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  (Source: Projectionist)

  (Source: Limited Edition)
Did Apple trick customers to force upgrades?

Apple received national criticism in 2007 when it "bricked" unlocked iPhones via an OS update, rendering the phones useless.  That move led to multiple lawsuits and a firestorm of negative publicity.

Now Apple has been accused of a different kind of bricking.  According to a suit filed in Superior Court in San Diego this time around Apple used an OS update not to render useless just unlocked iPhones, but locked and unlocked models alike in a bid to force users of older iPhone models to upgrade.

The suit stems from the fact that the iOS 4 upgrade leaves the iPhone 3G unresponsive and hard to use.  Despite the fact that this phenomena appears almost universal, Apple urged unwitting iPhone 3G users to upgrade to the new operating system.

States the complaint, "The true fact of the matter, as verifiable by information technology experts, is that the iOS 4 is a substantial 'downgrade' for earlier iPhone devices and renders many of them virtually useless 'iBricks'.  Nonetheless, in reasonable and detrimental reliance upon Apple's false representations, false statements and false claims of full compatibility, thousands upon thousands of iPhone 3 users were intentionally misled into installing iOS 4 on their devices."

The suit notes that Apple provides users with no means to perform a re-install of an earlier operating system version.  Apple's promotion of iOS 4 to iPhone 3G users when it likely knew that it would render their phones useless and that they would be unable to restore their phones, was likely a scheme to force users of older models to upgrade.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of plaintiff Bianca Wofford, a iPhone 3G owner and is seeking class action status.  Ms. Wofford recalls that after installing iOS 4, as suggested by iTunes, that her iPhone 3G's performance greatly suffered.  She states, "While not completely disabled, the operability of the device was significantly degraded and the device was no longer reliable."

DailyTech reported on this issue with older iPhones back when iOS 4 launched.  iPhone 3GS models also reportedly suffered a performance hit, though not as big a one.  Apple's forums are filled with a deluge of complaints about the poor performance of iOS 4 on older model phones.

Ms. Wofford is seeking for Apple to reimburse every plaintiff in the class the cost of their phone, plus $5,000 in additional damages.

Apple would not comment to us on this lawsuit, and their standard policy is not to comment on lawsuits (which they've had more than a few of).




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Don't repeal the best tax
By The Raven on 11/5/2010 11:21:30 AM , Rating: 0
If I buy an iPhone and the thing craps out on me (for whatever reason: upgrade, hardware, etc.) and I turn around and buy a new one to fix it??? That is the stupid tax in effect.

How can this claim be valid? I guess MS could have a lawsuit on their hands because many of the people who bought a new 360 "S" did so because they had a bad experience (RRoD) with the previous iteration.

If people feel they have to upgrade because they have something invested in these devices then there might be anti-trust issues afoot here. But this suit certainly does not address those in any way.




RE: Don't repeal the best tax
By xti on 11/5/10, Rating: -1
RE: Don't repeal the best tax
By The Raven on 11/5/2010 11:30:50 AM , Rating: 4
To be honest, I am bashing someone who bought an Apple product and by extension the Church of Jobs.

This illustrates a typical difference between typical Apple devotees and "the rest of us" (which includes some Apple customers BTW). The rest of us just switch products when it turns out we bought an inferior product. Apple users try their best to make it seem that they never made a mistake in following the herd in the first place.


RE: Don't repeal the best tax
By melgross on 11/5/10, Rating: 0
RE: Don't repeal the best tax
By Luticus on 11/5/2010 12:37:00 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
That's really silly. First of all, Apple hasn't stopped supporting the 3G. I had one until recently, when my family upgraded to the 4. While it's true that certain functions slowed down with OS 4, others didn't. Then Apple came out with 4.1 which speeded up most of the slowed down functions. It's not as fast as a 3GS, and not nearly as fast as the 4, but considering it has much less RAM, a slower cpu, and slower gpu, it does fine.

While it pains me to do this, i have to agree with you. I also think this is silly. If people upgrade it's their own fault. However, I am of the opinion that apple should give users a way to "roll back" to the prior OS if they so choose. Don't send out an update (specifically one as big as a completely new OS) if you aren't going to give users a way to undo it.


RE: Don't repeal the best tax
By wallijonn on 11/5/2010 1:05:13 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
If people upgrade it's their own fault.


Mark my words: There will come a day when updates will occur automatically and cannot be turned off - which will probably degrade performance.

Take for example Sony's PS3. If you don't update to firmware 3.5, which no longer will allow the installation of Linux, and you insert the movie "Predators," it will tell you that the license has expired and that you will need to update. Once you update former functionality will be gone. And, unlike in times past when the update was included on the BD movie disc, one now has to manually update the firmware via the Internet or a disc.

So all Apple has to do is to force the expiration of some license on the iPhone and you will be forced to upgrade.


RE: Don't repeal the best tax
By The Raven on 11/5/2010 3:12:00 PM , Rating: 3
I'm pretty sure Apple already did this with some of the first upgrades (pre-3GS). My buddy had a bunch of unauthorized apps on his phone and when he hooked it up to his MacBook to sync music or pictures it forced him to do the update in order to sync with iTunes and wiped out all of those apps. Degrade performance? Yup, that's what it did. Afterwards he could not reinstall them either. From what I remember it was Apple's move to get unauthorized apps off of the phones. I don't remember all of the details. Maybe someone can straighten me out on this as it was some time ago.

But I know that it was a forced update (if you wanted to connect your phone to your PC anyway, which is pretty basic functionality since the thing doesn't have a card slot).


RE: Don't repeal the best tax
By The Raven on 11/5/2010 2:59:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If people upgrade it's their own fault.

While I completely disagree with the dullard that you are agreeing with, this is exactly what I am saying. (and BTW, your comment make it look like you think MY comment is silly when I gather you are saying that the suit is silly. Which is what I am saying). This suit is poppycock. If you think that Apple did something wrong here, then don't buy their "new and improved" replacement. These people need to learn to live with the choices they made like the rest of us. And if Apple IS doing this on purpose, then those are the dice that they decide to roll and they can expect a loss of trust and less sales in the future. But there is no need for this suit and these people need to get over themselves and stop playing the victim.


RE: Don't repeal the best tax
By False Profit on 11/9/2010 8:54:21 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
If people upgrade it's their own fault.


This is one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever read... If a company provides a software update for their product, it is not the user's responsibility to insure the quality of said update.

If Apple is trapping users into a situation where they lose functionality of their current devices (i.e. providing an update and no way to roll back), I hope this lawsuit does succeed. Not because I own any Apple products (I don't), and not because I hate Apple (I like most of their products, just not the prices :-P), but because of the irresponsible control this would give corporations over consumers.

All of us have at least ten's of electronic devices in our lives, some of us have hundreds. None of us has the time to insure that "upgrades" don't degrade our current usage.

The ONLY time a corporation should be allowed to lobotomize the functionality of a device is when there are legal concerns involved. When a corporation releases an "upgrade" that degrades a previous product line's performance directly after a new version is released is extremely suspicious and deserves investigation.


RE: Don't repeal the best tax
By Reclaimer77 on 11/5/2010 12:57:19 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Honestly, I don't understand the "bricked" problem.


What's not to understand? They released software updates that they didn't test (or more likely tested but didn't care) across all their lines of phones, and caused some models to have degraded performance to the point that they were unusable.

quote:
It's interesting that the iPhone still gets the best ratings.


Not interesting, just sad. Also what does that have to do with this article and situation?


RE: Don't repeal the best tax
By The Raven on 11/5/2010 2:45:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That's really silly. First of all, Apple hasn't stopped supporting the 3G. I had one until recently, when my family upgraded to the 4. While it's true that certain functions slowed down with OS 4, others didn't. Then Apple came out with 4.1 which speeded up most of the slowed down functions. It's not as fast as a 3GS, and not nearly as fast as the 4, but considering it has much less RAM, a slower cpu, and slower gpu, it does fine. Honestly, I don't understand the "bricked" problem. Apple's support is much better than support for Android, which has to go through the carriers, and may not arrive at all. It's interesting that the iPhone still gets the best ratings.

This portion of your comment is completely irrelevant to the conversation/article. If you don't get the bricking problem then good for you. This is about people who do.

And if this happened to Android phones then the same would apply. I'm not sure why you even bring that up.

The 'fact' that Apple gets better ratings is explained in my comment.
quote:
Apple users try their best to make it seem that they never made a mistake in following the herd in the first place.

BTW It is not getting better ratings when it comes to sales as Android devices are out pacing it.

You obviously are one of the afore mentioned "Apple devotees" and not one of "the rest of us" who don't give a crap who makes our products or how in vogue they are as long as they work. I have plenty of experience with iPhones and Apple products to make a judgement call. If you don't have any experience you can go down to the damn "retard bar" in the Apple store and try the crap out.

So YOUR ignorance of the subject matter and the topic of the article aside, do you disagree with my point that you shouldn't return to the same vendor (be it Apple or anyone else) if they sold you a crappy product? If you disagree, then good luck in life because there won't be a Steve Jobs around forever to tell you what to buy or do. Grow a pair and make some decisions on your own. And take responsibility for your own decisions, unlike the people involved in this suit.


RE: Don't repeal the best tax
By nolisi on 11/5/2010 3:32:44 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Apple's support is much better than support for Android, which has to go through the carriers, and may not arrive at all.


It's interesting you make this claim while making this claim:

quote:
You obviously don't use Apple products, so your views are somewhat ignorant.


I experienced my first issue with an Android device in 2+ years- I purchased a T-Mobile G2 (at release) that turns out has an issue maintaining the USB connection with systems. I placed a call to T-Mobile, after 15-20 minutes of troubleshooting, they're sending me a new replacement. They didn't tell me it's "how I'm holding the phone", or tell me to purchase a specific sleeve for my phone, nor did they recommend I should upgrade to their now newer MyTouch 4G. They did the simple thing of honoring the warranty and ensuring I had a useable device. Android support is there, and as far as I can tell, is as good as Apple's, maybe better based on what I've heard from a few friends who have had the issues reported in the media.


RE: Don't repeal the best tax
By cmdrdredd on 11/6/2010 6:35:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Apple's support is much better than support for Android, which has to go through the carriers, and may not arrive at all.


Wrong. My Android based Droid phone was fixed for free from Motorola directly where as Apple wanted $130 to replace my broken iPhone 3G. Guess why I don't own an iPhone anymore? HTC also has really awesome support.

quote:
Honestly, I don't understand the "bricked" problem.


It would be like Ford telling you there's a computer update fr a car. Someone says "ok well, I should get it cause it fixes things like they said" Then the person's car doesn't run properly and Ford tells them they should get a new car. It's a stretch to use this example, but it's essentially saying if you want the new features buy a new phone even though we still "support" the old device.

quote:
It's interesting that the iPhone still gets the best ratings. So I guess upgrading from another device is the way to go, not the other way around.


It does? How come consumer reports won't recommend the iPhone 4? How come numerous tech sites claim Apple's device doesn't hold a candle to the new Android devices like the EVO or Droid X? The iPhone's screen is garbage compared to the Samsung Galaxy S phones unless all you understand is the resolution numbers and don't know how the tech works. Not to mention the new Windows 7 phones having the best social network integration available and better than iTunes music support (yes it is that good). Apple can market the device, but that doesn't make it the best. It gets good ratings sure, but most of those people are rating it based on the cool factor and all that. Just like the Zune vs iPod. The Zune IMO is a better device with vastly superior sound quality and a better screen yet the name iPod alone sells a device. Pathetic at best.


By inperfectdarkness on 11/8/2010 5:12:36 PM , Rating: 2
one key difference i've noticed between apple and pc owners:

pc owners lament having to buy a new machine/component.

apple owners are proud of every single apple product they've ever bought; regardless of how high the count is.


RE: Don't repeal the best tax
By R3T4rd on 11/5/2010 11:34:58 AM , Rating: 2
Most company that makes software tests everything out and even has a way to back out/downgrade of the upgrade you don't like it. Apple on the other hand is forcing you to just live with it, no backing out/downgrading, etc. Apparently I find this news worthy and another thing to tell friends and family if they choose to purchase the iPhone. So I find your statement of "DT Bashing Apple" to be ludicrus at best.


RE: Don't repeal the best tax
By drycrust3 on 11/5/2010 1:57:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Most company that makes software tests everything out and even has a way to back out/downgrade of the upgrade you don't like it.

I agree. However, in their defence (yeah, I know, I actually started this by bagging them as well, but then thinking about their situation made me realise there was a bit more to this than I had initially thought), because of high demand it may well be that there are actually thousands of variants of the iPhone 3G. It could easily be that it was actually impossible for Apple to have tested the OS on every single variant because they didn't have samples of every single variant made and may not actually know what variants there are. The only guarantee they have is that all the phones did pass certain quality standards.
Some variations may have had very short production runs, e.g. just 100 phones (because of left over parts from one supply contract and a shortage on another), or used "unauthorised parts" (e.g. the storage chip bit rate was lower than what Apple specified) so that no one at the factory actually bothered to (or wanted to) send a sample to Apple. As long as the phone passed known performance standards (e.g. stores x number of songs, make and receive phone calls using y and z frequency bands, 7 hours of video, etc), and who's going to worry if the performance is a tiny bit shy of what they want (e.g. only does 6:59 hours of video), the phone would have been deemed sellable so it got a "passed" sticker.
Sure, not having a rollback capability is a bit slack, but since the phone doesn't have the infamous PC BIOS chip that allows one to reboot without the OS working, I guess one could argue that even if a rollback capability was included there wouldn't be any way of initiating the rollback.


RE: Don't repeal the best tax
By Targon on 11/5/2010 2:27:42 PM , Rating: 2
While there might have been different "lot" numbers, the overall specs are the same between different phones of the same model. This means that except for cases of a DEFECTIVE part that only affects certain units, the update would have an identical impact on all phones of the same model.

Software problems with individual downloaded applications are a different issue, but in this case, you have a new OS version which is PUSHED by the manufacturer causing a degradation in performance with no way of backing out of the OS upgrade.

This situation would be like a car company issuing a recall notice on your car that has a net effect of reducing horsepower by over ten percent and then refusing to do anything about it. If a manufacturer says "this is a good thing for your device/product", the vast majority will not question it. It would be unusual for a customer to second-guess the manufacturer about a "free" update.


RE: Don't repeal the best tax
By cmdrdredd on 11/6/2010 6:27:10 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
If I buy an iPhone and the thing craps out on me (for whatever reason: upgrade, hardware, etc.) and I turn around and buy a new one to fix it??? That is the stupid tax in effect.


Quite frankly you didn't read the article at all. It says that if you have an older 3G or 3Gs iPhone and still use it because it works and then see "oh iTunes tells me there's a new OS update. Apple says it has new features! I'm going to install it." and after installing it the performance of the device is cut in half and it crashes and generally doesn't function as it did prior to the update. Apple says it's supported on your device but their advice is to buy the new iPhone model. That would be like Sony or Microsoft releasing an OS update for their game console, but after install the games run at 15fps and are unplayable. Then they suggest buying a newer model system to fix the issue even when the documentation says it's compatable across the product line.

It has nothing to do with people buying a new iPhone to fix a broken old one as you suggest. The phone works, but it does NOT work correctly with the new update and the claim is that Apple did it on purpose.


RE: Don't repeal the best tax
By The Raven on 11/8/2010 12:16:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
and renders many of them virtually useless 'iBricks'

I didn't read the article AT ALL? Then what the hell is that?
Let me make an outlandish claim that YOU "obviously didn't read the article AT ALL."

Yeah, let me comment on something that I didn't read. That makes sense.

Let's just put this all aside and say that the update is breaking the functionality of the phones to various extents. I stand by my comment that you should not do what you said, and listen to the company who gave me the crappy device/crapped out my device and follow their advice when they tell me to buy a new one.
quote:
It has nothing to do with people buying a new iPhone to fix a broken old one as you suggest.

I didn't say that they said "buying a new phone will fix the old one". It was that "buying a new phone will fix their problem of not having a crappy phone".
You obviously didn't read my comment!!! ;-)


"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer














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