Published: Thu, February 01, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Cory Rios

Apple being probed by U.S. agencies over iPhone slowdown

Apple being probed by U.S. agencies over iPhone slowdown

The US Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating whether the smartphone maker violated financial services laws, the two publications said.

While consumers and even foreign governments - French authorities launched an investigation of their own in early January - have cried foul over the company's "planned obsolescence", the U.S. government probe will focus on whether Apple misled investors about the performance of older phones.

The government has requested information from the company, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

"First and foremost, we have never-and would never-do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades", Apple added.

An early 2017 iOS update, iOS 10.2.1, had throttled the performance of the iPhone 7 and older models when the battery would reach a certain level of degradation. In a statement Wednesday, Apple confirmed receiving government inquiries, but did not specify from which agencies. Many investors have grown apprehensive based on reports that Apple's much-anticipated iPhone X has failed to live up to Wall Street sales expectations.

More news: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to present Annual Budget on Thursday

MacRumors previously obtained an internal Apple memo which said iPhone 6 Plus replacement batteries were in short supply and inaccessible until late March or early April around the world.

Design and component challenges were blamed for the delayed launch of the iPhone X, which came out in November instead of Apple's usual September kickoff for new flagship phones.

"We don't confirm or deny investigations", a representative for the Department of Justice said on Tuesday.

In fact, in a research note published last week, well-regarded Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities suggested that Apple could retire the iPhone X this summer in favor of an iPhone X Plus. Problem is, when it rolled out the said update, it didn't fully disclose that the slowdown would occur. This toggle will allow users to switch off a "power management" feature which cuts phone performance. We also announced that we began developing a new iOS feature to show battery health and which would recommend when the user should consider replacing their battery.

After letting the public know they have been releasing software that slows down older phones, the company discounted the prices of batteries worldwide making it cheaper for its customers to swap batteries.

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