The main issue was that the Plaintiffs accused Apple of misrepresenting the software update. The suit says that Apple promoted iOS 9 as being compatible with the iPhone 4S and “would improve or ‘enhance performance’ for its customers that downloaded the software update. Instead, Plaintiffs contend, iOS 9 significantly slowed down the performance of their iPhone 4S devices.” Apple promoted the iOS 9 update by stating that it was “Faster and more responsive.” The company added that it makes more efficient use of the CPU and GPU to deliver faster scrolling, smoother animation, and better overall performance.” Apple also said that web pages, emails, and messages render faster with the update.
In December 2015, a group of iPhone 4S owners filed a class-action lawsuit, claiming that the September 2015 iOS 9 update caused performance issues with their device. Chaim Lerman, a member of the class, stated in 2015 that his iPhone 4s was running slower and no longer functioning normally. As a result, he claims that users believe they must “spend hundreds to buy a new phone.”
Those who believe that they are entitled to the $15 need to “submit a declaration under the penalty of perjury that, to the best of their knowledge, (1) they downloaded iOS 9, or any version thereof, onto their iPhone 4S; (2) they lived in New York or New Jersey at the time that they first downloaded any version of iOS 9; and (3) their iPhone 4S. experienced a significant decline in performance as a result.” Apple will create a website and a toll-free phone number for consumers
After bouncing around the legal system for over six years, a settlement was proposed to the court that would have Apple put aside $20 million to compensate iPhone 4S owners in New York and New Jersey who experienced poor performance on their iPhone 4S after installing iOS 9. The settlement will pay $15 to each plaintiff although that amount could be lowered if more valid claims than expected are submitted.
Both sides have taken this lawsuit as far as they wish it to go and both are pushing the settlement to the court. The latest filing seeks approval for the settlement from the Plaintiffs and from Apple and calls the $15 payment a successful outcome of the case because “Apple argued throughout the litigation that even if Plaintiffs succeeded in proving their claims, which Apple vigorously contested, actual damages as measured by the secondary market price did not exceed $15 per device.” The original pricing in the U.S. for the iPhone 4S was $199 for the version with 16GB of storage, $299 for the 32GB unit, and $399 for the 64GB model. This pricing was for consumers willing to sign a two-year contract with their carrier. Non-subsidized pricing varied between Verizon and AT&T, the only two U.S. carriers that sold the iPhone at the time.
Apple will create a website and a 1-800 toll-free phone number that will keep consumers up to date. The fact that this case has been running for over six years means that you can chalk this up as another victory for the lawyers. According to a court filing, the case generated 48,000 documents producing 539,000 pages, 15 depositions (including the plaintiffs, 11 Apple employees, and the Parties’ class certification experts), and 770 pages of experts’ reports.