Two countries are now investigating Apple over iPhone planned obsolescence

planned obsolescence
Planned obsolescence is a touchy subject for any tech lover. No one likes the idea that their time with their new tech toy is somehow limited — and the concern that a corporation may be pulling strings to make your tech slower and force you to upgrade sooner is one that appeals to conspiracy nuts and normal folks alike. And when it comes to this issue, Apple has usually gotten the worst of it over the years. The Cupertino, California giant was recently forced to admit that yes, tech does exist that slows down older iPhones, but Apple claims it’s for the overall good of the consumer.

It appears that Apple’s explanation isn’t good enough to fly in France, which has begun an investigation of Apple. France has some tough laws against planned obsolescence, with a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment and up to 5 percent of a company’s annual turnover. With a company the size of Apple, that’s likely to be in the billions.

The news comes from French news agency AFP, while the actual investigation stems from a complaint made by the consumer rights group HOP (Halte à l’Obsolescence Programmée). The complaint (the essence of which can be read on HOP’s site, via Google Translate) is clearly not convinced by Apple’s report on the matter, claiming that the timing of the slowdown is too close to the release of the latest iPhone range, and suggesting that there is another issue at play here.

This isn’t the first time that HOP has moved against a company. It previously filed a complaint against the printer manufacturers Epson, HP, Brother, and Canon, accusing them of underhanded tactics that forced consumers to purchase more ink. An investigation has since opened on that matter, as well.

And Apple’s bad news doesn’t stop there — it turns out that the United States Senate is also asking questions of Apple following its confession. Senator John Thune, R-S.D., chair of the Senate commerce committee, seems unsatisfied by Apple’s chosen method of making amends to customers with cut price batteries. According to the Wall Street Journal, a letter from Thune to Apple CEO Tim Cook questioned Apple’s refusal to replace batteries for free, pointing out that “Apple’s proposed solutions have prompted additional criticism from some customers.” Thune has requested a reply from Cook by January 23.

Following the results of the original Geekbench tests that proved that iPhones were being slowed down over time, Apple has extended an olive branch to consumers to attempt to make the situation right. Since the culprit of the slowdown is often reduced battery effectiveness, Apple is offering cut-price battery replacements for older iPhone models, while iPhone 6s owners could receive a replacement battery for free.

Update: Added news that the U.S. is also now investigating Apple.

Mobile

Jury fines Apple $32 million for infringing on three Qualcomm patents

In a serious blow to Apple in its legal battle against Qualcomm, a San Diego jury fined Apple $32 million for infringing on three Qualcomm-owned patents. The decision marks the latest news in a string of court dates for the two companies.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Wearables

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Deals

From Air to Pro, here are the best MacBook deals for March 2019

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.
Mobile

FCC to help first responders pinpoint 911 callers in multistory buildings

When someone calls 911 from their cell phone, wireless carriers provide operators with an approximate location. Now the FCC wants the carriers to provide vertical location data to pinpoint 911 callers inside multi-story buildings.
Mobile

Latest Samsung Galaxy smartphone will pop up on April 10

Samsung will show at least one new Galaxy phone off on April 10, it has confirmed in a teaser tweet. The Galaxy A90 may make its first appearance, and it's rumored to have a pop-up camera and a notch-less screen.
Mobile

Leaked ZTE concept phones are crazy, possibly fake, and totally worth seeing

Renders of what may be ZTE concept phones may show how the manufacturer could avoid using the notch on future devices. They're crazy -- and maybe not even real -- but they're definitely worth looking at.
Mobile

The iPad Mini, Apple’s tiny tablet, makes a return with powerful specs

Apple has finally revealed the iPad Mini. With all-new and upgraded specs, support for the Apple Pencil, and a fantastically inclusive price, here's everything you need to know about the iPad Mini.
Mobile

The Apple iPad Air is the power-packed tablet for everyone

The iPad Air is the less serious cousin to Apple's iPad Pro range, and it's the perfect addition to your coffee table. But it's no less powerful. Here's everything you need to know about the iPad Air.
Mobile

Get excited for your Sony Xperia 10 or 10 Plus by getting it set up just right

If you've picked up one of the Sony's more affordable smartphones, you may be be wondering what hidden depths lie within. We've got some handy Sony Xperia 10 tips for you here to help you get to grips with your new phone.
Deals

This is the one thing you need to do before giving your child a smart phone or tablet

Monitoring your kids' digital habits can be a challenge in today’s high-tech age, but great parental control software like Qustodio gives parents a much-needed advantage Read on to find out how you can protect your child from online…
Mobile

How to choose an iPad in 2019: A practical guide to Apple’s tablets

Selecting an iPad from Apple's lineup can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Our comprehensive guide should put the numbers and specs in practical, easy-to-understand terms. Find your ideal iPad with the help of our guide.
Mobile

These voice-changing apps will have you punking friends and family like a pro

Have you ever wanted to call your friends as Darth Vader or Alvin from the Chipmunks? If you want to play a prank on your friends, we have the best voice-changer apps for iOS and Android, whether you want to record audio or make a call.
Mobile

Apple’s new iPads are hardly new at all. Don’t waste your money

It has taken Apple four years to get around to updating the iPad Mini line, but the new iPad Mini is virtually identical to its predecessor. It’s joined by a confusing iPad Air with no obvious target audience. Is Apple just trying to sell…