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Feds targeting Apple for investigation over updates that slow older iPhones

January 30, 2018  |  Posted by: Michael Falzarano
Feds targeting Apple for investigation over updates that slow older iPhones

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The United States government has opened an inquiry into whether Apple Inc. violated securities laws by deliberately slowing the performance of older iPhone models.

Sources close to the matter told Bloomberg News that the investigation is believed to be in its early stages and its to soon to determine whether the actions taken by the Justice Department and Securities Exchange Commision will conclude with legal action.

The business news website reported that federal officials have requested information from the technology company.

SEC officials refused to confirm reports of the investigation and an Apple spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

News of the probe caused the DOW to plunge in early afternoon trading on Wall Street with Apple shares falling 1.3 percent to $165.87.

The development also comes amid concerns over weaker-than-expected sales of the iPhone X sales and ahead of Apple’s earnings report due to be released on Thursday.

Last month, the company admitted to deliberately slowing the performance of older iPhones models for longer battery life.

A software update released by Apple in early in 2017 suppressed older models without communicating to the public that the update actually slowed older iPhones.

Devices slow down when the iPhone’s battery power reaches a certain low point of strength and can only be fixed if the older battery is replaced with a newer one.

Additionally, Apple said the iPhone7 and older models are also more prone to random rebooting once users turn off the throttling.

The bug does not affect the newer iPhone 8 and iPhone X models.

Apple apologized in early December for not clarifying this information and pledged to issue another update to alleviate the performance issues.

The acknowledgment directed Apple to reduce the cost of battery replacements in its stores down to $29 from $50.

Moreover, the company also intends to release another software update in the spring, called iOS 11.3, which will include features that will protect against slowdowns and enable users to monitor battery strength.

Apple’s apology prompted a global backlash which was followed by lawsuits filed by consumer advocacy groups and individual iPhone users.

U.S. government officials and Capitol Hill lawmakers including South Dakota Senator John Thune have also raised concerns to Apple over the slowdowns.

The development is just the latest problem facing the California-based tech giant.

Apple also has grappled with other software-related issues, including a login defect on Mac computers that enables intruders to gain entry to access files without the use of a passcode as well as processor flaws that have often affected other technology companies.

As a result, Apple has delayed the rollout of several fundamental Mac software and iPhone features that was scheduled for release this year.

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