Apple is currently embroiled in several lawsuits and government probes after admitting that older iPhone models get deliberately throttled after a certain period of usage is reached — which it says is a way for the software to contend with the natural degradation process of lithium-ion batteries.
South Korean Authorities Probe iPhone Slowdown Controversy
A South Korea-based consumer group has filed a complaint against the Cupertino brand, as Reuters reports. According to The Korea Herald, prosecutors have started an investigation into the matter as well, with the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office having assigned the case to an intellectual property crime-related unit.
The complaint from Citizens United for Consumer Sovereignty marks the latest in a series of complaints filed against Apple for its iPhone slowdown controversy. France — worth noting — is presently investigating whether the issue falls into the category of "planned obsolescence," which is illegal there.
The South Korean watchdog suspects both Apple and Samsung of creating a "general commercial policy taking advantage of the lack of certain components to curb the performance times of their products and induce consumers to buy new versions," according to the report.
Apple Should Be Charged With Fraud
Further, the consumer group said that deliberate slowdown of certain iPhone models via software updates is a scam to coax people into buying newer models, which Apple releases each year. The smartphone maker should be charged with fraud, it claimed, alongside property damage and obstruction of business by digital devices.
In addition, the consumer group has also filed a compensation suit against the company and its local headquarters last week, seeking a reward of KRW 2.2 million, or about $2,000 per plaintiff.
On Dec. 20, Apple confessed to deliberately throttling performance of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, and iPhone SE to prevent the smartphones from shutting down abruptly because of battery problems. Most recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that a future iOS update will let users turn off this deliberate slowdown feature.
Of course, the damage has been done, most significantly to Apple's pristine reputation. How this would affect sales of future iPhone models is unclear.
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