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Apple Blasts Accusations It’s Degrading iPhone User Experience

January 31, 2018, 4:42 PM UTC

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.

In a response to the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launching investigations into a software update that throttled iPhones, Apple on Wednesday said that it hasn’t intentionally degraded the iPhone user experience to get owners to buy new handsets. Apple added in a statement obtained by CNBC that it wants to ensure “iPhones last as long as possible.”

“As we told our customers in December, 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,” the company wrote, according to CNBC.

Bloomberg on Tuesday reported that the Justice Department and SEC are investigating whether Apple violated securities laws for not initially disclosing details about a software update that throttled iPhones. The software update turned down an iPhone’s processor performance when its battery would begin to malfunction. The feature stopped iPhones from spontaneously shutting down, but also degraded app performance.

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Apple acknowledged that it had released a software update with the feature last year and said that the solution would address flaws in batteries that had become old and didn’t operate to their full capacity. Apple also discounted the price on a battery replacement to $29, a $50 savings.

Although critics have said that Apple’s move could be viewed as an attempt by the company to get users to upgrade to new iPhones, Apple said it was part of its broader commitment to deliver to users a better iPhone experience. Apple has subsequently said that a future software update will allow users to turn off the feature that throttles the iPhone’s performance when the battery malfunctions.

“About a year ago, we delivered a software update that improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on certain iPhones with older batteries,” Apple said in its retort to the investigations on Wednesday. “We know that iPhones have become an important part of the daily lives of our customers and our intention was to improve the customer experience.”