Apple is already facing a series of lawsuits over the controversy surrounding it intentionally slowing older iPhones. Now, the Korea Communications Commission (equivalent of the FCC in South Korea) is seeking an explanation regarding the same from the company.
Apple vs. South Korea
According to the Korean Herald, the broadcasting and telecom regulator of the country wants to know why Apple led customers into such a situation.
“We are hoping to get some answers on whether Apple intentionally restricted the performance of old iPhones and tried to hide this from customers,” said the Korea Communications Commission.
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The report from the Korean Herald, however, noted that KCC has “no jurisdiction” over Apple because it is a multinational firm. The agency cannot initiate any official investigation, and the maximum it can do is ask for an explanation. Even though KCC cannot do anything much more than just seeking an explanation, local reports claim that the lawmakers are planning law revisions to regulate overseas tech firms such as Apple, notes Patently Apple.
It appears that authorities in Samsung’s home country hold some sort of grudge against the U.S. firm. Just a month ago (before the launch of the iPhone X), the Korean authorities raided Apple’s offices in the country. Thereafter, it was reported that Korean authorities were grilling Apple with another investigation for allegedly infringing on KAIST processor technology. Further, the Korean tech press was even demanding the recall of the iPhone 8 even before it was made available in South Korea, according to Patently Apple.
Why is Apple slowing older iPhones?
Last week, Apple admitted that it slowed the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, and SE using a software update. Explaining the reason, the U.S. firm said this feature “smooth[ed] out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down.”
Apple said that the lithium-ion batteries, which power the iPhones, become “less capable” in meeting the peak demands “in cold conditions, have a low battery charge, or as they age over time,” and this may result in the handset “unexpectedly shutting down” to protect the electronic parts.
The iPhone owners, however, claim that they upgraded to newer models once their current handset slowed down, after updating to the newer version of the OS. Further, the owners say that had they known that it was the battery that was slowing the handset, they would have replaced the battery instead of buying a new phone altogether.
Faces lawsuits in South Korea
Apple is already facing several class-action lawsuits in the U.S. and Israel after admitting to slowing older iPhones as the batteries get older. Now, it appears the company is facing its first class-action suit in Asia over the issue, according to The Straits Times.
On Thursday, the South Korean law firm Hannuri stated that after recruiting the plaintiffs through its website, it would file a lawsuit against the headquarters of Apple and seek compensation in early February.
“Because Apple made users upgrade their phones without informing them of the side effects, it deceived consumers and violated consumer protection law,” said Cho Gye Chang, an attorney who represents the complainants at Hannuri, according to the Straits Times.