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article imageSenator asks Apple for more explanation of old iPhone slowdowns

By James Walker     Jan 11, 2018 in Technology
A U.S. senator has sent an open letter to Apple asking for information about the company's use of processor throttling on older iPhones. Senator John Thune questioned Apple's decisions and the company's new discounted battery replacement program.
Consumer criticism
Apple admitted to slowing down the processors of older iPhones last month. The company explained that it throttled devices with aging batteries to prevent the handset from unexpectedly shutting down.
Apple has faced widespread criticism from customers unhappy they weren't informed of the slowdowns or given a choice. It's also faced allegations that the slowdowns were designed to encourage sales of new iPhones.
As reported by Reuters, Thune is concerned about Apple's response to the issue. In a letter sent to Apple CEO Tim Cook this week, Thune told Apple that it should have offered "better transparency" into the cause of the slowdowns. He noted there has been a "large volume of consumer criticism leveled against the company," suggesting it failed to act in a way most customers would expect it to.
Apple has lowered the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement from $79 to $29. This is designed to make battery replacements more accessible for people who now believe their device is being slowed down. Thune noted this decision has raised further controversy amongst customers, with many believing Apple should have offered free replacements to affected users. Thune asked Apple to explain its decision-making process in determining the new $29 price.
Planned obsolescence
The slowdowns have resulted in Apple facing multiple allegations of planned obsolescence. Class action lawsuits in the U.S. are already proceeding against the company. French prosecutors have also launched an investigation into the firm's actions, alleging it is "deliberately" limiting the lifespan of its products in an attempt to increase customer upgrade rates.
Thune also asked Apple to comment on the claims it engages in planned obsolescence. He wants to know whether iPhones older than the iPhone 6 are being slowed down and whether future devices will be subject to the treatment.
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Apple has denied the allegations and insisted the throttling was intended to improve the customer experience. In a letter to customers posted on its website, the company apologised for not communicating its decisions.
"We've been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process," Apple said. "We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that."
This issue doesn't seem to be going away though and Apple might have a lot more explaining to do yet. Thune has requested Apple respond to his concerns by January 23.
More about Apple, iPhone, Devices, Mobile, planned obsolescence