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Apple has been hit with a class-action lawsuit in Quebec alleging that the lithium-ion batteries in its products don’t last a “reasonable” amount of time.
The lawsuit, which was recently approved by Quebec’s Supreme Court, alleges that Apple has violated the province’s Consumer Protection Act. It draws on the idea that Apple uses planned obsolescence to get users to buy new devices.
More specifically, it claims that the Cupertino tech giant was dishonest with Quebec residents who bought Apple products with a rechargeable battery since Dev. 29, 2014 and Quebecers who purchased AppleCare or AppleCare+ coverage since Dec. 20, 2015.
The filers of the lawsuit first petitioned a claim after Apple admitted that it slowed down devices with aging batteries to prevent random shutdowns. In fact, one of the plaintiffs mentioned in the case even claims that their iPhone 5 became “completely useless” after a software update.
Plaintiffs also allege that Apple wasn’t clear on the legal details of AppleCare extended warranties — arguing that its additional coverage isn’t worth the price.
It isn’t clear what the filers mean by a “reasonable” amount of time. All lithium-ion batteries, by their very nature, will degrade over time. This can affect battery life and performance in the long-term.
Because of that, batteries are typically classed as consumables and aren’t included in many consumer protection acts.
Apple did objectively screw up its implementation of performance throttling back in iOS 10.2.1 — but only because it wasn’t very clear on the details of the feature.
On the other hand, as we’ve covered before, there’s no planned obsolescence involved here. The company introduced performance throttling to prevent random shutdowns on older devices — a normally unavoidable symptom of degrading lithium-ion batteries.
How This Affects You
If you live in Quebec and you’ve bought an Apple product or AppleCare coverage, you may be eligible for up to $300 in compensation (depending on the verdict).
All other Apple users won’t be impacted by the lawsuit. But it does illustrate how the idea of planned obsolescence in Apple’s products just won’t die, even if it is mostly a myth.