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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > Planned obsolescence suit launched against Apple over 4s and iOS 9

Planned obsolescence suit launched against Apple over 4s and iOS 9
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Dec 30, 2015, 11:25 AM
 
A class action suit has been filed on behalf of iPhone 4s owners, claiming that Apple knew that the iOS 9 update would essentially cripple the older phones, and willingly didn't tell users about performance problems. The filing, made in the Eastern District of New York alleges that Apple was engaging in false advertisement by claiming compatibility, and forcing users to choose between an essentially nonfunctional phone, or taking the financial loss of upgrading to a new phone, or the double-impact of switching to Android and losing all of the purchased media and apps compatible with the iOS ecosystem.

The filing claims that the lead complainant, Chaim Lerman updated to iOS 9, and found that the "iPhone was no longer functional for normal use" and "became slow and buggy, with significant usability problems during everyday use." Also noted in the filing is that prior versions of iOS are unavailable, and "Apple does not allow iPhone owners to revert their iOS 9 software to a previous, better functioning version of iOS " without warning to the customer.

Cited also are Apple's advertising claims saying that "Faster performance, improved security, convenient updates, and longer battery life" are expected with the new version of the OS. The complaint alleges that when "When iPhone 4s owners are faced with the dilemma of continuing to use a slow, buggy phone or spend hundreds to buy a new phone, Apple often benefits because consumers will often buy a new iPhone to keep their investment in the App ecosystem. If they buy any other smartphone, they lose the use of all the Apps they purchased and must buy other Apps on the competitor smartphone."

This particular suit mirrors one filed in the US in 2011 that failed in 2012. A San Diego resident, Bianca Wofford, claimed in that case that after installing the iOS 4 upgrade, her 3G and others were turned into "iBricks" that ran incredibly slowly. While such complaints were indeed widespread in online forums and the media, Wofford made the additional assertion that Apple's motive was to push people into buying the iPhone 4, similar to this case.

The judge in that case, Anthony Battaglia, ruled that since iOS 4 was free, it didn't amount to a "sale or lease" under the California Consumer Legal Remedy Act. "Here, the Plaintiffs' original purchase of the iPhone is a separate transaction from their free upgrade of the iPhone's operating system, which occurred about a year later," the judge's order reads. "The iPhone's software upgrade was not intended to result in a 'sale or lease' because it was provided free of charge."

The new filing about the iPhone 4s and iOS 9 claims that there are more than 100 class members, and the damages sought for owners of the four-year old model are more than $5 million dollars, not including interest and costs. Apple is a frequent target of planned obsolesce suits, having faced several before, and so far, prevailed in all of them.

Class action suit over 4s speed with iOS 9

     
davesmall
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Dec 30, 2015, 12:07 PM
 
Talk about a frivolous law suit, this is it. Just a bunch of opportunistic low-life lawyers hoping for an out of court settlement from Apple's deep pockets. A great example of why we need tort reform.
     
Inkling
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Dec 30, 2015, 12:26 PM
 
Having clashed with some nasty IP lawyers in federal court, I'm no fan of tort lawyers, the bottom-feeders of the profession. But I do think that Apple behaves badly with OS X and iOS upgrades. Users whose hardware will be adversely impacted should be clearly warned about the consequences. Apple should also build in an easy, downgrade-to-the-previous OS option that works for at least a month or two after each major release. That option would cost money to develop, but Apple is loaded with cash right now and it would spare a lot of grief for some of its customers—not to mention these lawsuits.
Author of Untangling Tolkien and Chesterton on War and Peace
     
Infinitewill
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Dec 30, 2015, 01:29 PM
 
I concur Inkling! Both my 1st gen iPadMini and my wife's iPad2 are unusable since we upgraded them to iOS9. Safari is brutally slow and with no warning nor ability to downgrade available a once perfectly functioning device(s) is now useless. At least with laptops and desktops you can downgrade, with iOS you only have a short window and then you are screwed.
     
Grendelmon
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Dec 30, 2015, 01:48 PM
 
Allowing to wipe the device and downgrade to any previous version *permanently* would solve all of this. The inability to permanently downgrade is indeed a suspicion of planned obsolescence. Apple's obsession with current adoption rate is the root of that evil.
     
Grendelmon
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Dec 30, 2015, 02:00 PM
 
But I do give Apple kudos for supporting such older devices. Had it required the iPhone 5 or iPad 3, there would be outcry to support the older devices. My wife's iPhone 4S and my own iPad 2 run iOS 9 just fine.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Dec 30, 2015, 02:04 PM
 
Because you CAN do something, does not mean you SHOULD. As advertised, iOS 9 runs on the 4s.

When, ever, in the history of computing, has the lowest end of what CAN run something, run it well? Grendelmon's solution is interesting, but doesn't solve a root problem of Apple being then required to provide modern security support for the older OSes... for how long?
     
Grendelmon
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Dec 30, 2015, 02:12 PM
 
Why would Apple be "forced" to continue providing security support for older versions of iOS? It's the user's discretion to run outdated operating systems. But it should also be the user's choice, and not Apple's.

I still have the installation media for Mac OS 10.5. I can wipe my Mac and install it right now. There are inherent risks, yes. But that's at my discretion. And I have that choice.

With iOS? Not so much.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Dec 30, 2015, 02:33 PM
 
I guess "required" in my paragraph should have been put in quotes. There is no easy way out of this for Apple. If they release the older iOSes, then they get criticized when somebody's data gets stolen, and a lawsuit gets launched.
     
coffeetime
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Dec 30, 2015, 05:05 PM
 
It should be " Faster performance, improved security.....blah blah blah**** "


****Based on our newest unreleased iPhone 7 lab test.
     
bobolicious
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Dec 31, 2015, 07:11 AM
 
...assuming one has a mac & made a manual backup(s) in iTunes to a local drive, is the manual restore feature of itunes a way to wipe & reinstall the original iOS on any device, resyncing with mac data once restored...?

Issues I've noticed so far are stalling contacts searching (4s/iOS9) and AirPlay/WiFi release. Unfortunately I increasingly expect issues with upgrades...

With the rate of development Apple seems determined to maintain since Snow Leopard, and releases seemingly based more on a corporate calendar than features & efficacy, does the mac ecosystem & peripheral (even apple) compatibility become increasingly 'plug & pray'? Are loss of DFA RAID and early airport express support on MacOS but two top of mind related examples...?

Could rapid development policy & performance issues ironically risk & hurt adoption with many existing customers ?
( Last edited by bobolicious; Dec 31, 2015 at 07:28 AM. )
     
   
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