Image: APPLE
Image: APPLE

Paris — Apple faces a French criminal probe into allegations from consumer groups that it’s deliberately shortening the life of iPhones.

The investigation, confirmed by Paris prosecutors on Tuesday, comes just weeks after the US technology giant apologised to customers for software changes it says unintentionally reduced the performance of older smartphones to prevent unexpected shutdowns.

The authorities opened a preliminary investigation on January 5 against Apple for "programmed obsolescence" and "deceit" after receiving a complaint, according to an official who asked not to be named in line with policy. AFP reported the probe on Monday.

Emile Meunier, a lawyer for Halte à l’Obsolescence Programmée (HOP), the consumer and environmental protection association that lodged the complaint, said in an e-mail he will share statements from clients that were "wronged" with investigators. He called on Apple to compensate its customers for the damage and stop such practices.

Apple representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Seiko Epson also faces a probe in France into suspected planned obsolescence.

Apple has been confronted by a slew of lawsuits over the software tweak, which had led to noticeably slower performance in iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s models. Some accused Apple of intentionally slowing older iPhones to encourage consumers to replace them with newer, more expensive models. The retail price of the iPhone X, which went on sale in November, starts at $999.