Meeting tomorrow aims to combine 59 iPhone throttling lawsuits into one class action case

The interval between Apple being accused of wrong-doing and the first lawsuit is never very long, but the revelation that the company was deliberately slowing older iPhones appears to have resulted in a record number of cases.

Last time we counted, there were 30 separate cases, and that number has now almost doubled. However, a meeting tomorrow aims to combine all the US cases into a single class action lawsuit …

The WSJ reports that there are currently ‘at least’ 59 separate lawsuits.

Some five dozen iPhone customers have filed at least 59 separate lawsuits since December accusing Apple of slowing their phones to spur people to buy new iPhones, according to court records […]

Efforts to combine the cases into one class-action suit will kick off at a March 29 legal meeting in Atlanta, setting in motion an effort to have the class certified. A lead attorney and a court location also will be chosen.

Even the infamous ‘Antennagate‘ case, where the iPhone 4 was found to have an antenna system whose performance could be affected by holding the phone in a particular way, only attracted around 20 lawsuits. That case resulted in a total settlement of $315M, paid out as either a free bumper case or $15 per owner.

Legal experts and analysts alike say that this lawsuit is less likely to succeed.

Apple has done enough since acknowledging the software change to make clear that it was aiming to improve user performance, said Wayne Lam, a smartphone analyst with the research firm IHS Markit , adding that the class-action suit “won’t amount to a hill of beans.”

However, the case could still prove damaging to Apple even if the company successfully defends it.

While legal experts say the plaintiffs face an uphill battle, a multiyear court fight over the phone-throttling issue could force the secretive company to disclose sensitive information about its software development process, according to analysts […]

The lawsuits could also prolong the negative publicity surrounding Apple’s slowing of the phones. “It’s the brand damage that is even more risky and expensive for Apple,” said Holger Mueller, a technology analyst with Constellation Research.

Barclays last month suggested that the cut-price battery replacement program launched by Apple may already have hurt sales of new iPhones. The company also still faces DOJ and SEC investigations.

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