They say a king is nothing without his people. A tree, nothing, without its roots. A product, nothing, without its consumers. So what happens when a smartphone manufacturer gets slapped with a class action lawsuit filed by the very people who used to preach their excellence?
More than a hundred infuriated iPhone 4s owners have filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming USD5 million (around RM21.5 million) in damages, accusing them of significantly slowing down their devices with the new iOS 9 update. The lawsuit was filed with a New York district court, though no hearings have been set at this time.
According to plaintiff Chiam Lerman and several others, the new update slowed the device down so much that it interfered with day-to-day usage.
It seems that after upgrading, both first and third-party applications exhibited delayed launch times, slow response to touchscreen input and other problems. Overall performance was also affected by freezes and crash events.
They also accuse Apple of engaging in deceptive trade practices and false advertising by proclaiming that the update is compatible with legacy smartphones dating back to the iPhone 4s models. The lawsuit also claims that Apple were well aware of iOS 9’s negative impacts on the iPhone 4s but went ahead with the marketing campaign anyway.
The campaign advertised faster performance, enhanced security, longer battery life among other enticing features. To make matters worse, the company’s advertisements, website, and iOS page did not have any warning of potential compatibility issues for older devices.
Apparently the complaint went after Apple’s iOS system itself, because when faced with a sluggish and slow device, it is more likely that the average Apple user would upgrade to a new iOS product instead of branching out. The reason being that transferring information across devices within the same ecosystem is much easier. Plus there is also the familiarity factor.
It isn’t too surprising that a new iOS update would slow down older devices because each new update is designed to take advantage of the hardware from the recent models. This includes a host of new features and improvements that an older device may not have even dreamt was possible, much less have support for it.
Apple has been in this situation before, back in 2011, where plaintiffs complained that iOS 4 turned their iPhone 3G into “iBricks”. That case was tossed out a year later and it seems likely that this lawsuit will suffer the same fate.
One of the main arguments in the iOS vs Android war was that Apple always pushed new updates, even to old devices such as the iPhone 4s while Android devices have a realistic lifespan of 2 years. After 2 years, it is very unlikely that your Android device would be getting any updates from its manufacturer.
Apple fans argued that this was because Android was so fragmented, with so many different manufacturers making so many different versions of the Android OS. iOS isn’t the same because everything was unified under one banner.
That said, there is an exception to this Android dilemma: The Nexus devices. Nexus smartphones tend to receive OS updates much quicker and for longer than most other devices. But unlike what’s happening to these unfortunate iPhone 4s users, each Android update usually improves the performance of older devices due to improved optimisation of the OS.
This brings Apple users to what looks like a difficult decision. Do you update your OS to get new features and better security at the risk of sluggish performance? Or do you stick to what already works and brave potential security risks? Let us know in the comments below.
If you’re as frustrated as these users and think Apple does this on purpose so that people will be forced to buy a new iPhone, don’t hesitate to drop your opinion in the comment box too!