Last year's software applied to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, 6S and 6S Plus and SE. They were promoting $0 offers for Samsung Galaxy S8 and S7 smartphones and some older Apple phones. This year's iOS 11.2 extended the feature to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
"Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices", Apple said in a statement to TechCrunch. They allege it intentionally interfered with the phones to damage them, which became a "substantial factor in causing ... to replace iPhones, buy new batteries, or loss of usage of their iPhone".
The lawsuit was filed the day after Apple announced it had, in 2016, "released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE" and was now extending that same "feature" to iPhone 7 models, to purportedly address battery issues caused by aging lithium-ion batteries that power the devices, particularly when placed under the demands of new operating systems, which demand higher performance from the devices.
"Apple's decision to not inform consumers that they could improve the performance speed of their devices by replacing their device's batteries reduced the effectiveness and usefulness of the subject telephones", the lawsuit said.
Apple said in its statement that it will continue to use the feature with other products in the future.More news: Google's Chrome browser to get ad-blocking February 15, 2018
Apple's admission contradicts earlier information released by benchmarking company Futuremark. John Poole, founder of the organization, said in a blog post that processors in iPhones slow down and decrease in performance as batteries age and lose capacity.
It also fanned speculation by some about whether Apple slows down old iPhones to pressure users to upgrade to a newer model.
What it really comes down to, though, is whether customers trust Apple enough to believe that this measure only exists as a failsafe on top of doing everything they reasonably can to ensure the best possible performance, for the longest possible span of time, for the price consumers are paying for their phones, and that kind of good faith is really hard to come by, for good reason.
For some people, the solution to a slower, older iPhone may be updating its battery instead of purchasing a brand new device.