Apple iPhone: Apple has landed in fresh trouble as Spain Consumer Protection Organisation (OCU in Spanish) has written to the tech giant, complaining on behalf of the users that it is slowing down several of its iPhone models – 12, 11, XS and 8 – with the launch of its recent iOS updates viz iOS 14.5, 14.5.1 and 14.6. The company could be staring at another incoming lawsuit, since as per local reports the OCU has told Cupertino to come up with a way to compensate the affected users for slowing down their phones. It added that if the response from the iPhone maker is not found satisfactory, it would take the matter to court.
The statement was co-written by Deco Proteste, Test-Achats and Altroconsumo. Deco Proteste in Portugal had earlier this year alleged that Apple was undertaking planned obsolescence, and had written in a statement that Cupertino sought to manipulate the users of iPhone. It wrote that Apple had not informed users and slowed down the performance of its popular devices iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S and 6S Plus, forcing users to either get the battery replaced or to buy a new smartphone altogether.
However, while Apple has seen such allegations of slowing down its older devices in the past, for which it has also been fined last year, this time the allegations include slowing down of the latest iPhone, which does not seem to make a lot of sense. This could mean that either the update is faulty and is adversely affecting the performance of these phones. But, it could also mean that with the new iPhone lineup around the corner, Cupertino is trying to get users to switch to the new models by creating issues with its previous models, including iPhones 12 and 11.
The lawsuit could be an issue for Apple, since it has already been involved in a legal battle with Fortnite developer Epic Games over alleged abuse of dominant position for forcing developers to charge for in-app updates using App Store’s payment gateway and charging a 30% commission on it. Another lawsuit in the same year could be a significant blow to Cupertino, especially considering the fact that its entire defence in the Epic Games lawsuit is based on maintaining the security of iPhones so that its users do not have to face any virus attacks. Not only that, but in the entire controversy with Facebook for the latter’s targeted ad model that Cupertino has hindered with its iOS 14.5 update also, the iPhone maker has been taking a jibe at the social media giant for compromising user’s security. Whenever Facebook hit back at Apple saying that it was working in favour of small businesses, Apple retaliated by saying that it was standing up for its users.
Apple has cited safety of users as its defence for most of its controversial practices, but a lawsuit for this, especially so soon after Cupertino was fined for this practice earlier, could really be an issue. While the tech giant has now incorporated mechanisms like Battery Health indicator and is also looking at allowing users to choose whether they wish to upgrade to iOS 15 or stay with iOS 14 with only getting the security patches starting later this year, it is unclear whether that would be enough to protect Cupertino from the damages if such a lawsuit were to be filed again.
However, what happens next depends on Apple’s response to the letter.