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

Posted February 02, 2018

Apple also faces a slew of lawsuits in the U.S. and Russian Federation that allege the company aimed to encourage sales of newer models by letting consumers think their slowing handsets needed replacing, rather than just the battery.

Apple said in a statement on Wednesday that it was responding to government agencies asking questions about a 2017 iPhone software update that slowed down older phones.

The Cupertino, California-based Apple has been struggling with some other software-related problems, including vulnerabilities of processor that have affected other technology companies and a faulty login that expose files on Mac accessible to intruders even without a passcode.

A perceived lack of exciting new technologies in the iPhone X has also hindered sales, despite Apple introducing a facial recognition technology called Face ID which enables users to unlock their phones by looking at the screen.

Set to roll out in the spring, the iOS update will also enable users to turn off the dynamic power management feature, which was introduced in 2016 to prevent older devices from unexpectedly shutting down.

Apple's statement comes amid reports that the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have asked Apple for more information about the software update from last January.

Apple sold a record 22.39 million smartphones in the U.S. in the holiday season previous year, increasing its market share from 37 per cent to 44 per cent - the highest ever for Apple on home turf, a new report said on Wednesday. They claim that they were tricked by the company into believing their phones were close to the end of their life cycle, which forced them to buy new phones or pay up to $80 for a replacement battery.

Demand for Apple's flagship handset, the iPhone X, hasn't met the most optimistic expectations, according to investment research firm Sanford C. Bernstein, the Star reported. Many consumers, however, remain convinced that the company torpedoed the older iPhones to prod them to upgrade to the latest - and more expensive - models released in last fall. In a statement Wednesday, Apple confirmed receiving government inquiries, but did not specify from which agencies.

When reached by ZDNet, the SEC and DOJ both declined to comment. In short, the company had implemented a method to limit random shutdowns and restarts by throttling performance starting with iOS 10.2.1.

Apple has fought back against allegations from critics who said the company's recent iPhone throttling was an attempt at forcing customers to upgrade to new iPhones. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love.

This means that it will save customers a trip to the Apple Store only to find out that batteries aren't in stock.