The group sues Apple for planned iPhone obsolescence

On Monday, the Italian consumer association Altroconsumo, part of the international Euroconsumers group, launched a massive collective action against Apple. He claims the company is engaged in planned obsolescence with its iPhones.

Specifically, the suit targets the iPhone 6 and 6s generation of devices. Between 2014 and 2020, Apple sold about 1 million of these iPhones in Italy alone.

These iPhones were impacted by the “Batterygate” slowdown, in which Apple used a software update to slow down the phones’ performance.

Slowing down iPhones was done to conserve battery life and avoid crashes. However, it is also linked to complaints about alleged planned obsolescence. This is the idea that some products are designed to intentionally fail after a while. This prompts customers to have to replace them early, as they no longer function efficiently.

“Planned obsolescence is a deliberate malpractice of consumers that causes frustration and financial damage,” Els Bruggerman, the group’s policy and enforcement officer, told Cult of Mac. “In November 2020, Apple announced that it would pay $ 113 million to resolve allegations of slowing iPhones to mask battery problems. The deal clearly demonstrates that Apple has resorted to planned obsolescence as a deliberate attempt to increase phone renewal, hide problems and deceive consumers. “


The entire battery gate debacle is proving to be a costly misjudgment for Apple. In 2017, Apple admitted that it slowed down older iPhone models to prevent them from crashing. While this is a demonstrable glitch, Apple has been criticized for no longer being open about it. In 2018, Apple finally released an iOS update that put an end to the automatic throttling of these older phones. While users can use this recommended feature, it is no longer required.

Since then, Apple has been fighting the legality of this problem around the world. At the end of 2020, Apple agreed to pay $ 113 million, spread across 30 U.S. states, to finish investigating the matter. However, as this last case shows, this is a topic that is not going away anytime soon.

Trashed too quickly

Bruggerman stated that Altroconsumo started working on this area of ​​planned obsolescence in 2017. That year he launched a platform called Trop Vite Usé (translation: Trashed Too Fast). This allowed consumers to report products that wore out too quickly. Smartphones are, Bruggerman noted, “by far” the most registered product. “It shows that consumers are just expecting their smartphones to last much longer,” he said.

Euroconsumers is pursuing similar lawsuits in Belgium, Spain and, soon, also in Portugal. “The lawsuits are demanding compensation, on average, of at least 60 euros for each affected consumer,” said Bruggerman.

The preliminary hearing of the court of Altroconsumo against Apple takes place on July 26, 2021.


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