Thursday, January 25, 2018

Apple Admits to Slowing Down iPhones (2017)

Apple Admits to Slowing Down iPhones (2017)


Every version of the iPhone
that Apple has released from 2007 to 2016. Their
biggest competitors are Samsung, Sony, and HTC.
Apple has recently been the center of attention in the media. On December 18, a company known for testing and examining processing software created a blog post on the older versions of the iPhone and their slow down. The report showed that Apple's own iOS updates were to blame for the slow speeds of iPhones. 
Following this discovery, Apple was forced to go into crisis mode. Apple released a series of statements. Their first statement included an explanation of why their updates create the slowdown. Apple claims they implement the slowdown into their updates to help save older batteries from draining power faster than they should. This did not go over so well with disgruntled customers. Customers suspect the slow down was implemented to try and create more sales of the new iPhones. Apple has denied this claim and continue to stand by their reasoning for the slow down. 
In an attempt to save their name as a company, Apple has adjusted their prices. Due to the updates slowing down phones because of their battery capacity, Apple lowered the price for battery replacements. The replacements used to cost $79 and now have been lowered to $29.
Apple's famous logo that is recognized globally. Their brand is known for
being innovative and producing the most cutting edge products.


There are many stakeholders involved in this ethics controversy. First and foremost, the stockholders are affected. The stockholders trust Apple as a company and put their money behind them. They were in the dark about this case as well as everyone else in the public. If Apple's company worth decreases because of this controversy the stockholders are also going to lose money because the price of the stock will go down as well. Next, the employees at Apple are affected by this controversy. The employees at Apple are involved because they are part of the group of people who knew about this controversy. Some employees are more at fault than others but the employees as a whole will be associated with hiding the information from the public. 


Friedman’s individualism theory states, “The only goal of business is to profit, so the obligation that the business person has is to maximize profit for the owner or the stockholders.” An Individualist would look at this case and see it as ethical. The reason an Individualist would see this case as ethical is that the business was doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing, maximizing business profits. By withholding the information about why customers phones were becoming slow Apple was making more money due to customers purchasing phones more frequently or coming in for their phone to be fixed.
These are the tools and accessories needed to change
the battery of an iPhone. In order to prevent older iPhones from
slowing down, the battery should be replaced.


Kantian business ethics is a theory made by Immanuel Kant. There are four basic principles to Kantianism. The principles are as follows; act rationally, allow and help people to make rational decisions, respect people, their autonomy, and their individual needs and differences, and be motivated by good will. This case would be viewed by a Kantianist as unethical. Apple chose to withhold important information about their updates from customers. This prevented the customers from making their own rational decisions as to what they should do about their phones and how to fix them. Each consumer needs their phone for something different. Some consumers could be using it to run their small business and others could just be using it to send basic texts and make phone calls. If their phones slow down it could prevent them from doing each of those things efficiently which would cause them to purchase a new one. Apple was not motivated by good will. If the tech company that released the blog posst revealing the information about the iPhone was never released, who knows how long Apple would have kept this secret from its customers.


A graph to show the increase in sales of iPhones.
Each bar represents how many million iPhones were sold.
The Utilitarianism theory of business ethics involves two aspects, egoism and altruism. Egoism is to maximize your own happiness and altruism is to maximize happiness in others. A Utilitarian would view this case involving Apple as unethical. Apple was solely focusing on themselves as a company. Although they say that the update slowed down the phones to increase user happiness with the phone, it did not. Apple was not maximizing the happiness in their customers because each time a new phone came out their phones would slow down and not operate to their full potential. 

Virtue Theory

The Virtue Theory of business ethics focuses directly on the act itself and how it is unethical. The Virtue Theory focuses on four characteristics, courage, honesty, temperance, and justice. In this case, Apple lacked each of these characteristics. They did not have the courage to be honest with their customers about what their updates would do to their phones. This relates to doing what is morally right which is justice. Apple lacked justice in this case because they were hiding valuable information from their customers. If Apple implemented each of these characteristics into their company this unethical case would have never happened.


“Apple Fast Facts.” CNN, Cable News Network, 12 Sept. 2017, 
“Apple Logo.” Hollywood Life, 12 Sept. 2017,
“Chart of IPhone Sales.” Statista, Nov. 2017,
Crum, Rex. “IPhones since 2007.” The Mercury News, 27 Jan. 2017,
Panzarino, Matthew. “Apple Apologizes for Not Telling Customers IPhones with Older Batteries Would Slow over Time.” TechCrunch, TechCrunch, 28 Dec. 2017, 
Tibken, Shara. “Apple's IPhone Slowdown: Your Questions Answered.” CNET, 30 Dec. 2017,
 “Tools to Replace IPhone Battery.” Forbes, 31 Oct. 2013,