As reported by 9to5Mac, regulators in Italy have fined Apple €10M Euros or about $11.95 million for their action of making incomplete claims about the water resistance of certain models of iPhones. The Italian agency called L’Autorita Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato or AGCM is in charge of making sure that all companies treat both consumers and competitors fairly. According to them, Apple had committed two violations.
The first one was about the claim related to the water resistance of certain iPhone models without telling the customers that the numbers quoted by Apple were only true under the ideal laboratory conditions. The Italian agency mentioned that in real life testing the iPhones being tested could not pass the same test. Apple called products such as iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max as water resistant to a maximum depth between 1 and 4 meters or about 3.37 inches to 13.12 inches depending on the model, for up to 30 minutes. The Italian agency pointed out that the marketing of Apple failed to mention that the numbers used by them to promote the water resistance on the aforementioned iPhone models were true only during specific and controlled laboratory tests. In the test, the static and pure water are used and the one in real life, the one that is used are the agitated and salty water.
As the first case was not enough, Apple was accused of a second issue by the Italian regulatory agency, which is more serious compared to the first one. With the complaint made by some people, Apple would use its water resistance claims to sell the models of iPhone but they do not want to extend the warranty coverage to those that suffered the water damage. Even though Apple does not include a disclaimer that says that the guarantee does not cover the damage caused by liquids, the disclaimer would most likely fool public because they do not make it clear what kind of guarantee is being discussed and the conditions and limitations of the water resistance protection that is promoted by Apple.
Apple is the one that determines whether one of its devices has suffered the water damage via the use of the internal indicators that appear when the water has made its way inside the device. If the indicator is positive, Apple will not give the warranty. On the other words, the owner of the device will not get a free repair or a new product as a replacement.
Apart from being fined €10M, Apple has been forced to publish a publication on their Italian website via the link that says Consumer protection information. The thing could be worse as Apple could end up getting the similar issues filed by the other countries in the European Union or EU. What’s more damaging to Apple is the class action suits against the company could show up in the states.
Apple thinks that the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are IP67 water resistant, meaning that they are protected to a maximum depth of 1 meter or 3 ft 3.37 inches for up to 30 minutes. The other models of the same product with the same protection are the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, and the iPhone SE. The ones with the IP68 protection which protect those models to a depth of 2 meters or 6.56 ft for up to 30 minutes include the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone 11. As for the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, they have protection down to a depth of 4 meters or 13.12 ft for up to 30 minutes. Then, what about the newest iPhone, iPhone 12? It features 6 meters or 19.69 ft of water protection for up to 30 minutes.
Besides, the iPhone 2018, iPhone 2019, and iPhone 2020, as well as the second generation of the iPhone SE, are protected from liquids that spill on the handsets, including beer, soda, tea, juice, and coffee. If one of these liquids is spilled on your iPhone, all that should be done is to raise the affected area with tap water and wipe it off.
The support site of Apple has some hints on how to protect your iPhone from the water damage. Here is the list:
- Operating the iPhone in a sauna or steam room.
- Bathing or swimming with the iPhone.
- Dropping the iPhone or subjecting it to the other impacts.
- Unloading the iPhone, including removing the screws.
- Putting the iPhone into water intentionally.
- Using the iPhone outside the recommended temperature ranges or in the extremely humid conditions.
- Facing the iPhone to pressurized water or high velocity water, including water skiing, when showering, surfing, wake boarding, jet skiing, and so on. S
Talking about the issue, Apple, along with Samsung, were fined around $15 million for forcing updates on consumers that may slow break their devices. Early this year, France fined them $27 million for covering up the OS performance of iPhones with the older batteries.
It seems like Apple has faced a lot of cases. In March, they faced much larger penalties from the competition authorities elsewhere in Europe, including being notified of a $1.2 billion fine by the competition authority of France. They accused Apple along with two wholesale distribution partners called Tech Data and Ingram Micro. Last year, Apple also had to pay as much as €500 million in back taxes asked by the French authorities. About $15 million from the European HQ of Apple is saved in the bank account to cover a 2016 European Commission State Aid charge that it inappropriately gave them advantage from the corporate tax arrangements in Ireland between 2003 and 2014. Actually, both Apple and Ireland won the battle but the Commission filled an appeal in September.
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