American owners of iPhones could get US$25 from Apple Inc after the company agreed to pay up to US$500 million to settle claims over it intentionally slowing down older models to preserve older batteries.
Apple and lawyers representing iPhone consumers agreed to a deal stemming from Apple’s 2017 admission that it was slowing down phone performance in older models to avoid unexpected shutdowns related to battery fatigue.
That admission led to Apple offering discounted battery replacements at US$29, but many people claimed they had already spent hundreds of dollars to buy a new phone because Apple did not reveal the cause of the problem. If they had known they could just buy new batteries, they might not have bought new phones, some consumers said.
Apple did not admit any wrongdoing.
As part of the settlement, the company is to pay US$310 million to US$500 million, including about US$93 million to lawyers representing consumers.
Owners of iPhones who were named in the class-action lawsuit are to get up to US$3,500 each. The rest of the settlement money is to be distributed to owners of the iPhone 6, 6S, 7 and SE models who meet eligibility requirements related to the operating system they had running.
They must file claims to get the award. If too many people file, the US$25 amount could shrink.
A US federal judge in San Jose, California, still needs to approve the settlement.
Separately, some products from Apple are in short supply in a possible sign of the COVID-19 outbreak’s effect on the global manufacturing system.
The iPad Pro tablet is seeing limited availability at stores in major cities in the US, Australia and Europe, according to a review of Apple’s Web site on Monday.
Some Apple store employees said that they started noticing reduced iPad Pro inventory in the past week. They asked not to be identified discussing private product information.
AirPods Pro earbuds and built-to-order Mac computers are also continuing to show shipping delays, while some Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 5 models are listed as unavailable to buy online.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg
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