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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RE: Legality - Apple will lose
10/2/2007 1:55:14 AM
These are software modifications which are designed to use the device outside the original contract, which was clearly stated first thing on the buy page /box and would be agreed to by the user when the purchase is made?
I can understand both sides of the issue, but there is a very fine line that must be drawn somewhere...
Such as, if Apple has to replace every bricked iPhone or refund those that refuse to sign up to AT&T service, then should all motherboard makers be required to replace or refund mainboards that were flashed and ruined by custom BIOS's? Or GPUs that were flashed with modified BIOS's and ruined in one form or another? Or every other cell phone maker be required to refund phones that fail to unlock that were like the iPhone sold on the premise of a contract agreement? Where does the line get drawn is my question.
"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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