European regulator fines Apple for claims about water resistance of iPhones | GeekComparison

The iPhone 11 Pro Max
Enlarge / The iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Samuel Axon

Italy has again fined Apple for what the country’s regulators say are misleading marketing claims, though the fine is only €10 million ($12 million) – a pittance for a company like Apple.

This time, Italy’s Autorita Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) claims that Apple has told consumers that many iPhone models are water resistant, but the iPhones are not as resistant as Apple claims. In one example, Apple claimed that the iPhone 8 was rated IP67 for water and dust resistance, meaning the phone could survive under a meter of water for up to 30 minutes. But the Italian regulator says this is only the case under special laboratory conditions with static and pure water conditions.

An announcement by the AGCM specifically mentions the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Presumably, the claims would also apply to the iPhone 12 line, but that line has only just been introduced to the market.

After listing the affected models and the specific claims it’s up against, the AGCM went on to say that the problem is compounded by the fact that Apple’s standard warranty for iPhones typically doesn’t cover accidental water damage. (AppleCare+, a highly extended warranty service that Apple offers at extra cost, is.)

Although Apple lists IP67 or IP68 ratings for its various smartphones, the supporting documents still advise users not to submerge their iPhones. The regulator interprets Apple’s actions as an effort to put its best foot forward on marketing, even as it acknowledges in its customer support channels that the reality is more complex than a simple assessment.

Like most of its competitors, Apple has been subject to regular regulatory scrutiny of many areas of its business, particularly by European regulators, but also by those in the United States and other regions.

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