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: Understandable
By nolisi on 11/5/2010 12:52:57 PM , Rating: 2
The action that should be taken is getting a phone from a different company.

Great idea- however you run into a few logistical issues with this idea.

1) Many users switch to AT&T just for the iPhone. So now that the iPhone has failed on the user experience, they either have to pay termination fees to leave the company, 2) The alternative- pay for an unsubsidized phone within AT&T so as not to blow money on term. fees(depending on where they are in their contract cycle- my understanding is that AT&T doesn't allow you to take advantage of subsidized prices during initial portions of your contract).

I have a third option that you may not have considered, however, that would have alleviate the need for a lawsuit:

3)Apple should actually provide the claims of a great user experience with the products they sell. This has been the Apple advertising mantra for decades now, and this is what Jobs himself claims users are purchasing an Apple product for. And when they fail, they should replace the product with an equivalent or better product that works.

Just a thought.

RE: Understandable
By The Raven on 11/5/10, Rating: 0
RE: Understandable
By Fritzr on 11/6/2010 1:03:45 AM , Rating: 3
This has nothing to do with a guarantee of satisfaction, other than the simple guarantee of merchantability. Apple recommended an update. The update broke the phone. The update is not reversible. Who is responsible for paying to fix/replace the phone?

Spelled out in simple terms

Customer received an iPhone 3 that worked in a satisfactory manner.
Apple urged all iPhone 3 owners to "upgrade" their experience with IOS4.
Customers followed the instructions given by Apple.
Customers iPhone 3 no longer works in a satisfactory manner
Customer requests a fix for this loss of performance.
Apple replies "Buy a new iPhone" & You say buy a new not-iPhone.
Lawsuit says undo the damage so that my phone works in a satisfactory manner WITHOUT paying another $400+ to replace a phone that is unusable ONLY because Apple refuses to reinstall the earlier IOS.

The point of the lawsuit is simple. Apple directed iPhone owners to take action that seriously degraded the iPhone. Afterward Apple refused to fix the problem caused by doing what Apple directed.
Solution 1) Toss the phone out and $pay$ for a new phone.
Solution 2) Apple takes action to undo the damage caused by the Apple recommended upgrade.
Solution 3) Apple buys the customer a new phone
The lawsuit is asking the court to force Apple to fix the problem or pay the cost of replacement.

Apart from a tarnish on the bright Apple reputation Apple supporters should be supporting this lawsuit as it directly affects the way Apple supports Apple products. Opponents of Apple of course will also be fans of this as it tarnishes Apple's reputation.

No matter which side of the fence you are on, Apple broke the phones and now refuses to fix them.

RE: Understandable
By The Raven on 11/8/2010 1:05:07 PM , Rating: 2
Lawsuit says undo the damage so that my phone works in a satisfactory manner WITHOUT paying another $400+ to replace a phone that is unusable ONLY because Apple refuses to reinstall the earlier IOS.

If it is as simple as "reinstalling the earlier IOS" then why doesn't Apple do that and look like the good guys? Because they can't for whatever reason. If you think they won't do it because of some less than virtuaous reasons, then why do you want a phone from a company like that?

So basically you are saying they have to operate on each phone until they can alleviate the problems. Or give them a free replacement of their old model. Not going to happen. Repair is phyically impossible and not cost effective at all and old models are no longer made, so you are SOL.

If it bricked their phone even someone like me who doesn't like Apple finds it hard to believe that Apple would try to dismiss you if you brought a phone in under warranty because the phone was bricked due to a S/W update. I think there are already laws about that. But as with 100% of other products out there, if you are out of warranty, you are out of luck.

Lesson learned. Don't buy another iPhone. My family has lost a lot more than $400 on crappy cars. And luckily for me I haven't had to pay the same price because I learned from their mistakes. Maybe we should sue.

If you can't afford to take a risk on a phone that costs as much as the iPhone, G2 or whatever, then don't buy it. I guarantee you that this wouldn't happen with the "free" phones that the providers give out. If you can prove otherwise then you would be proving that this suit might just have some merit to it. Also it would have some merit to it if these people bought something other than an iPhone 4 as an interim solution. They should go down the list and dismiss everyone who bought an iPhone 4 to replace the 'bricked' phone from involvement in the case. I think Apple keeps that all on record lol.

RE: Understandable
By Fritzr on 11/9/2010 5:05:40 PM , Rating: 2
Why Apple is unable/unwilling to offer an iOS 3 install utility to downgrade older iPhones that have been affected is something that Apple is not discussing.

Currently owners of older iPhones who installed the Apple recommended update can live with reduced function or buy a new phone. Since Apple is currently unwilling to fix the problem...most will be buying a new phone to use while waiting (years?) until their older iPhones are repaired or compensation is received for damages.

As far as your recommendation that anyone who has purchased a newer iPhone as a replacement for the bricked iPhone...why should they be penalized for failing to buy a phone that does not support the OS they are familiar with and the apps they use routinely? You say they should be entitled to compensation if they buy an Android or WP7 phone as a replacement, but not if they buy an iOS4 phone. Why? Regardless of which phone they buy to regain the function that was destroyed by the Apple recommended update distributed by Apple, the old phone remains bricked until such time as Apple issues a fix for the problem or issues a credit good for upgrade to an iOS4 compatible handset.

All this lawsuit is asking is compensation from Apple for damage done by Apple to iPhone owners who followed instructions given by Apple. The lawsuit is not asking the courts to require these victims of Apple's customer service to shun Apple as a condition of receiving court ordered relief. Only that Apple undo the damage or compensate those harmed.

RE: Understandable
By The Raven on 11/10/2010 5:12:15 PM , Rating: 2
The lawsuit is not asking the courts to require these victims of Apple's customer service to shun Apple as a condition of receiving court ordered relief.

This is pretty much why I think this is bogus. If they could enforce this, it would be great.

Like if a man gets beaten by his wife every night presses charges, files for divorce and then marries the woman again when he gets out: he is asking for it. The law really shouldn't cover people like that. Of course, that is a matter of life and death. To extend that protection to someone who just buys a phone that doesn't work is stupid.

But of course none of this matters because there is no way to prevent people from crawling back to Apple. It would be great if the law helped those who helped themselves, but that is not the case.

And please don't get me wrong. I am not really advocating for that. I'm just saying that if they do want to insist on a suit, then that ideally would be the condition. I'm advocating that the law stay out of this. These people need to live with their decision like the rest of us who are too poor/too smart to pay for an iPhone.

"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference

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