US senator questions Apple about slowing down older iPhones

Sen. John Thune asks Apple CEO Tim Cook the same questions we would.

Terry Collins Staff Reporter, CNET News
Terry writes about social networking giants and legal issues in Silicon Valley for CNET News. He joined CNET News from the Associated Press, where he spent the six years covering major breaking news in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before the AP, Terry worked at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and the Kansas City Star. Terry's a native of Chicago.
Terry Collins
2 min read

A top-ranking US politician wants more transparency from Apple about why the tech giant purposely slowed down the processing performance of older iPhones.

Republican Sen. John Thune, who chairs the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, asked Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday if the company had offered customers an opportunity to decline a version of its operating system that throttles processing in older models as a way of preserving batteries. He made the inquiry, one of eight questions, in a letter to the Apple boss.  

Sen. John Thune

Sen. John Thune wants Apple to be more transparent about why it slows down batteries in older iPhones.

Getty Images

The letter comes about three weeks after Apple acknowledged that, without notifying customers, it slows down older phones. The company said that as batteries get older, they don't hold their charges as well as newer batteries, which can create problems in some situations such as colder weather. 

Thune wrote that the public backlash suggested Apple should've been more upfront about its actions.

"The large volume of consumer criticism leveled against the company in light of its admission suggests that there should have been better transparency with respect to these practices," Thune wrote.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Thune also asked why Apple decided to replace batteries for $29, instead of making them free to customers, referencing the company's response to the public's criticism. He also asked if the company considered giving rebates to customers who already paid full price for a replacement battery prior to offering discounts. The lawmaker wants Apple to respond by Jan. 23. 

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