In a statement on Wednesday, the company said slowing down the phones via a recent software update was necessary because the aging batteries in older phones were causing devices to unexpectedly shut down.
Understandably, iPhone users were pissed.
Many iPhone users didn’t buy Apple’s excuse.
Some insisted the company was purposely slowing down older phone models as a way of forcing consumers to purchase the newer iPhone models.
Two different class-action lawsuits were filed in California and Illinois on Thursday alleging just that. In a federal suit filed in Chicago, five customers claim Apple is engaging in “deceptive, immoral and unethical” practices in violation of consumer protection laws, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
“Corporations have to realize that people are sophisticated and that when people spend their hard-earned dollars on a product they expect it to perform as expected,” James Vlahakis, the attorney representing the plaintiffs in the Chicago suit, told the Sun Times.
“Instead, Apple appears to have obscured and concealed why older phones were slowing down.”
In the California lawsuit, two law school students at the University of Southern California argue Apple installed the performance-stifling update without the device owner’s permission, the Mercury News reported.
The students, Stefan Bogdanovich and Dakota Speas, also claim Apple “intentionally interfered” with consumers’ iPhones, forcing users to “have to replace iPhones, buy new batteries,” or lose “usage of their phone,” according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by CBS News.
Apple “breached the implied contracts it made with Plaintiffs and Class Members by purposefully slowing down older iPhone models when new models come out and by failing to properly disclose that at the time of that the parties entered into an agreement,” the suit reads.
Apple has not publicly responded to the lawsuits.
While some people have pointed out the company does offer its users a hard-to-find notice that alerts them when their iPhone’s battery needs servicing, many claim the company could have been more transparent about its strategies.
The New York Times’ Niraj Chokshi writes:
[Apple] could have avoided controversy by being more transparent to begin with. It could have notified people that a power management mode was kicking in to keep their iPhones running for longer because their batteries are running out of juice. That would also inform people that they should be getting their batteries replaced. Because Apple was not transparent, it’s natural for people to suspect it of deliberately crippling their devices to get them to buy new ones.