Apple responded to claims late last year that it was slowing down iPhones on purpose to get customers to buy newer models. It was accused of sending out updates that throttled the processor which resulted in a decline in performance. Apple acknowledged that it was doing that but for entirely different reasons. Nevertheless, it got hit by lawsuits and investigations by consumer protection bodies. One such consumer watchdog in Italy has now fined the company for this practice which is also called planned obsolescence.
Apple explained back then that it did this so that devices with older, degraded batteries could be prevented from shutting down accidentally. That can happen when there’s spike in the power requirement after the processor comes under heavy load. Sometimes, these batteries can’t handle that spike and the device shuts down abruptly.
The company said that the devices were throttled by this functionality when needed to prevent unexpected shutdowns during a spike. It extended an olive branch by enabling users to turn this off through a later update.
That hasn’t appeased Italy’s watchdog which has fined Apple 10 million euros or over $11 million for “accelerating the process of replacing” devices by sending updates that “caused serious dysfunctions and reduced performance significantly.” Samsung had denied using updates to limit the CPU performance on its devices but it has been fined 5 million euros as well by the watchdog for the same reason. Apple was also fined for not providing users with clear information about how to maintain and eventually replace the batteries on their smartphones.
The companies have not yet commented on this.