US OFFICIALS have become the latest to quiz Apple over its decision to throttle the performance of older iPhone models with degraded batteries.
Senator John Thune, a Republican who chairs the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, sent a letter on 9 January asking Apple CEO Tim Cook to clarify whether "the large volume of consumer criticism levelled against the company in light of its admission suggests that there should have been better transparency."
The letter, seen by Reuters, also asks Apple to whether it had considered issuing free battery replacements to those affected, and whether the company had notified consumers of the throttling feature included in its software updates and or offered them the option to opt-out.
Thune's questioning comes just days after French regulators launched an investigation into Apple's "deliberate" slowing down of older iPhones. Under French law, it is a crime to intentionally shorten the lifespan of a product with the aim of making customers replace it.
French pro-consumer group Stop Planned Obsolescence (HOP) filed a complaint against the firm, alleging that Apple "deliberately" slowed down some iPhone models through a software update, and claims it did so to coincide with the release of the newer iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
"The slowing down of older devices seems to have the deliberate aim of pushing Apple customers towards purchasing the new model," the group said.
This complaint has lead to French consumer fraud watchdog DGCCRF opening a preliminary investigation into the US tech giant.
Apple, naturally, hasn't commented on either grilling, but last month "apologised" for its handling of the throttling issue.
"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 firm said at the time. "Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.
The firm, at the time, also Apple also reduced the price of out-of-warranty battery replacements for iPhones, slashing the cost in the UK from £79 to £25. µ
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