After a couple of years, an iPhone becomes outdated, but they still work, so millions of people keep using them. This must have annoyed the consumer product giant, because apparently the company used software updates to slow down older phones, hoping to entice consumers to either upgrade to newer units or replace expensive batteries.
Apple has now agreed to a class-action settlement that calls for the company to pay at least $310 million, and up to $500 million, to affected consumers.
But before you get excited, the payments are set at $25 per iPhone and can be adjusted up or down depending on how many units are eligible.
Apple denied wrongdoing and settled the nationwide case to avoid the burdens and costs of litigation, court papers show.
Friday’s settlement covers U.S. owners of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7Plus or SE that ran the iOS 10.2.1 or later operating system. It also covers U.S. owners of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus that ran iOS 11.2 or later before Dec. 21, 2017.
Consumers contended that their phones’ performance suffered after they installed Apple software updates. They said this misled them into believing their phones were near the end of their lifecycles, requiring replacements or new batteries.
Apple attributed the problems mainly to temperature changes, high usage and other issues, and said its engineers worked quickly and successfully to address them. Analysts sometimes refer to the slowing of iPhones as “throttling.”
As you probably expect, the lawyers in the case are getting a bit more than $25. They’re seeking $93 million in attorney’s fees, plus $1.5 million in expenses.
Is it possible that next time we ask Apple to skip the consumers and just “throttle” the lawyers?