Apple: You can’t sue us for slowing down your iPhones because you, er, invited us into, uh, your home… we can explain
We’re like a building contractor, explains Cupertino. More like vampires, thinks rest of world
Apple is like a building contractor you hire to redo your kitchen, the tech giant has argued in an attempt to explain why it shouldn’t have to pay customers for slowing down their iPhones.
Addressing a bunch of people trying to sue it for damages, the iGiant’s lawyers told [PDF] a California court this month: “Plaintiffs are like homeowners who have let a building contractor into their homes to upgrade their kitchens, thus giving permission for the contractor to demolish and change parts of the houses.”
They went on: “Any claim that the contractor caused excessive damage in the process sounds in contract, not trespass.”
That somewhat bizarre argument came in response to yet another lawsuit against Apple for releasing an iOS update that slows down the processor in older iPhones to reduce the electronics’ power draw, and thus avoid rapidly draining the handhelds’ weary batteries. The OS secretly stalls the CPU cores to prevent the device from suddenly hitting zero-percent battery charge, and shutting down unexpectedly.
In this particular case in the US, the plaintiffs argue that Apple damaged their phones by effectively forcing them to install software updates that were intended to fix the battery issues. They may have “chosen” to install the updates by tapping on the relevant buttons, but they did so after reading misleading statements about what the updates were and what they would do, the lawsuit claims.
Nonsense! says Apple. You invited us into your house. We did some work. Sorry you don’t like the fact that we knocked down the wall to the lounge and installed a new air vent through the ceiling, but that’s just how it is.
Ignoring for a second the fact that users also bought their “house” from Apple, there is another scenario in which you are powerless to intervene once you have invited someone into your house: vampires.
But that’s not the only disturbing image to emerge from this lawsuit. When it was accused of damaging people’s property by ruining their batteries, Apple argued – successfully – in court that consumers can’t reasonably expect their iPhone batteries to last longer than a year, given that its battery warranty runs out after 12 months. That would likely come as news to iPhone owners who don’t typically expect to spend $1,000 on a phone and have it die on them a year later.