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Slowdown in Apple phones' response time leads to multiple lawsuits

Even if you weren't personally involved, you might still empathize with owners of Apple iPhones reporting that their aging smartphones suffered from slower response times owing to purposeful company policy.

If, conversely, you were -- or continue to be -- one of those owners, you're now probably flatly irate to hear that Apple software in those phones intentionally lessened their ability to perform functions and access apps over time.

Apple didn't widely acknowledge that until last month. And it did so only after disclosure from an independent testing lab revealing that, indeed, older iPhones were lagging in response time and that the delay was linked with software intending that result.

Apple says that the software was embedded "to smooth out" the power supply from batteries that might otherwise harm phone components. Company officials assert that it has helped to prolong battery life and keep select iPhone models functioning for longer periods.

Legions of consumers find that explanation to be disingenuous and even in bad faith. They say that Apple's slow-down motives were grounded in something far more troublesome.

Like fraud. Multiple lawsuits filed recently in federal courts across the country and seeking class action status contend that Apple wanted users to react to their phones' sluggish performance by tossing them and buying newer models.

One filing states that Apple "sought to mask [rather than clarify] the battery defect," leading consumers to buy pricier next-generation models when a simple battery change would have easily fixed subpar performance. And it argues that Apple should have routinely been providing free battery replacements for all affected phones.

It is uncertain how the matter will ultimately play out. More lawsuits could yet be filed, with plaintiffs in class action litigation potentially numbering millions of iPhone users across the country.

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