Apple has admitted this week that the Department of Justice is investigating claims of planned obsolescence in older iPhones but stated that they would never”degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.”
CNBC reports that Apple responded this week to reports that the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission were both performing investigations into planned obsolescence of older model iPhones. In a statement, the company said that they would never “degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.” However, it was acknowledged by Apple in December that updates to older iPhone models had caused the devices to slow down, this was allegedly an attempt to preserve the life of the phone’s batteries but many are not convinced and multiple countries have opened investigations into the issue.
In a statement, Apple said a new software update will be issued in Spring that will provide detailed battery reports for older iPhones and give users the option to turn off the automatic updates from Apple that throttle the phone’s performance. The full statement from Apple reads:
About a year ago, we delivered a software update that improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on certain iPhones with older batteries. We know that iPhones have become an important part of the daily lives of our customers and our intention was to improve the customer experience.
We sought to further improve the customer experience in December by announcing a significant discount on replacement batteries for certain iPhones. We also announced that we began developing a new iOS feature to show battery health and which would recommend when the user should consider replacing their battery. These actions were taken to further assist our customers and help extend the life of their iPhones. In addition, users will be able to see if the power management feature is being used to prevent unexpected shutdowns, and turn if off if they so choose. These features will be included in a developer release next month and a user release this Spring.
As we told our customers in December, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love. Making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.
We have received questions from some government agencies and we are responding to them.
France, Israel and the United States are now all investigating Apple over claims of planned obsolescence. Pro-consumer activist group Stop Planned Obsolescence believe that Apple deliberately slows down older iPhone models via software updates and specifically times these updates to take place around the release of newer models such as the iPhone 8 and iPhone X.