Apple fined $27 million in France for throttling old iPhones without telling users

France’s competition watchdog DGCCRF announced earlier today that Apple will pay a $ 27.4 million (€25 million) fine due to an iOS update that capped performance of aging devices. The company will also have to display a statement on its website for a month.

A couple of years ago, Apple released an iOS update (10.2.1 and 11.2) that introduced a new feature for older devices. If your battery is getting old, iOS would cap peak performances as your battery might not be able to handle quick peaks of power draw. The result of those peaks is that your iPhone might shut down abruptly.

While that feature is technically fine, Apple failed to inform users that it was capping performances on some devices. The company apologized and introduced a new software feature called “Battery Health”. It lets you check the maximum capacity of your battery and if your iPhone can reach peak performance.

And that’s the issue here. Many users may have noticed that their phone would get slower when they play a game for instance. But they didn’t know that replacing the battery would fix that. Some users may have bought new phones even though their existing phone was working fine.

France’s DGCCRF also notes that iPhone users can’t downgrade to a previous version of iOS, which means that iPhone users had no way to lift the performance capping feature. “Failing to inform consumers represented a misleading business practice using omission,” the French authority writes.

Apple accepted to settle by paying a €25 million fine and recognizing its wrongdoing with a statement on its website.

Gadgets – TechCrunch

Reports claims all three new iPhones planned for 2020 will support 5G

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo — sometimes described as “the most accurate Apple analyst in the world” — has written a new note to investors saying that the three iPhones expected to launch in 2020 will feature support for 5G. In previous Kuo reports, it’s said the 2020 iPhones could be available in new sizes: a 5.4 and 6.7-inch high-end iPhones with OLED displays, along with a 6.1-inch model with an OLED display.

Previously, he predicted that only two of the three new iPhones slated for 2020 would support 5G. But with well-spec’d Androids flooding the market, he says it looks like Apple will offer 5G in all models in order to better compete. He’s also confirmed the view that Apple will be able to throw more resources into developing the 5G iPhone now that it has acquired Intel’s smartphone modem chip business.

The report, leaked to MacRumors, contains this quote:

We now believe that all three new 2H20 iPhone models will support 5G for the following reasons. (1) Apple has more resource for developing the 5G iPhone after the acquisition of Intel baseband business. (2) We expect that the prices of 5G Android smartphones will decline to $ 249-349 USD in 2H20. We believe that 5G Android smartphones, which will be sold at $ 249-349 USD, will only support Sub-6GHz. But the key is that consumers will think that 5G is the necessary function in 2H20. Therefore, iPhone models which will be sold at higher prices have to support 5G for winning more subsidies from mobile operators and consumers’ purchase intention. (3) Boosting 5G developments could benefit Apple’s AR ecosystem.

The report expects all three 2020 iPhone models to support both mmWave and Sub-6GHz spectrum (two different kinds of 5G) for the US market. Whether Apple will launch a 5G iPhone that only supports Sub-6GHz, allowing for a lower price and thus making it suitable for the Chinese market, remains unclear.

mmWave is the ‘fastest 5G’ that’s most often referred to, but as it is suited to denser, urban areas, it will not be used as much in rural or suburban areas, where mid-bands and low-bands, called sub-6GHz 5G, will be employed. All are banks are faster than 4G, with mmWave the fastest.

Apple will use modem chips from Qualcomm in its 2020 5G iPhones, while it works on its own modem chips, due in 2021.

Gadgets – TechCrunch

Future iPhones could feature two-way wireless charging and bigger batteries

According to a new report from reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and shared by MacRumors, the next-generation iPhone should likely feature two-way wireless charging. This feature would let you charge other devices using your iPhone.

Other flagship smartphones already feature two-way wireless charging, such as the Samsung Galaxy S10, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and the Huawei P30 Pro.

Samsung released new Bluetooth earbuds to justify such a feature. Thanks to PowerShare, you can place the Galaxy Buds case on the back of your Samsung Galaxy S10 to charge them. But you can also use it with another phone or another accessory — it should work with any Qi-compatible device.

And now that Apple sells AirPods with a wireless charging case, chances are Apple will also showcase the new case sitting on top of the next iPhone.

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple could include the new feature across the lineup. Updates to the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR should get two-way wireless charging.

Apple could also increase battery sizes to mitigate the impact of this new feature. The next iPhone XS could receive a 20 to 25 percent bump, the next iPhone XS Max could get a 10 to 15 percent bump. The iPhone XR, which already has the longest battery life, should more or less keep the same battery.

Gadgets – TechCrunch

Apple could end up manufacturing iPhones in another country due to tariffs

According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple is thinking about multiple scenarios when it comes to tariffs and iPhone production. Right now, iPhones are not affected directly by the trade war between China and the U.S.

But if U.S. President Donald Trump decides to raise tariffs on smartphones, it could be a big deal for the company. Apple manufactures most of its iPhones in China right now and works with Foxconn for the final assembly of those devices.

In some countries with high tariffs, Apple has worked with suppliers outside of China. For instance, Taiwanese manufacturer Wistron has built an assembly facility in Bengaluru, India. At first, the plan was to manufacture iPhone SE devices in India.

Similarly, Foxconn opened a facility in Brazil back in 2011. But results have been disappointing as devices were still much more expensive in Brazil than in the U.S.

But the U.S. is such a key market for Apple that tariffs on U.S. imports could have significant consequences. According to Bloomberg, Apple would keep the same supply chain even if the U.S. decides on a 10 percent tariff on smartphones. If might move production away from China with a 25 percent tariff.

It’s unclear if all production would move to another country or just production for the U.S. But nothing is changing for now. It’s just executives playing a little game of “what if.”

Gadgets – TechCrunch

Google Fi now officially supports most Android devices and iPhones

Google is making a major move to expand the availability of its Fi wireless service.

It’s been a few years since Google launched Project Fi with the promise of doing things a bit differently than the large carriers. Because it could switch between the cell networks of multiple providers to give you the best signal, the service only ever officially supported a select number of handsets. You could always trick it by activating the service on a supported phone and then moving your SIM card to another (including an iPhone), but that was never supported.

That’s changing today, though. The company is opening up Fi — and renaming it to Google Fi — and officially expanding device support to most popular Android phones, as well as iPhones. Supported Android phones include devices from Samsung, LG, Motorola and OnePlus. iPhone support is currently in beta, and there are a few extra steps to set it up, but the Fi iOS app should now be available in the App Store.

One thing you might not get with many of the now-supported phones is the full Fi experience, with network switching and access to Google’s enhanced network features, including Google’s VPN network. For that, you’ll still need a Pixel phone, the Moto G6 or any other device that you can buy directly in the Fi store.

Fi on all phones comes with the usual features, like bill protection, free high-speed international roaming and support for group plans.

To sweeten the deal, Google is also launching a somewhat extraordinary promotion today: If you open a new Fi account — or if are an existing user — you can buy any phone in the Fi shop today and get your money back in the form of a travel gift card that you can use for a flight with Delta or Southwest, or lodging with Airbnb and Hotels.com. There’s some fine print, of course (you need to keep your account active for a few months, etc.), but if you were looking at getting Fi anyway, like to travel and want to get a Pixel 3 XL, that’s not a bad deal at all.

The fine print is below:

Travel on Fi with Any Device Purchase Promotion Terms (Google Fi)

Limited time, 24-hour offer applies to any qualifying device purchased from fi.google.com from 11/28/18 12:00 AM PT through 11/28/18 11:59 PM PT, or while supplies last. When you purchase a qualifying device on fi.google.com, you can redeem a travel gift card in the amount you paid for the device, excluding taxes (details below).

To qualify for this promotion, a device must be activated within 15 days of device shipment and remain active for 60 consecutive days within 75 days of device shipment. The device must be activated within the same plan that was used to purchase the device. Activation must be for full service (i.e., activation does not apply to a data-only SIM).

This offer is available for new Google Fi customers as of 11/28/18 12:00 AM PT and existing, active Google Fi customers. If the customer is new to Google Fi, the customer must transfer (port-in) their current personal number over to Google Fi during sign up. The number being transferred must be currently active and have been active with the previous carrier and the customer since 8/28/18 12:00 AM PT.

After the terms have been satisfied, the customer will receive an email from Google Fi (around 75 – 90 days after device activation) with instructions on how to obtain a gift card from Tango subject to Tango’s terms and conditions. The user can redeem gift card amounts with select travel partners: Airbnb, Delta Airlines, Hotels.com, and Southwest Airlines. Gift cards may also be subject to the terms of the travel partners.

If Fi service is paused for more than 7 days or cancelled within 120 days of activation, the value of the gift card will be charged to your Google Payments account to match the purchased price of the device. Limit one per person. This offer is only available for U.S. residents ages 18 and older, and requires Google Payments and Google Fi accounts. Unless otherwise stated, this offer cannot be combined with other offers. Offer and gift card redemption are not transferable, and are not valid for cash or cash equivalent. Void where prohibited.


Android – TechCrunch