The Shanghai Consumer Council has requested that Apple provide a full explanation for the slowdown of older iPhone models.
TechCrunch reports that the Shanghai Consumer Council has issued a letter to tech giant Apple requesting that the company explain their decision to purposefully slow down older iPhone models and how they plan to remedy the situation for iPhone users that were affected by Apple’s decision. The council gave Apple until Friday to respond to their letter. The council was pushed to contact Apple over the alleged planned obsolescence by the fact in 2017 they received approximately 2,615 complaints from consumers about Apple products, a huge jump in complaints from 2015 when the council only received 964 complaints.
China is not the only country to investigate Apple over claims of planned obsolescence, the French government has begun investigating Apple on the same issue. If Apple is found to have purposefully slowed down older models, they could face harsh penalties in France as, under French law, it’s illegal to intentionally shorten the lifespan of products in order to make customers purchase newer models as replacements. Apple admitted in December that software updates to older iPhone models did cause a degradation in performance, but the company insisted that this was due to the phone’s battery performance diminishing over time.
In a statement on the degraded performance of older model iPhones, Apple said, “Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands… as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.” They continued to say that the update was done “to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed.” Apple temporarily cut the price they charge to replace older model iPhone batteries by two thirds and promised to be more transparent about updates in the future in an attempt to appease consumers upset that their phones had been purposefully slowed down.
U.S. Republican Senator John Thune also wrote to the company recently with his own concerns about the slowdown of the phones. Thune called for further transparency from tech companies in his letter writing, “However, even if Apple’s actions were indeed only intended to avoid unexpected shutdowns on older phones, the large volume of consumer criticism leveled against the company in light of its admission suggests that there should have been better transparency with respect to these practices.”