Apple has initiated payments in the long-standing class action lawsuit in the United States, settling allegations that it intentionally slowed down specific iPhone models. The settlement amounts to $500 million, with each complainant receiving around $92. This development stems from a 2020 agreement by Apple to resolve the lawsuit, despite maintaining its denial of any wrongdoing. At that time, the company expressed concerns about the escalating costs associated with prolonged litigation.
The roots of the US case trace back to December 2017 when Apple, confirming a long-held suspicion among iPhone owners, admitted to deliberately slowing down certain models as their batteries aged. Apple argued that this measure was taken to preserve the phones’ lifespan, as aging batteries led to diminished performance.
However, the controversy arose when customers accused Apple of throttling performance without transparently informing them, prompting widespread backlash. In response, Apple offered discounted battery replacements to address the problem, but the ensuing legal action ensued.
Originally estimated to result in minimal payouts, possibly around $25 per person, the actual settlement payout is nearly four times that figure. This financial resolution is now underway, providing compensation to affected consumers. However, Apple maintains that it settled to avoid the costs of ongoing litigation and continues to deny any intentional wrongdoing.
Concurrently, a parallel case in the United Kingdom is seeking a substantial £1.6 billion in compensation from Apple. This case, initiated by Justin Gutmann in June 2022, represents an estimated 24 million iPhone users. In November, Apple’s attempt to block the UK class action lawsuit was unsuccessful. Apple has consistently dismissed the UK lawsuit as “baseless” and affirmed its commitment to never intentionally diminishing the lifespan of its products or degrading user experiences to drive upgrades.
Justin Gutmann, while acknowledging his satisfaction with the US payments, cautioned that it doesn’t influence the UK case. He views the US settlement as a moral victory but emphasizes its limited impact on the ongoing legal proceedings in the UK. Apple, according to Gutmann, is vehemently opposing the UK class action, seeking to halt the case at the Court of Appeal. While the timeline for the UK case remains uncertain, Gutmann hopes for a trial in late 2024 or early 2025, underscoring the challenges associated with pursuing the case within the UK jurisdiction.