Apple has long inspired an almost religious devotion among customers and tech aficionados – but it just seriously undermined its fans’ faith and loyalty.
The company on Wednesday acknowledged what some people have long suspected: that it has been secretly stifling the performance of older iPhones.
Critics have accused the company in the past, based on anecdotal evidence, of purposely slowing phones to compel users to upgrade to the latest model. While Apple admitted to the practice on Wednesday, it stressed that it did so for a purely altruistic reason – to prevent older phones from shutting down unexpectedly.
The justification hasn’t mollified Apple’s outraged fans. If anything, the company’s statement has further stoked the conspiracy theories – and for good reason.
By the company’s own admission, it’s been throttling the performance of iPhones since last year.
Apple hasn’t explained why it didn’t disclose the practice until now, after GeekBench released charts based on its data that showed how older iPhones were not performing as quickly as they had when they launched.Apple’s secrecy, a badge of honor when it comes to unveiling new products, is certain to encourage distrust in this situation. Apple comes across as an organization that was intentionally hiding something – something it acknowledged only when it was caught red-handed.
If Apple didn’t acknowledge that it was throttling older phones until one year after it started doing so, what else is the company not telling customers? Why should iPhone users believe the company’s explanation for why it’s throttling phones? And why should they believe that it only started doing that a year ago?
Such questions might sound like the ravings of conspiracy theorists. But in this case, the conspiracy mongers were proved right: Apple was slowing down their phones. And there are rational reasons to think the company may not be offering a full explanation for why.