Apple, AT&T Face Multiple iPhone Lawsuits - InformationWeek

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2/4/2009
04:46 PM
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Apple, AT&T Face Multiple iPhone Lawsuits

Four lawsuits have been filed in the last two weeks regarding the touch-screen smartphone's ability to surf at 3G speeds and cracks in the casing.

The iPhone 3G was the most popular smartphone of 2008, and it sold more than 13 million units. But not every customer has been happy with the device. Four lawsuits have been filed in the last two weeks regarding the 3G connectivity and the durability of the device.

Separate suits have been filed in Florida, New Jersey, and Texas, and they all basically claim that the iPhone 3G is a flawed device that cannot provide adequate 3G reception. The actions are seeking an injunction preventing the companies from spreading "false" advertising and punitive damages.

All four complaints cite a report from the Swedish engineering publication Ny Teknik, which said Apple's handsets aren't sensitive enough to adequately receive the 3G signal. Some of the complaints also bolster their claims with the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority's decision to ban multiple iPhone ads because of their claims that the device can access the entire Internet.

The most recent complaints also said Apple's touch-screen smartphone is prone to developing cracks in its casing, particularly around the camera. It charges AT&T and Apple with marketing the device while knowing of these flaws.

"The iPhones have had well-known and documented issues regarding the premature 'wear-and-tear' of the iPhones' housing, including the formation of hairline cracks in the iPhones' casing," one of the Texas complaints said.

The second-generation iPhone was plagued with 3G reception woes when it was released last summer. Internet message boards quickly filled up with complaints that the latest iPhone couldn't get connected to high-speed data networks, would crash, and had spotty call reception.

Apple did not respond to press requests about the lawsuits, and it typically doesn't comment on pending litigation. The company has acknowledged there were 3G communication problems, but it said subsequent firmware updates should have fixed those issues.

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