Print 67 comment(s) - last by Brockway.. on Nov 12 at 9:17 AM

  (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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RE: Don't repeal the best tax
By Luticus on 11/5/2010 12:37:00 PM , Rating: 3
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
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
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
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.

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