February 6th, 2018 - 5:52pm

Consumer Protection, Digital, Economic Development, Innovation, Tech, Technology

OTTAWA – The Parliamentary Committee on Industry Science and Technology (INDU) will hold hearings on the recent Apple iPhone battery scandal following successful passing of a motion brought forward by Brian Masse MP (Windsor West).   Apple recently acknowledged that the performance of the iPhone 6 or older was deliberately slowed down in a recent Operating System software update, public and international concern prompted Masse to file a motion with the Committee.

“Apple, by their own admission failed to inform consumers about the throttling component of the iOS 10.2.1 update.  They should have been upfront about how this would negatively affect the performance of their device. Browsing speed is a key feature of any mobile device. iPhone Consumers deserve better,” said Masse. “Informed consent is a basic principle that should be applied in the digital space particularly when we are talking about apps that will affect core functions of any device such as web browsing speed.”

As Vice Chair of the INDU Committee, Masse said the Committee is set to invite Apple and other stakeholders to Ottawa to discuss the impacts of this on Canadian consumers. The committee hearings will take place in the coming weeks in Ottawa.

Recently Apple disclosed that the final quarter of 2017 was the most lucrative in its corporate history with profits soaring to a whopping $20 Billion on $80 Billion in total revenue (USD). “Apple just broke its own records for profit and revenue; consumers are rightly concerned that the browsing speed throttling was a ‘planned obsolescence’ scheme executed to near perfection. This study at INDU will give Apple the opportunity to restore consumer confidence in the tech sector and help to launch a broader discussion on the relationship between producers and consumers.” Masse added.

The company has stated that the ‘feature’ was added to the software update to address the web browsing power demands. The capacity of mobile device batteries to deliver the necessary power to execute high speed web browsing functions diminishes over time (and in cold weather). The software update deliberately slows down browsing speed in order to avoid device shut down according to Apple. Some experts argue that the system slowdown embedded in the software update was explicitly designed to prompt consumer demand for the new iPhone 8.

“I want to thank the committee for taking this issue seriously.  We have to ensure that there is transparency and that is exactly what our committee will do.  We serve Canadian consumers and hopefully we can get answers and accountability for them that is equal to other international jurisdictions.” said Masse.