If It’s Not a Slow iPhone, It’s Not an iPhone


If It’s Not a Slow iPhone, It’s Not an iPhone

Illustration: Sushant Ahire

The internet justice warriors over at Reddit have been pointing out for the last couple of weeks that Apple is intentionally slowing down older iPhones with consecutive updates. And, unlike other theories floating around Reddit, this one was no conspiracy. To everyone’s surprise, the tech giant came out with a statement yesterday and admitted to doing exactly that.

In typical Apple fashion, they rolled it out as a “feature” that Apple users should be celebrating because it was “aimed at extending the steady life of an iPhone”, and totally not an attempt to get people to buy a new iPhone every couple of years.

Their exact statement makes it sound like they’ve just invented the telephone: “Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions… (we) plan to add support for other products in the future.”

In plain-speak, however, Apple is saying it intentionally released an update to reduce the speed of your iPhone, which occurs due to ageing batteries, instead of just fixing the bug with the batteries or making better batteries. Also, as a side note, they waited a whole year before they told us about this stunning “feature”, second only to “take the headphone jack off that shit”.

This is pretty fucked up in a multitude of ways.

Apple, it seems, is cajoling customers into buying phones, under the guise of selling “features”.

The “feature” is pushed with big iOS updates, which all iPhone users know come with new iPhones. Most people change their phones every couple of years, at which point the phone has gone through two of these updates, making it unbearably slow, forcing the user to buy the newest iPhone, which costs a little more than my kidney. I’m presuming many other people have witnessed this “let’s buy new iPhone because old one is slow” phenomenon first-hand.

“Planned obsolescence” has been a hotly debated topic over the last year, and this latest admission, is likely to add to it, even as Apple attempts damage control with this PR twist.

If the issue, as Apple claims, is because decaying battery causes random shutdowns of an iPhone, then why not issue cheaper replacements to renew system performance?

An iPhone battery, depending on the model costs upward of ₹8,000 in India, meaning that for optimal performance, customers have to spend as much as a new Micromax phone to fix their existing ₹60,000 phone. Apple says the battery can be replaced for free if you have their protection plan. Great! Unfortunately the protection plan costs nearly ₹5,000, so that’s a good idea of what it feels like to be fucked by a multinational company.

If we assume that all of this is a genuine “feature”, why is Apple selling products that are meant to give poor performance over a period of time? And why aren’t they telling their customers, who are expected to drop about a lakh rupees on the iPhone X about this grand idea to intentionally slow down their phones?

I hope the next time they drop an “If it’s not an iPhone, it’s not an iPhone” ad, they add, “It’s a slightly faster phone”. Anything else is basically misleading advertising. This won’t be the first time they’ve done it. Earlier this year, Australia’s consumer watchdog sued Apple for misleading its customers about warranty. But, hey, look, the screen resolution is so pretty!

Apple, it seems, is cajoling customers into buying phones, under the guise of selling “features”. It’s an insult to its customers’ intelligence frankly. At some point smartphone users should get the phones we deserve, because right now they seem to be getting more expensive, and doing worse and worse shit. Remember those exploding Samsungs?