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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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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.

"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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