A U.S. District Judge has dismissed a class action lawsuit filed against Apple for its handling of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in ARM-based processors, which the plaintiffs claimed slowed down iPhones, iPads, and other devices with A-series chips.
According to the ruling obtained by AppleInsider, the case was thrown out for lack of standing. The plaintiffs asserted that JetStream and GeekBench 4 benchmarks demonstrated that iOS 11.2.2 caused greater performance degradation than claimed in some of Apple’s own testing and that the Department of Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team supported this assertion (CERT). However, Davila characterized their argument as “based on a self-serving and selective interpretation of [the defendant’s] test results.”
The GeekBench 4 data indicated a “decrease in performance ‘in most areas,'” but not in all, Davila clarified, adding that CERT’s data demonstrated that slowdowns were common but not universal.
The judge wrote, “Even if the GeekBench 4 benchmark test results and CERT report are liberally construed in favor of Plaintiffs, these reports only support an inference that some users, not the majority and certainly not all users, experienced slower performance in their iDevices.”
Davila also pointed out that the plaintiffs were not compelled to stop using their devices due to the hacking risk posed by the vulnerabilities, and that they did not provide evidence that their devices’ value had decreased due to performance issues.
Meltdown and Spectre were discovered to affect all modern processors, including ARM-based chips such as Apple’s A-series SoCs. Initially believed to be limited to Intel silicon, Meltdown and Spectre were found to affect all modern processors. Apple issued a statement shortly after initial reports were made public confirming that all Mac and iOS CPUs are affected by the security flaw.
Apple began mitigating Mac vulnerabilities in December 2017, while iOS devices received software and security updates in January 2018. In January 2018, additional fixes for macOS High Sierra and older Mac operating systems were also released.
Apple was alleged to have known about Meltdown and Spectre since June 2017, when the lawsuit was initially filed about a year ago. Apple did not acknowledge that its chips were vulnerable until early January 2018, after implementing the aforementioned patches.