In what may be one of the most shocking company admissions in recent memory, Apple has admitted what countless iPhone owners have believed for years: Apple intentionally slowed older phones.
Some are arguing the action was taken to encourage customers to upgrade their phones. However, Apple advanced an alternate explanation. According to the company, the “real” reason they did this was to slow the performance of older handsets with potential battery issues that may cause them to shut off suddenly.
The statement came after a wave of customer complaints related to updates. IPhone owners were complaining that, after updates, their phones would slow or not work as well. As more people complained, a groundswell of frustration exploded across the internet and social media. As more and more complaints surfaced, tech analysts and tech industry media began looking into the issue. As it turned out, it wasn’t just customers’ imaginations. Older phones did seem to be running slower after the updates. This confirmation caused millions of frustrated iPhone owners to declare this was simply Apple’s way of “forcing” customers to upgrade. Apple vehemently denied this, saying they were just looking out for customers. According to Apple, their old phone’s lithium-ion batteries can wear out over time, causing phones to shut down without warning as a way to protect the phone itself.
In a follow-up statement specifically geared toward the iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, iPhone SE and iPhone 7, Apple said the shifts were meant to “smooth out” demands for peak power. The benefit, according to Apple, was increased battery life and avoiding any “surprise” shutdowns. Speaking to CNN, Doron Myersdorf, CEO of StoreDot, said “smoothing out” means that phones will “reorder incoming commands so that not all are done in parallel… The inevitable outcome of it will be an inherent slowdown of response times by the system…”
In other words, the system does seem to be set up that way. Apple continued to defend its position despite the growing outcry: “Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices…”
Judging by consumer response, very few people are buying that argument. Most firmly side with those who believe the action is a ploy to get customers to upgrade. That may not be a fair assessment. Apple may, indeed, be acting in the interest of the customer … but it’s not likely that the general public will buy their story. The idea – the narrative – that Apple is trying to manipulate its customer base is just too juicy to put down. It smacks of controversy… So, of course, countless people are on record as saying they plan to switch over to Apple’s biggest rival, Samsung, as soon as possible. Empty threats? Time will tell.