Apple’s admission that it throttled the performance of older iPhones may have come a few months ago, but people certainly aren't willing to forgive and forget. In South Korea, 63,767 iPhone users have lodged a class action lawsuit against the Cupertino company, which, if successful, could end up costing Apple millions of dollars.
Local law firm Hannuri is representing the users and has filed the suit—the largest in the country’s history—with the Seoul Central District Court against Apple and Apple Korea, according to Xinhua news agency.
Hannuri is demanding damages worth 200,000 won ($188) per plaintiff, making a total of 12.75 billion won ($12 million). Not exactly a huge amount for Apple, but it still won't welcome such a payout and the bad publicity it brings. That number could have been much higher: there had originally been 400,000 people looking to join the suit, but the amount fell as people were unable to offer the necessary identification and documents.
Apple insists it rolled out the performance throttling feature in older iPhone generations to prevent unexpected shutdowns caused by conditions including degraded batteries. It tried to placate angry owners by offering replacement batteries for iPhone 6 and newer devices for $29 instead of the usual $79, while iOS 11.3 lets users monitor their batteries and turn off throttling if they so wish. But this hasn’t stopped accusations of planned obsolescence—the practice of encouraging customers to buy the latest products by using software to slow down older models—being thrown at the firm.
Hannuri is quoted as saying that although Apple recognized the underperformance of iPhones via iOS upgrade, it covered up the truth in offering the software to hide faulty batteries, prevent customer secession and promote the sale of new models.
South Korea isn’t the only country where Apple is facing legal action over its throttling actions. A meeting that seeks to combine 59 US lawsuits into one class action takes place today.