s 60+ iPhone Slowdown Lawsuits Will Be Consolidated

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Apple is currently facing upwards of 61 class action lawsuits surrounding allegations (and the company’s own admission) that it willfully throttled the performance of certain older iPhone models in order to prevent those devices from “unexpectedly shutting down.” While the majority of those cases were filed by disgruntled iPhone users in the Northern District of […]
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Apple’s iPhone slowdown mess spawned 59 class-action lawsuits

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iPhone Slowdown Class Action

Remember Apple’s decision to slow down iPhones with older batteries? The move was meant to prevent unexpected shutdowns, an issue that affected a significant number of iPhones in the fall of 2016. When Apple fixed the matter in early 2017, it wasn’t exactly forthcoming about what that fix entailed.

It was only in late November that iPhone users discovered that iOS would slow down iPhones with old batteries, significantly reducing their performance. Since December, Apple has been apologizing to customers and introducing new programs to help affected users.

However, that didn’t stop iPhone owners from suing the company. No fewer than 59 separate lawsuits were filed since December, The Wall Street Journal reports.

A legal meeting in Atlanta is scheduled for March 29th, as the lawsuits are seeking class-action status. All 59 cases may be combined into a single case. Lawyers may select a lead attorney for the case and a court location, The Journal explains.

Experts say that the number of cases against Apple is unusual. It’s almost triple the number of suits filed in 2010 over the iPhone 4’s “Antennagate” scandal. Back then, Apple settled the case, offering iPhone 4 owners either $ 15 in cash or a free case — that settlement cost Apple $ 315 million according to estimates.

Legal experts think that plaintiffs face an uphill battle in this particular case, as Apple has done enough since acknowledging the issue. Apple lowered the cost of battery replacements for a year and introduced new battery settings in iOS that would allow users to prevent speed throttling.

Even so, Apple might not want afford to spend years defending against plaintiffs. The company may be forced to disclose sensitive information about its products in case the lawsuit goes to trial, and the iPhone would get more bad publicity.

Apple has been arguing for months now that it hasn’t been slowing down iPhones to force users to upgrade to a newer model. Some of the suits allege that Apple’s throttling feature does precisely that.

This year alone, the iPhone slowdown fiasco is estimated to cost $ 10.29 billion in revenue, as more iPhone users will go for battery replacements rather than new iPhones.

Apple – BGR

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59 iPhone Slowdown Lawsuits Might Merge into Huge Class Action Case

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Five dozen iPhone customers who are suing Apple might seek to merge their lawsuits into one single class-action case, according to a new report. A total of 59 separate lawsuits have been filed against Apple since news of its performance management system first spread. Now, there are efforts to combine those lawsuits into a class-action […]
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Apple testifies before Canada Parliamentary Committee on iPhone slowdown controversy

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Apple continues to face scrutiny over throttling older iPhones as their batteries age. In addition to questioning from lawmakers in the U.S. and other countries around the world, the company today testified in front of a House of Commons committee regarding the iPhone slowdown controversy…



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Mobile – TechCrunch

Apple under investigation by DOJ, SEC for disclosures of its iPhone slow-down update

Enlarge (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple’s battery fiasco continues to grow as the US government gets involved. According to a Bloomberg report, the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating if Apple violated securities laws with its disclosures surrounding a software update that intentionally slowed down the performance of older iPhones. The DOJ and SEC have requested more information from Apple on the subject.

No other details have been reported since the investigation is still new. It’s possible that the government is looking into Apple violating the securities laws that require publicly traded companies to disclose accurate financial information, including risk factors associated with investing in the company. The DOJ and SEC may consider the update that included the slow-down practices a risk factor that could affect the company’s stock and one that wasn’t properly disclosed to investors. As of writing this article, Apple’s stock fell 1.02 percent to $ 166.21 per share.

But this new investigation doesn’t signal definite wrongdoing by Apple—just an investigation by the government to see whether or not wrongdoing occurred. It’s also unclear which securities laws the DOJ and SEC are referencing—and since the probe is private, it’s hard to anticipate when more information about the investigation will be made public.

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apple – Ars Technica

Apple reportedly under investigation by SEC and DOJ for phone slowdown

 The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are jointly investigating Apple’s communications about the software update that slowed down older models of the iPhone, Bloomberg is reporting. Citing sources familiar with the matter, the government has reportedly requested details on the company’s communications about the software update. The Bloomberg… Read More
Mobile – TechCrunch

U.S. government investigates whether Apple violated securities laws with iPhone slowdown updates

Apple is now under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission to determine whether the company’s iPhone-slowing software update violated securities laws, according to a Bloomberg report. The inquiry is in early stages, and it’s uncertain whether an enforcement action will follow.

Last month, Apple admitted that software updates were responsible for slowing down iPhone 6 and newer devices, explaining that iOS would quietly reduce processor performance to keep pace with the diminished power output of aging batteries. The admission was met with widespread fury from customers, manifesting as dozens of class action lawsuits and multiple investigations by foreign governments, which could lead to large civil judgments, fines, and other penalties.

Inquiries by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission could focus on whether Apple either failed to disclose a material fact to investors in a timely fashion or enabled insiders such as executives to engage in beneficial stock trades using advance knowledge of non-public information. The window for non-disclosure could be large: Apple updated iOS in early 2017 with code that slowed down certain iPhones, but didn’t fully disclose the performance compromises until third-party reports spotlighted the issues in December. Bloomberg updated its original report to note that “[i]nvestigators are looking into public statements made by Apple,” and “are concerned that the company may have misled investors about the performance of older phones.”

Apple’s stock has skyrocketed in value over the past decade, reflecting the American computer maker’s evolution into a leading global vendor of consumer electronics and related services, while making key Apple executives into multi-millionaires. Prior to the announcement of U.S. investigations today, reports of disappointing iPhone X sales helped drive the stock down to three-month lows in the lead-up to its February 1 release of first quarter earnings.

Apple – VentureBeat

Korean prosecutors launch formal investigation of Apple’s iPhone slowdown ‘feature’

iPhone Slowdown Investigation

South Korea is just one of the countries where the practice of slowing down iPhones with old batteries has earned Apple special attention from governmental agencies or consumer rights groups — the list also includes Brazil, China, France, Italy, and the US.

But in Korea, prosecutors just took the whole thing to a new level, announcing a formal investigation of Apple’s alleged planned obsolescence practices.

For years, Apple had to dispel rumors that it slows down older iPhones so that existing customers upgrade to the newest models. But late last year an iPhone user actually proved that Apple was throttling the speed of his iPhone, and it was all related to battery wear. He discovered that iPhone benchmarks returned to normal levels after replacing the aging battery.

Soon after that, Apple confirmed that the slowdown is a feature introduced in iOS via an update in early 2017 that was supposed to fix unexpected iPhone shutdowns and reboots. Apple apologized, introduced a cheaper battery replacement program, and revealed that a future iOS 11 release would give the user the ability to toggle iPhone slowdowns, as well as keep tabs on the health of the battery.

But all these measures won’t make its legal problems go away. In Korea, the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office said it formally assigned the case to the intellectual property crime unit, The Korea Herald reports.

A day earlier, the Citizens United for Consumer Sovereignty (CUCS), a civic group in Seoul, filed a complaint with prosecutors against Apple CEO Tim Cook and Apple Korea chief Daniel Dicicco:

CUCS has said that the deliberate deterioration of older iPhones through software updates is a scam aimed at boosting sales of new models. It claimed that the US smartphone maker should be charged with fraud, property damage and obstruction of business by digital devices.

Yeah, things aren’t looking good for Apple, at least from a PR perspective.

The group also filed a compensation suit against Apple, seeking an award of approximately $ 2,000 per plaintiff.

Apple – BGR

Apple Sued Over Meltdown and Spectre in U.S. as iPhone Slowdown Lawsuits Now Total 45

Apple faces its first legal action over Meltdown and Spectre in the United States, even though the vulnerabilities were found to affect nearly all computers and other devices, according to court documents reviewed by MacRumors.

Meltdown and Spectre are serious hardware-based vulnerabilities that take advantage of the speculative execution mechanism of a CPU, allowing hackers to gain access to sensitive information. All modern Intel, ARM, AMD, and Nvidia processors are affected, with many patches and mitigations already released.

Anthony Bartling and Jacqueline Olson filed a class action complaint against Apple last week in a U.S. district court in San Jose on behalf of anyone who purchased a device with an ARM-based processor designed by Apple, ranging from the A4 to A11 Bionic chips used in iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV models.

The complaint alleges that Apple has known about the design defects giving rise to the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities since at least June 2017, and could have disclosed details to the public more promptly.

An excerpt from the complaint:

ARM Holdings PLC, the company that licenses the ARM architecture to Apple, admits that it was notified of the Security Vulnerabilities in June 2017 by Google’s Project Zero and that it immediately notified its architecture licensees (presumably, including Apple) who create their own processor designs of the Security Vulnerabilities.

The complaint added that it is unlikely Apple would be able to fully and adequately release fixes for Meltdown and Spectre without the performance of its processors decreasing by between five and 30 percent.

Apple addressed Meltdown in macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 and iOS 11.2, while Spectre mitigations were introduced in a macOS 10.13.2 supplemental update and iOS 11.2.2, both of which were released early last week. The vulnerabilities have also been addressed in older versions of macOS and OS X.

Despite one dubious claim that Apple’s patch for Spectre resulted in a significant performance decrease on one developer’s iPhone 6, Apple said its testing indicated that its mitigations had no measurable impact on its Speedometer and ARES-6 tests and an impact of less than 2.5 percent on the JetStream benchmark.

The complaint expects at least 100 customers to be part of the proposed class, with the combined sum of compensatory and punitive damages expected to exceed $5 million if the case proceeds to trial.

A group of Israelis have filed a request with the Haifa District Court to file a class action lawsuit against Apple, Intel, and ARM over Meltdown and Spectre as well, according to local news publication Hamodia.

iPhone Slowdown Lawsuits Continue to Mount

Apple continues to face an increasing number of lawsuits that either accuse the company of intentionally slowing down older iPhones, or at least of failing to disclose power management changes it made starting in iOS 10.2.1.

In the United States, the iPhone maker now faces at least 39 class action complaints as of January 15, according to court documents compiled by MacRumors. Additional lawsuits have been filed in France, Israel, Russia, Korea, and Vietnam, with another pending in Canada, bringing the total to 45.

Many of the lawsuits demand Apple compensate all iPhone users who have experienced slowdowns, offer free battery replacements, refund customers who purchased brand new iPhones to regain maximum performance, and as Apple has already promised, add more detailed info to iOS about a device’s battery health.

We’ve already answered many frequently asked questions about Apple’s power management process, and covered the issue extensively, so read our past coverage for more information about the matter.

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