Class Action Suit May be Pending for Apple
October 1, 2007 9:28 AM
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Apple's latest iPhone moves may have earned it a new class-action law suit--Apple's answer: purchase a new iPhone.
, Apple Inc. disabled unlocked iPhones with its Firmware 1.1.1 update by putting them into activation limbo. The unlocked phones could not make any calls until activated with a valid AT&T card and iTunes. Even then, the phones would sometimes still be locked, according to preliminary reports. Apple covered its bases, by providing a "slide for emergency" option which allows users to make 911 calls on their newly-bricked iPhone.
While many users simply are not going to install the update or are hoping for a cracked version of the patch to be released, some are seeking legal avenues to fight Apple's strike on the modding/hacking/homebrew community.
On Saturday, posts by user myndex appeared in Apple's iPhone Forums, proposing three groupings of users who could seek legal action and calling for users whose iPhones were rendered inoperable to contact the poster with answers to a list of questions detailing their iPhone situation.
The posts were taken down relatively quickly, but screenshots were posted here [
]. Additionally, a quick search reveals that Myndex is a tech and research group that appears to use Macintosh computers. Whether the owner of the Apple forums handle is associated with this group is unknown.
Apple has protected itself by including a large amount of legal phrasing in its packaging, instruction manuals, and online materials, warning users against unlocking their iPhones, which they say violates their contract.
Noah Funderburg, an assistant dean at the University of Alabama School of Law,
as saying. "Anyone who hacks must know that they are taking certain risks," Funderburg told the paper. "If they aren’t willing to assume the risks upfront--like a brick iPhone--then maybe they should not hack the device."
Jennifer Bowcock, an Apple spokeswoman indicated that Apple was unapologetic about the situation. "The inability to use your phone after making unauthorized modifications isn’t covered under the iPhone warranty. If the damage was due to use of an unauthorized software application, voiding their warranty, they should purchase a new iPhone,” said Bowcock
In some cases Apple appears to have not only killed unlockers, but those who simply were participating in the homebrew/3rd-party applications community. Ross Good, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign had not expected to be affected as he had only installed a couple of seemingly harmless third party applications, including one for instant messaging. After updating, he found his phone returned to the activation screen and would not activate, though he had a valid AT&T contract. His phone is now among the growing number of phones "bricked" by the update.
No word was received from Apple on what its stance was on the damage done by its updates to non-unlocked users.
Apple is likely to face increased scrutinity, as well as possible legal assaults following its attack on unlockers. It appears that many, including even non-unlockers were affected by the update. Apple's is entirely unapologetic to those affected. Their answer--get a new iPhone.
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It would have been nice...
10/1/2007 4:07:30 PM
It would have been nice if the 1.1.1 update zapped your phone to a factory fresh state, not kill it. I am sure that was possible. It sounds as though they are punishing "enthusiasts."
I have an unlocked iphone right now as I have tmobile through the end of the year and was going to switch to AT&T once my contract expired. I haven't updated yet, but it would have been wise for Apple to say, hey, if you update, you will be required to join AT&T and won't be able to unlock you phone. Not say, "Buy a new phone."
Hopefully the litigation would give them an opportunity to let unlockers "come back." Otherwise the Hackers who devise an "relock" will be the heroes and Apple would look like the "bully."
Even Microsoft politely tells you that you may have a counterfeit OS, but doesn't brick your computer. (Bad analogy, but I am at work)
RE: It would have been nice...
10/1/2007 6:19:25 PM
I completely agree with you and your opinion. Apple probably could have had the programmed the update to return the phone to a factory fresh state. Rather, their actions seem to have malicious intent and they certainly did not seem to make any attempt to mitigate damages.
"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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