iPhone owners waiting for compensation for the Batterygate scandal might not receive payments until the start of next year.
Earlier this month, it was announced that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal challenging the agreed settlement in the long-running case, in which Apple had agreed to pay up to $500 million to affected iPhone owners. The company was accused of artificially throttling the performance of iPhones to preserve faltering battery life, although Apple has always denied any wrongdoing.
The dismissal of the appeal removed the final obstacle to paying compensation to affected customers, and led to several reports claiming that the money would be paid immediately. Affected customers have already waited almost three years for compensation, with the deadline for submitting claims passing in October 2020.
However, Mark C. Molumphy, a partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LL—the co-lead counsel for the Apple customers in the case—told me that payments will be made “toward the end of this year [or] beginning of next year.”
Batterygate Compensation Amount
There is some good news for iPhone owners who’ve waited all this time for payment: the amount of compensation is likely to be slightly higher than what has been widely reported.
Many reports suggested that a single claim would earn $65 of compensation, but Molumphy told me that the law firm “currently estimates about $75-$90 per device”.
The $75-$90 figure is at the lower end of the range of potential payouts. The initial settlement document stated that each claimant could receive “up to a maximum of $500 per device,” depending on the number of claimants that came forward. However, at one point, the payout per affected device was estimated to be as low as $25.
Only those customers who submitted a legitimate claim before October 2020 will be eligible for the payout. Affected handsets include the iPhone 6, iPhone 7 and variants of those devices.
The iPhone 6 was originally launched as far back as 2014, which shows you how long customers have had to wait to be compensated for the issue.
The Big Winners
Documents released during the case showed that there were more than 2.2 million approved claims, pending deduplication.
That would theoretically leave each claim with a payout of more than $200 if all of the money were going directly to affected customers, but legal expenses and fees are deducted from the payout.
The big winners are, of course, the lawyers. The court awarded the attorneys $80.6 million in fees and almost another $1 million in expenses. Significant further expenses are incurred for the administration of the claims and settlements.
The lawyers justified the scale of their fees in previous submissions to the court, claiming it was a high-risk case to prosecute. “Defendant Apple, one of the largest and most well-resourced companies in the world, was represented by two national law firms that vigorously defended Apple throughout the litigation,” the lawyers claimed in a court motion.
“Plaintiffs withstood multiple motions to dismiss, reviewed millions of pages of documents, took and defended a total of 19 depositions, and filed and defended numerous discovery and other motions. Moreover, there was no guarantee that Plaintiffs would have succeeded at class certification, summary judgment, or at trial.”