Apple has agreed to pay Chilean consumers $3.4 million (roughly Rs. 25 crores) in a lawsuit over programmed obsolescence of iPhone handsets, their lawyer said, the first such settlement in Latin America.
Apple is accused of having programmed a limited lifespan into some products to force users to replace their phones sooner than necessary, and has previously settled similar cases in the United States and Europe.
In Chile, some 150,000 users of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, and SE sued the US company, claiming their smartphones started underperforming after software updates programmed by Apple before December 21, 2017.
The agreement provides for a registration period for affected clients, who will have to provide proof of their devices’ reduced performance, a lawyer for the Odecu consumer body, Juan Sebastian Reyes, told a virtual press conference.
Each client stands to get maximum compensation of $50 (roughly Rs. 3,700), which is to be shared if there are more than one claim per serial number, as in the case of second-hand phones.
In December 2017, Apple admitted iOS software was tweaked to slow performance of older iPhone models whose battery life was deteriorating.
An outcry forced Apple to upgrade its software and offer steep discounts on battery replacements.
In March 2020, Apple agreed to pay up to $500 million (roughly Rs. 3,700 crores) to settle a class-action lawsuit over slowed iPhone devices in the United States, followed in November by another $113 million (roughly Rs. 840 crores) to settle litigation with more than 30 US states over the same issue.
The company has also settled a case with France’s consumer watchdog for EUR 25 million (roughly Rs. 220 crores) for failing to tell iPhone users that software updates could slow older devices.
Italy, for its part, has fined Apple and Samsung EUR 10 million (roughly Rs. 90 crores) and EUR five million (roughly Rs. 40 crores) respectively for planned smartphone obsolescence.
What is the best phone under Rs. 15,000 in India right now? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Later (starting at 27:54), we speak to OK Computer creators Neil Pagedar and Pooja Shetty. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.