Apple Sued Over Meltdown and Spectre in U.S. as iPhone Slowdown Lawsuits Now Total 45

Apple faces its first legal action over Meltdown and Spectre in the United States, even though the vulnerabilities were found to affect nearly all computers and other devices, according to court documents reviewed by MacRumors.


Meltdown and Spectre are serious hardware-based vulnerabilities that take advantage of the speculative execution mechanism of a CPU, allowing hackers to gain access to sensitive information. All modern Intel, ARM, AMD, and Nvidia processors are affected, with many patches and mitigations already released.

Anthony Bartling and Jacqueline Olson filed a class action complaint against Apple last week in a U.S. district court in San Jose on behalf of anyone who purchased a device with an ARM-based processor designed by Apple, ranging from the A4 to A11 Bionic chips used in iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV models.

The complaint alleges that Apple has known about the design defects giving rise to the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities since at least June 2017, and could have disclosed details to the public more promptly.

An excerpt from the complaint:
ARM Holdings PLC, the company that licenses the ARM architecture to Apple, admits that it was notified of the Security Vulnerabilities in June 2017 by Google's Project Zero and that it immediately notified its architecture licensees (presumably, including Apple) who create their own processor designs of the Security Vulnerabilities.
The complaint added that it is unlikely Apple would be able to fully and adequately release fixes for Meltdown and Spectre without the performance of its processors decreasing by between five and 30 percent.

Apple addressed Meltdown in macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 and iOS 11.2, while Spectre mitigations were introduced in a macOS 10.13.2 supplemental update and iOS 11.2.2, both of which were released early last week. The vulnerabilities have also been addressed in older versions of macOS and OS X.

Despite one claim that Apple's patch for Spectre resulted in a significant performance decrease on one developer's iPhone 6s, Apple said its testing indicated that the Safari-based mitigations had no measurable impact on its Speedometer and ARES-6 tests and an impact of less than 2.5 percent on the JetStream benchmark.

The complaint expects at least 100 customers to be part of the proposed class, with the combined sum of compensatory and punitive damages expected to exceed $5 million if the case proceeds to trial.

A group of Israelis have filed a request with the Haifa District Court to file a class action lawsuit against Apple, Intel, and ARM over Meltdown and Spectre as well, according to local news publication Hamodia.

iPhone Slowdown Lawsuits Continue to Mount


Apple continues to face an increasing number of lawsuits that either accuse the company of intentionally slowing down older iPhones, or at least of failing to disclose power management changes it made starting in iOS 10.2.1.


In the United States, the iPhone maker now faces at least 39 class action complaints as of January 15, according to court documents compiled by MacRumors. Additional lawsuits have been filed in France, Israel, Russia, Korea, and Vietnam, with another pending in Canada, bringing the total to 45.

Many of the lawsuits demand Apple compensate all iPhone users who have experienced slowdowns, offer free battery replacements, refund customers who purchased brand new iPhones to regain maximum performance, and as Apple has already promised, add more detailed info to iOS about a device's battery health.

We've already answered many frequently asked questions about Apple's power management process, and covered the issue extensively, so read our past coverage for more information about the matter.

Tag: lawsuit

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Apple Now Faces 23+ Lawsuits for ‘Purposefully’ or ‘Secretly’ Slowing Down Older iPhones

Apple now faces over two dozen lawsuits around the world that either accuse the company of intentionally slowing down older iPhones, or at least of failing to disclose power management changes it made starting in iOS 10.2.1.


The lawsuits include 23 class action complaints in the United States, with the latest two filed on Thursday by Marc Honigman and Lauri Sullivan-Stefanou in New York and Ohio respectively, according to electronic court records reviewed by MacRumors. Apple is also being sued in Israel and France.

An excerpt from Sullivan-Stefanou's complaint:
Unbeknownst to iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone 6s owners, Apple inserted code into iOS 10.2.1 that deliberately slowed down the processing performance of these phones by linking each phone's processing performance with its battery health. Absent the code inserted by Apple, the reduced battery capacity of these phones would not have negatively affected processing performance.
Many of the lawsuits demand Apple compensate all iPhone users who have experienced slowdowns, offer free battery replacements, refund customers who purchased brand new iPhones to regain maximum performance, and add info to iOS explaining how replacing an iPhone's battery can prevent slowdowns.

The legal action comes after Apple's revelation it may at times dynamically manage the maximum performance of some older iPhone models with chemically aged batteries in order to prevent the devices from unexpectedly shutting down, an issue that can be made worse by cold temperatures or a low charge.

Apple never mentioned the power management changes, which it calls a feature, when it released iOS 10.2.1 nearly a year ago. A month after the software update became available, Apple still only vaguely mentioned that it made "improvements" that resulted in a significant reduction in unexpected shutdowns.

Apple only revealed exactly what the so-called "improvements" were after Primate Labs founder John Poole visualized that some iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 devices suddenly had lower benchmark scores starting with iOS 10.2.1 and iOS 11.2 respectively despite operating at maximum performance on previous versions.

Poole's analysis was in response to a Reddit user who claimed his iPhone 6s was significantly faster after replacing the device's battery. The discussion generated over 1,000 comments, and reinforced an opinion held by some that Apple purposefully slows down older iPhones so customers buy newer ones.

Honigman's complaint, edited very slightly for clarity, echoes this opinion:
Apple's intentional degradation of the iPhone's performance through the release of iOS impacted the usability of the device. Effectively, Apple has forced the obsolescence of iPhones by secretly diminishing their performance. Thus, Apple's admission has confirmed what iPhone users have long suspected – i.e., that Apple deliberately degrades the performance of older iPhone models through iOS updates to encourage users to buy new iPhones.
Apple has since issued an apology for its lack of communication, and it has reduced the price of battery replacements to $29 for iPhone 6 and newer through the end of 2018. Apple has also promised to release an iOS update early this year that will give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone's battery.

Keep in mind that Apple is not permanently or persistently slowing down older iPhones. Even if your iPhone is affected, the performance limitations only happen intermittently, and only when the device is completing demanding tasks.

We recently answered many frequently asked questions about Apple's power management process, which can't be disabled, but can be avoided by replacing your iPhone's battery if necessary. Read our guide on how to get an iPhone's battery replaced at an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider.

Related Roundups: iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, iPhone SE
Tag: lawsuit

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Apple Being Sued for ‘Purposefully Slowing Down Older iPhone Models’

Apple yesterday confirmed that it has implemented power management features in older iPhones to improve performance and prevent unexpected shutdowns as the battery in the devices starts to degrade, and this admission has now led to a class action lawsuit, which was first noticed by TMZ.

Los Angeles residents Stefan Bogdanovich and Dakota Speas, represented by Wilshire Law Firm, this morning filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California accusing Apple of slowing down their older iPhone models when new models come out.

Defendant breached the implied contracts it made with Plaintiffs and Class Members by purposefully slowing down older iPhone models when new models come out and by failing to properly disclose that at the time of that the parties entered into an agreement.
According to the lawsuit, Bogdanovich and Speas have owned the iPhone 7 and several older iPhone models and have noticed that their "older iPhone models slows (sic) down when new models come out." The two say they did not consent to have Apple slow down their devices, nor were they able to "choose whether they preferred to have their iPhones slower than normal."

They're seeking both California and Nationwide class action certification, which would cover all persons residing in the United States who have owned iPhone models older than the iPhone 8.

Apple yesterday addressed speculation that it throttles the performance of older iPhones with degraded batteries, confirming that there are power management features in place to attempt to prolong the life of the iPhone and its battery. Apple implemented these features last year in iOS 10.2.1.

When an iPhone's battery health starts to decline, the battery is not capable of supplying enough power to the iPhone in times of peak processor usage, which can lead to shutdowns, Apple says.
"Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.

Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We've now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future."
The lawsuit seemingly misrepresents Apple's original statement and suggests the plaintiffs and their lawyers do not understand Apple's explanation for how iPhone power management features work and why they were implemented, given the lawsuit's suggestion that it's tied to the release of new devices. As explained by Apple, when certain iPhone models hit a peak of processor power, a degraded battery is sometimes unable to provide enough juice, leading to a shutdown. Apple says it "smooths out" these peaks by limiting the power draw from the battery or by spreading power requests over several cycles.

Lithium-ion batteries degrade over time by nature, and this eventual wearing out addressed by the power management features is unrelated to the release of new iPhone models.

Apple does not deny that iPhones with older batteries can sometimes see slower performance, but power management is a feature that Apple says has been implemented to improve overall performance by preventing an iPhone from shutting down completely rather than a feature that's been implemented to force users to upgrade by deliberately slowing devices.

As many people have suggested, Apple has done a poor job of explaining why it has implemented these power feature management and how the state of the battery ultimately affects iPhone performance. More transparent information about battery health should be provided, and customers should be better informed when their batteries start to degrade so they can choose whether or not to pay for a replacement. Apple may also need to relax its policies on when customers can pay for a battery replacement, as currently, a battery can't be replaced unless in-store equipment registers it as near failing.

An iPhone's battery is designed to retain 80 percent of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles. A defective battery that does not meet those parameters can be replaced for free for customers who have AppleCare+ or who have devices still under warranty.

For out of warranty customers, Apple offers a battery replacement service, which costs $79 plus $6.95 for shipping.

The lawsuit is demanding the replacement of the old iPhone and compensation for loss of use, loss of value, the purchase of new batteries, ascertainable losses in the form of the deprivation of the value of the iPhone, and overpayments because Plaintiffs and Class Members "did not receive what they paid for" when Apple interfered with the usage of their iPhones.

Tag: lawsuit

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Apple Sued for App Store Logo’s Resemblance to Chinese Clothing Brand Logo

When Apple released the updated App Store as part of iOS 11, the App Store logo got an overhaul. Instead of an "A" made from a pencil, a paintbrush, and a ruler, Apple designed a simpler "A" that looks like it's constructed from popsicle sticks.

As it turns out, Apple's App Store logo bears a resemblance to the logo used by a Chinese clothing brand named KON, and now KON is suing Apple.


According to Phone Radar (via The Verge), KON believes Apple's new logo is a violation of Chinese copyright law. KON is a brand that's been around since 2009, and as The Verge discovered, Baidu Baike, the Chinese equivalent of Wikipedia, says the KON brand was inspired by music like the Sex Pistols, with the logo meant to represent three skeleton bones symbolizing power over death.


KON wants Apple to publicly apologize for using its logo, stop selling devices using the current App Store logo, and pay compensation for economic loss.

The Beijing People's Court has accepted the case and should make a ruling over the course of the next couple of weeks.

Apple in 2016 lost a similar case involving the "IPHONE" trademark that was in use by Chinese leather goods manufacturer Xintong Tiandi Technology. In that case, Apple was aiming to protect its iPhone trademark to prevent Xintong Tiandi from using the iPhone name for its cases, but the Chinese courts ruled against Apple.


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Qualcomm Seeks Import Ban on AT&T and T-Mobile iPhone 8 and iPhone X Models

Qualcomm today announced that it has filed three new patent infringement claims against Apple, accusing the Cupertino company of violating a total of 16 Qualcomm patents with its most recent iPhones, including the iPhone X.

Most of the patents in question cover technologies like carrier aggregation, memory designs, and power management features that are designed help to reduce battery usage, but in one claim, Qualcomm says Apple is using a depth-based image enhancement technique for Portrait mode that violates a Qualcomm patent.


Qualcomm is also filing a new complaint with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) concerning five of the patents, and it is asking the ITC to ban imports of iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X models that use chips from Intel, aka AT&T and T-Mobile devices in the United States.

The complaint with the ITC follows a previous filing in July that saw Qualcomm ask for an import ban on iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models equipped with Intel modem chips, along with some iPad models. Qualcomm has not asked for a ban on iPhones that use Qualcomm LTE chips, with the reasoning that a more limited exclusion order is more likely to be granted.

In the lawsuit, Qualcomm once again says its inventions form the "very core" of "modern mobile communication," and that without Qualcomm technology, Apple products "would lose much of their consumer appeal."

Qualcomm is seeking damages in an amount to be proven at trial, a permanent injunction against Apple, and attorneys fees.

Qualcomm's latest filing follows a countersuit from Apple that was filed earlier this week. Apple claims that Qualcomm's Snapdragon chips infringe on "at least" eight battery life patents owned by Apple.

The legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm kicked off in January of this year, and it has escalated rapidly over the course of the last several months. It is not clear if the ITC will agree to investigate the claims Qualcomm has made against Apple, but this will be a legal battle that spans several years, so Apple devices are in no danger of being banned anytime soon.


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Apple Countersues Qualcomm for Patent Infringement Related to Snapdragon Chips

In the ongoing legal feud between Apple and LTE chipmaker Qualcomm, Reuters reports today that Apple has made the latest move by filing a countersuit against Qualcomm and claiming that the supplier's Snapdragon chips -- used in many Android devices -- infringe on the Cupertino company's patents.

The countersuit is Apple's retaliation against Qualcomm after the latter company sought iPhone and iPad import bans in the United States over the summer. At the time, Qualcomm alleged that Apple infringed on six Qualcomm patents related to carrier aggregation and technologies that were designed to allow iPhones to save battery life while communicating. Apple denied any of these claims and said that Qualcomm's patents were "invalid."


Apple's new countersuit further revises its answer to Qualcomm's complaint from July by adding on the accusation of patent infringement surrounding the Snapdragon chips. The filing alleges that Apple owns "at least" eight battery life patents Qualcomm has violated, related to making sure that each part of the phone's processor draws only minimum power needed to function, powering down parts of the processor when not needed, and ensuring that sleep and wake functions work better for the user.

Apple specifically says that Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 and 820 processors -- included in Samsung and Google smartphones -- infringe on these patents, but Apple has only named Qualcomm in its counter lawsuit. The specific monetary damages Apple is looking for were not disclosed.
Apple Inc on Thursday filed a countersuit against Qualcomm Inc, alleging that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon mobile phone chips that power a wide variety of Android-based devices infringe on Apple’s patents, the latest development in a long-running dispute.

“Apple began seeking those patents years before Qualcomm began seeking the patents it asserts against Apple in this case,” the company wrote in its complaint.
2017 has seen rebuttal after rebuttal in the Apple versus Qualcomm legal battle, kicking off in January when the FTC complained that Qualcomm had engaged in anticompetitive patent licensing practices. Soon after, Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 billion, accusing the company of charging unfair royalties for "technologies they have nothing to do with" and refusing to pay quarterly rebates. A Qualcomm countersuit followed in April, and the dispute escalated throughout the year with expanded lawsuits and claims lodged by each side.

Over the summer, Qualcomm began facing an additional lawsuit from the United States Federal Trade Commission, happening separately from the dispute with Apple but covering many of the same anticompetitive tactics that Apple claims in its own lawsuit.


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Qualcomm Accuses Apple of Helping Intel Using Qualcomm Software

Qualcomm on Wednesday filed yet another lawsuit against Apple, this time accusing the company of breaching software licensing terms and using Qualcomm code to help Intel, reports Bloomberg.

According to Qualcomm, Apple breached a contract that dictates the use of software that's designed to make Qualcomm chips work with other iPhone components. Qualcomm also believes Apple may have used its access to that software to help Intel with its own modem chip development.


Since 2016, Apple has been using LTE chips from both Intel and Qualcomm in an effort to diversify its supply chain and move some production away from Qualcomm. The iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, and 8 Plus all use a mix of Qualcomm and Intel chips.

In light of the ongoing legal battle with Qualcomm, Apple is said to be considering eliminating Qualcomm chips from its devices all together, instead adopting chips from Intel and possibly MediaTek. Rumors suggest Qualcomm has been withholding software from Apple that Apple needs to test prototype devices for next year, forcing Apple's hand.

Qualcomm and Apple have been involved in an escalating legal fight since the beginning of the year after Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 billion. Apple has accused Qualcomm of charging unfair royalties for "technologies they have nothing to do with" and failing to pay for quarterly rebates.

Apple has since stopped paying royalties to Qualcomm until new licensing fees have been worked out, as have Apple suppliers, significantly impacting Qualcomm's profits.

Qualcomm has since levied several lawsuits against Apple, accusing the company of patent infringement and asking both the United States and China to block imports and exports of some iPhone models.


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Apple Considering Eliminating Qualcomm Chips From Next Year’s iPhones and iPads

Amid an escalating legal battle with Qualcomm, Apple is designing its 2018 iPhones and iPads without Qualcomm LTE chips, reports The Wall Street Journal. Apple is instead considering using only modem chips from Intel and perhaps MediaTek in its next-generation devices.

Qualcomm is allegedly withholding software that Apple needs to test LTE chips in its iPhone and iPad prototypes, necessitating the move.


The Wall Street Journal's sources say Qualcomm stopped sharing the software following the January lawsuit Apple filed against the company, hindering Apple's development efforts, but Qualcomm claims Apple has already tested the chip that would be suitable for the next-generation iPhone.
Qualcomm said its "modem that could be used in the next generation iPhone has already been fully tested and released to Apple." The chip company said it is "committed to supporting Apple's new devices" as it does for others in the industry.
Apple has used Qualcomm modem chips in its devices for many years, but began diversifying last year with the addition of Intel modem chips in the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus. The iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus also use both Intel and Qualcomm chips. In the United States, AT&T and T-Mobile models use chips from Intel, while Verizon and Sprint models use chips from Qualcomm.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple's plans to stop using Qualcomm chips in its 2018 devices could still change. Apple could switch suppliers as late as June, three months before the launch of the 2018 iPhone.

Apple and Qualcomm have been embroiled in a legal battle since the beginning of the year after Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 billion, accusing the company of charging unfair royalties for "technologies they have nothing to do with" and failing to pay for quarterly rebates.

Apple stopped paying licensing fees to Qualcomm at that time, as did Apple suppliers. Apple maintains that Qualcomm charges excessive licensing fees by requesting a percentage of an iPhone's entire value, while Qualcomm says its technology is "at the heart of every iPhone."

Qualcomm has since countersued and filed several patent infringement lawsuits against Apple. Qualcomm has also asked the United States International Trade Commission to block imports of some iPhone and iPad models and has requested that China stop manufacturing and selling iPhones.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

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Creator of ‘Remotizer’ Keyless Entry System Sues Apple for Selling HomeKit-Enabled August Smart Lock

Texas resident Mark Kilbourne has filed a lawsuit against Apple in Southern Texas for selling the HomeKit-enabled August Smart Lock.


The complaint claims that the August Smart Lock infringes upon his patented Remotizer keyless entry system for existing deadbolt locks. For selling the product, Apple is somehow being solely targeted here rather than August.

Kilbourne allegedly submitted a Remotizer app for iPhone for review around September 2014, but Apple said it was unable to continue with the process because it needed the associated hardware to fully assess the app.

"We began review of the app but are not able to continue because we need the associated hardware to fully assess your app features," read Apple's email response, according to the complaint. It appears Kilbourne never complied.

Both the Remotizer and August Smart Lock are electronic systems for remotely opening and closing a preexisting deadbolt lock without a key. Both products allow homeowners to keep their existing exterior door hardware and replace only the interior side of most standard deadbolts.


August's Smart Lock is compatible with Apple's HomeKit platform for locking and unlocking with Apple's Home app and Siri.

Kilbourne is seeking an award of unspecified damages and legal costs, and he wants Apple to stop selling the August Smart Lock, according to the complaint. The lawsuit is rather humorous given that it should probably be targeted at August Smart Lock, so we'll see how far this one goes before getting tossed out.


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Apple’s Lengthy Lawsuit With Samsung Over Copying iPhone’s Design Headed Back to Court

Apple's over six year old legal battle with Samsung for copying the iPhone's design is headed back to court yet again.

U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh on Sunday ordered that a new trial is required to determine whether Apple's $399 million award for Samsung's design patent infringement should stand or whether a new damages trial is required.


Apple and Samsung have until Wednesday to propose a retrial date, according to intellectual property analyst Florian Mueller, but he believes there is about a 30 percent chance the two parties could settle out of court before then.

The lawsuit dates back to 2011, when Apple successfully sued Samsung for infringing upon the iPhone's patented design, including its rectangular front face with rounded edges and grid of colorful icons on a black screen.

Apple's damages were awarded based on Samsung's entire profit from the sale of its infringing smartphones, but Samsung argued that the amount should be a percentage based on individual components like the front bezel or display.

Last December, the U.S. Supreme Court recommended that the U.S. Court of Appeals reconsider the damages amount that Samsung owes.

Apple's statement at the time:
The question before the Supreme Court was how to calculate the amount Samsung should pay for their copying. Our case has always been about Samsung's blatant copying of our ideas, and that was never in dispute. We will continue to protect the years of hard work that has made iPhone the world's most innovative and beloved product. We remain optimistic that the lower courts will again send a powerful signal that stealing isn't right.
Calvin Klein, Dieter Rams, and over 100 other top designers backed Apple last year, arguing the iPhone maker is entitled to all profits Samsung has earned from infringing designs. They cited a 1949 study stating that more than 99 percent of Americans could identify a bottle of Coca-Cola by shape alone.

Apple was initially awarded nearly $1 billion in damages, but a significant part of the decision was reversed in 2015, leaving Samsung owing $548 million. The amount was eventually lowered to $399 million in subsequent retrials.


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