US House Republicans want answers on Apple throttling older iPhone speeds


Four US House Republicans, including the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, on Friday wrote Apple Inc chief executive Tim Cook asking him to answer questions about its disclosure that it slowed older iPhones with flagging batteries.

The California-based company apologized over the issue on December 28, cut battery replacement costs and said it will change its software to show users whether their phone battery is good. The letter also said they were concerned about reports that an iPhone battery overheated and began to emit smoke in Switzerland.

An Apple store in Zurich was reportedly evacuated last week, after an overheated iPhone battery injured a repairman. A Reuters report quoted Zurich police who told the agency that the incident occurred as the repair worker was removing the battery, which overheated and burned his hand slightly.

US Senator John Thune, who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, sent a similar letter to Apple on Tuesday. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

Apple is facing a slew of lawsuits over the software tweak that led to slower performance in iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s models. About eight lawsuits have been filed in the US alone, demanding millions in damages from the iPhone-maker. Apple has also been sued in Israel over the same issue with the lawsuit seeking nearly $120 million in damages.

Some lawsuits have also argued that since Apple deliberately slowed down performance, users might have mistaken it for the phone getting older and chose to buy a new device while when the real fault was with the battery. The lawsuits claim Apple forced customers into buying new devices, rather than letting them just replace the battery at a lower cost.