It's been a long, hot summer for Apple, and the company is probably ready to bid August good-bye and to move on to September.
In the latest setback, the European Union this week ordered Apple to pay $14.5 billion in back taxes to the government of Ireland. Remarkably, the Irish government is contesting the ruling, since its favorable corporate tax rates have been key to persuading companies like Apple to set up shop in its country.
Here at home, Apple reportedly faces a lawsuit focusing on the iPhone. Reuters reports a proposed class-action lawsuit claims there is a design defect in the iPhone 6 that causes the screen to become unresponsive while in use.
The complaint, which Reuters says was filed in federal court in San Jose, Calif., claims the problem is due to Apple not using a metal “shield” or “underfill” to provide adequate protection to vital components.
The suit alleges the protection was provided on the iPhone 5 but discontinued on the iPhone 6. Apple has not responded to the allegation.
iPhone 7 on the way
Instead, the company is likely looking ahead to next week, when it is expected to unveil the iPhone 7, and perhaps announce upgrades to the Apple Watch. A new survey may give Apple reason for optimism.
The survey of 1,000 current iPhone users showed that half plan to upgrade to the next iPhone when it becomes available, presumably sometime in September. That's a marked improvement from March, when only 22% said they planned to upgrade.
Half is a pretty sizable percentage under any circumstances, but today, when cell phone carriers no longer subsidize new device purchases, the bar for upgrading has become significantly higher, since the consumer must pay the full retail price.
"Apple customers have been hesitant to upgrade their smartphones this year," said Chris Mason, co-founder and CEO of Branding Brand, which conducted the survey. "In March, there was high anticipation that Apple would launch its newest generation of iPhones, but the 4-inch iPhone SE felt like a step back for consumers that enjoy more innovative Apple products."
The leaked details about possible new features on the iPhone 7 may also be responsible for increased enthusiasm. Forty-nine percent of those surveyed said they were excited about possible camera upgrades in the new device. About 20% said they looked forward to a new operating system.