U.S. Probing Apple Regarding Updates That Slowed Down Older iPhone Models

(Reuters/Robert Galbraith)Apple logo on the storefront in San Francisco.

It seems Apple's woes concerning the slowing down of some of its older flagship smartphones are far from over.

According to a report from Bloomberg, sources shared that the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are formally looking into the possibility that Apple may have broken some security laws in relation to its disclosures concerning a software update late last year. The infamous iOS 10.2.1 software update had caused older iPhone models like the iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 to slow down in terms of performance.

The sources said that the investigation is still in its infancy stages, and a possible enforcement is too early to determine. The investigators handling the probe are said to be looking into the public statements released by the tech giant when the issue started to blow up. Moreover, the source also noted that the investigators are primarily concerned on Apple misleading the investors in relation to the performance of the older phones during the roll out of the updates.

Apple, on their part, have acknowledged the U.S. government's probes. "We have received questions from some government agencies and we are responding to them," said an Apple spokeswoman. She also repeated a statement released by the company at the height of the controversy: "never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades."

Meanwhile, CNBC noted that Apple shares went down 1.4 percent on Tuesday. With this latest development, it will be interesting to see how the market will respond.

Back in early January, Reuters reported that a Chinese consumer group Shanghai Consumer Council sent a letter to Apple, asking the company to shed some light on the issue. The group asked Apple to provide detailed information as to why the older iPhone models in China experienced slower performance. In addition, the group also demanded Apple to clearly lay down its plans on how it will address the problem.

Apple has since rolled out its battery replacement program where users of older iPhone models can have their old batteries replaced for new ones at a much cheaper price.