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Apple Canada to Testify in Front of Parliamentary Committee Over iPhone Throttling Saga [u]

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Apple Canada will testify in front of a parliamentary committee today, over its handling of slowing down older iPhones with aging batteries, reports CBC News. Apple apologized to customers in December after admitting it slowed down older iPhones to prevent unexpected shutdowns.

The House of Commons’ standing committee on industry, science and technology will expect to hear answers from Apple. The committee was supported by NDP MP Brian Masse from Windsor West, who said it’s about Canadian consumers being treated fairly.

“For me it was about Canada responding to a problem that is obviously international,” said Masse. “We’ve seen in the past that’s not always the case for consumers,” adding “Canadians need to stick up for their rights.”

According to Apple Canada, the company argues it never hid its software policy from customers. Jacqueline Famulak, manager of legal and government affairs at Apple Canada Inc., in a statement before the committee meeting, said “Apple would never intentionally do anything to shorten the life of any Apple product or degrade the user experience in order to drive customer upgrades.”

Famulak continued to say “The sole purpose of the software update in this case was to help customers to continue to use older iPhones with aging batteries without shutdowns – not to drive them to buy newer devices.”

The committee will hear from Apple Canada, the Competition Bureau, and Toronto-based Primate Labs, which first published results suggesting older iPhone models were being throttled as their batteries aged.

Masse added “I don’t know whether our Competition Bureau has the resources or has the teeth and the legislation that can adequately deal with Canadian protection and consumers,” continuing to say “That’s no offence to them individually or the positions they occupy there. I think Canada is not well-positioned for consumer protection.

“We often get the bum’s rush when it comes to many of the consumer decisions and end up being kind of an afterthought,” Masse said.

In an effort to make things right with customers, Apple reduced out of warranty iPhone battery swaps to $35 CAD, down from $99 CAD. The company also has a new Battery Health feature coming soon, when iOS 11.3 is released to the public.

The committee is currently live and we will update this post with more details as they arise.

Update: Full statement from Apple’s letter can be seen at iMore. More info about what John Poole from Primate Labs testified can be seen at Venture Beat.

BTW: here’s the top voted comment on CBC News right now:

So Apple has to explain themselves but Canadian telcos can rip us off clean every month and get away with it. When will the federal government sweep in front of its own door and protect Canadians from corporate abuse?

…more to follow

 

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  • Aleks Oniszczak

    “Apple would never intentionally do anything to shorten the life of any Apple product or degrade the user experience in order to drive customer upgrades.” I think arguing WHY they did it is beside the point. The fact is that they admit to degrading the user experience (as they put it) and they hid this from the users whose user experiences they were degrading.

    But let’s say they have a good reason that we accept. The fact is that they promoted the iPhones 6 as having 25% faster processing power and graphics 50% faster than the iPhone 5s. They charged a premium price for these phones when they were new and people bought them based on what Apple told them about the specs. Apple secretly changes that without telling anyone. While they were being secretive, shouldn’t they have secretly put some money back into people’s accounts instead of secretly keeping it?

  • I know we’re all angry at carriers, but this, is irrelevant.

    “So Apple has to explain themselves but Canadian telcos can rip us off clean every month and get away with it. When will the federal government sweep in front of its own door and protect Canadians from corporate abuse?”

  • My 1/2 cents

    Canadians will accept any plausible reason. Nothing will come out of this.

  • My 1/2 cents

    You obviously don’t understand corporate influence and corruption in government.

    The answer is the same as in the USA where Congress won’t pass gun reform and legislation.

  • My 1/2 cents

    Corporations have never been ethical or moral. Life on this planet will cease within 100 years. Your idealism ain’t gonna happen.

  • Okay, let me ask you something: what do you want exactly the government to do about the telecoms?
    Before you say charge them with collusion, I want to remind you that aligning prices with those of your competitors itself does not qualify as collusion.
    To be charged with collusion, there needs to be an agreement between the parties.

    If me, retailer B increases my price because A did so, and realized that well, I could increase my bottom line by doing so because A is my only competitor and my customers are not going to go to A because we sell the same thing, it’s not collusion. But if A and B agree to match their prices to gain unfair market advantage, then it is collusion.

    Do not get me wrong, I hate the fact that the big three are an oligopoly and screw us up with their prices, but what can the government do that will ???????? benefit the customers?

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    I’m more optimistic 🙂 I agree that corporations are so focussed on money that they care about little else. A lot of this has to do with law i.e. shareholder interests come first by law. But this can be easily fixed with better laws.

    Of course, I believe Apple is going even further here and actually breaking the law. It’s false advertising at the least.

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