Apple slowing down iPhone: planned obsolescence or improvement of users’ experience ?
Apple has been the subject of much criticism after users suffered from many slowdowns on their phones since the last update.
By changing his phone’s battery, a user discovered that the performance of his iPhone was increased. His phone was subject to slowness after the installation of the latest iOS update (10.2.1). Indeed, this update sets up a new performance management profile. If the battery shows signs of weakness due to wear and the phone requests a peak performance, this new behavior will affect the microprocessor’s frequency on older iPhone models (6, 6s, SE, 7). The latest iOS11 update made this drop of performance even more noticeable.
Many users accused Apple of planned obsolescence because this update was made without any communication or asking users for feedback. The issue can be fixed by simply replacing the battery. However, the crux of the matter lies in the fact that many users will change their phone instead of their battery due to a lack of communication.
At the end of December 2017, Apple acknowledged that they were slowing down older iPhones and stated that by cooling microprocessors, they wanted to improve user experience by avoiding possible battery wear which may lead to unexpected shutdowns.
To solve the problem, they proposed to replace old iPhones batteries cheaply (from 79 dollars to 29). In an interview, Apple CEO Tim Cook promised to let the users the choice to control whether or not they want to automatically slow down their iPhones.
Despite these solutions, many users went to court in the United States and filed a complaint in many states (California, Illinois, New York, etc.). This mobilization will be transformed into a class action. If it is successful, Apple may have to pay indemnity for millions of American users.