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Why iPhone users are suing Apple over battery life, and their chances of success




CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09:  The new iPhone 6 is displayed during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple unveiled the Apple Watch wearable tech and two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: The new iPhone 6 is displayed during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple unveiled the Apple Watch wearable tech and two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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Last week, Apple admitted to doing something that had long been considered a conspiracy theory: slowing down older model iPhones in their intermittent software updates to preserve battery life. Now, they’re facing backlash from consumers who are upset that the company wasn’t more transparent about its actions.

iPhone users in three states have filed at least nine class-action lawsuits against Apple over the slowdown. Some who upgraded their devices after updating to new versions of  iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system, say they would’ve just replaced their phone’s battery if they had known it was to blame for the slowdown and that the company’s actions fraudulently pushed customers to buy the newer, more expensive iPhone. One of the suits argues that Apple broke an implied contract by slowing the phones down, arguing that when a consumer buys an iPhone, he or she is doing so with the assumption that Apple isn’t going to mess with the phone’s “usage or value.” The news broke last week after independent bloggers and Reddit users conducted their own speed tests of the iPhone and presented the findings to Apple.

If you’re an iPhone user or Apple customer, does this change your opinion of the company? Does replacing the battery actually solve the problem? And what will the plaintiffs have to prove in order to be successful? How will Apple argue against them?

Guest

Brian X. Chen, lead consumer technology writer and author of the ‘Tech Fix’ column for The New York Times; he tweets @bxchen