reports and opinions

Why is Apple Slowing Down Our Phones?

By Sam Begg

 

Apple has been fined 500 million dollars (396 Million GBP) after being found guilty and admitted to throttling the performance and battery life of older iPhone models.

 

(illustration of the gradual degradation in performance from Apple products by Mihir Patkar)

 

 When I was 14, I made the transition from a Blackberry to an Apple, the iPhone 5s, and to be quite honest I fell in love with it. The design was so simple yet so innovative and at the time not much could compare. The iPhone 5s came out with IOS 7 and gave the phone such a more premium and simplistic feel to it than the other previous iPhones. It also arguably made many other phone manufacturers follow suit in implementing a fingerprint scanner onto their phone designs, which we still see today on most phones almost 7 years later.

At the time though, I began to realise that my ‘state-of-the-art’ iPhone went from running like a rabbit to walking like a tortoise. I think we can all agree that the phrase “slow and steady wins the race” does not apply to the speed of our mobile phones, especially when at the time I wanted to beat my friends’ Flappy bird high scores.

The battery also seemed to degrade quickly, and it felt as though I’d be lucky to make it through the school day without my phone dying. This was also apparent on Apples later models of the iPhone 6/s, SE and iPhone 7/s. Finally, however, on February 7th, 2020, French regulators had announced a fine of 25 million euros (22.1 Million GBP) for Apple.

Apple was found guilty of capping the performance of older iPhone models without notifying users. To most of us, this would seem like quite a large slap on the wrist for a company like Apple but, in fact, the company makes more profit in just three hours than the 25 million euro fine given. It is fair to say that the executives at apple will not be losing any sleep over such a minuscule fine.

But just slightly over a month later, Apple was spanked by the swift hand of justice with a 500 million dollars (396 Million GBP) fine, and at the very least a minimum pay-out of 310 Million dollars (246 million GBP). It is probably safe to say that this larger fine had at least some impact on the company’s profitability as well as their public image being damaged also. But we, as consumers, also kind of win from this case against Apple as If you had purchased any model of iPhone 6 or 7 from Apple before December 21st, 2017 you would be liable to make of claim of 25$ (19.81 GPB) against Apple.

What’s the catch? It’s for the US only, so the rest of the 96% of the world are ineligible to receive anything from Apple, so tough luck for us then who have probably spent hundreds, if not thousands, on Apple products. It appears there is only one real winner here and that would be the attorneys in the case receiving a 90 million dollars (71.4 Million GBP) paycheck.

So, it’s fair to say that us Apple users have once again lost out, but at least Apple will have more than likely learnt from their mistakes and we don’t have to worry about any of our products in the future being purposely slowed down. Also, with the EU working on a proposal to bring easily replaceable batteries back into phones again the future looks bright for the Mobile market. Hopefully not as bright as the flash from an exploding battery. (Yes, I am looking at you smug Samsung users)

 

 

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