Apple faced fresh scrutiny in the US and France over an admission it deliberately slowed down the performance of older iPhones, as the controversy refuses to die down.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Senator John Thune, chairman of the US Senate Commerce Committee, is seeking answers from Apple CEO Tim Cook on how the company came to a decision to implement a power management feature which slows older iPhones in order to extend battery life.
After making the revelation, Apple responded to somewhat of a consumer outcry and pending lawsuits in the US and France by issuing an apology, as well as slashing prices of replacement batteries and promising software updates to give users more information and visibility about battery health in their iPhones.
But, almost a month after the issue was first revealed, there are indications Apple still has a lot to answer for.
In a letter seen by WSJ, Thune reportedly is seeking clarification on how Apple tracked customer complaints regarding processing performance, and whether the company will offer rebates to customers who had already paid full price for a new battery before it announced its discounted rates.
Meanwhile, in France, Apple is being probed by a consumer protection agency which is overseen by the country’s finance ministry, a representative revealed. Prosecutors opened an investigation into Apple for “potential deception and programmed obsolescence”. The consumer group, named Stop Programmed Obsolescence (HOP), alleged Apple tactically pressures customers to buy new phones by issuing software upgrades which cause a drop in the performance of older phones.
In his letter, Thune also highlighted Apple’s proposed battery replacement solution had attracted criticism because the company was not offering free replacements.
WSJ cited a Barclays study which estimated Apple could sell 16 million fewer iPhones in 2018, losing out on $10.29 billion in revenue in the process, because customers would opt to replace batteries instead of their iPhones.