The law firms of Folkenflik & McGerity and Hoffman & Lazear have filed a $1.2 billion class action suit on behalf of iPhone owners against Apple and AT&T Mobility (AT&T’s cellular unit) in US District Court. The case, Paul Holman and Lucy Rivello v. Apple, Inc., AT&T Mobility, LLC., claims that the companies’ agreements to restrict iPhone users to using only the AT&T cellular network for voice and data, and to restrict users to using only applications from Apple, run afoul of Federal antitrust laws, California antitrust laws, and California unfair trade practice laws. The suit goes on to say that Apple and AT&T are liable for “computer trespass”, based on the recent 1.1.1 iPhone software release, which disabled many SIM unlocks, third-party software, and left some users’ phones inoperable. The suit claims these changes were not technically required for the new features Apple was offering in the update.
“There is little question that Apple and AT&T have misused Apple’s programs to improperly coerce consumers to buy only AT&T voice and data services and only Apple programs. That is unlawful under both Federal and state laws, and any terms in Apple’s and AT&T’s contracts to the contrary are also unlawful and unenforceable,” said Max Folkenflik, one of the attorneys on the case. “Apple and AT&T have no more right or technological justification for forcing iPhone users to use only AT&T service and Apple applications than Ford would to force car owners to use only Ford batteries or tires, or than the maker of your television has to force you to watch only Fox or CBS.”
The suit calls for compensatory damages of $200 million, which are trebled according to law to $600 million, as well as for punitive damages of $600 million, and for injunctions prohibiting the alleged unlawful conduct and voiding the unlawful contract terms. More information, including a complete copy of the class action complaint, is available on the lawsuit’s website, appleclassaction.net.
A new “jailbreak” process, allowing for installation of third-party software on both iPhone and iPod touch units running software v1.1.1 and first discovered by members of the iPhone Dev Team, has been confirmed by Engadget and has been posted online. While the process is still very technical, and not ready for widespread use, it does represent a large technical hurdle overcome, particularly in the case of the iPod touch, which up until now has been unable to run any third-party native software. It has been confirmed that the iPhone’s Mail and Maps applications, along with other third-party applications, are now running on the iPod touch.
Alongside these developments, iPhoneSimFree, makers of a commercial iPhone unlocking solution, have announced an unlock solution for phones running software v1.1.1, as well as an “unbricking” process for iPhone owners who saw their previously unlocked devices rendered inoperable by the 1.1.1 software update. It is worth noting that the solutions being offered by iPhoneSimFree rely on the same TIFF exploit used in the new “jailbreak” process; this exploit, found in MobileSafari, also poses a security risk, and as such is likely to be “fixed” by Apple in a future software update.
Apple has told Thompson Financial News that while the iPhone is scheduled to launch in Germany and the UK on Nov. 9, it has “not announced any other country launch dates in Europe.” This statement follows remarks made by France Telecom CEO Didier Lombard that the group has signed a contract with Apple to make Orange the distributor of the iPhone in France and that the device’s French launch would take place “during November.” Prior to this, several press reports had appeared claiming there was a dispute impeding contract talks; also, it was reported that a French law calling for sales of both a locked and unlocked version of the iPhone might pose a challenge for negotiators.
Apple has debuted three new iPhone television ads, featuring iPhone users against black backdrops, explaining how the devices has changed their lives. In the first spot, “Mankind”, iPhone owner Doug talks about Visual Voicemail, proclaiming it to be “one of the greatest advancements in the history of mankind.” The second spot, “Meredith”, features a story of how Elliot used his iPhone to lookup the name of his girlfriend’s boss’ fiance before she arrived at a dinner, saving them the embarrassment of admitting to not knowing her name. In the third ad, titled “One Thing”, iPhone owner Stefano explains how he no longer has to carry a bag around to hold his camera, iPod, and two separate cell phones, because the iPhone replaces them all. All three ads are airing now and are available for viewing on Apple’s web site.
A French law that would require the iPhone to be sold both with and without a contract may delay the launch of the device in the country, reports MarketWatch. According to the report, French daily Les Echos quotes a source from French Telecom’s Orange as stating, “The risk we’re evaluating this week is that Apple crosses France off”. The law requiring the sale of the iPhone without a contract could potentially undermine any revenue-sharing agreements between Apple and Orange; it has been speculated that Apple has revenue-sharing agreements in place with every iPhone carrier. A spokeswoman from Orange had previously confirmed that the company has signed an agreement with Apple to carry the iPhone in France.
As we noted last week, included in Apple’s iPhone Software version 1.1.1 update were several security fixes for the phone’s Bluetooth, Mail, and Safari software. According to a Computerworld report, this drew the ire of security analysts, who believe that vendors should separate functionality and security updates, especially when the update may have unwanted consequences for some users. “With the iPhone update, Apple is now producing a fear of taking their patches,” said Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle Network Security Inc. “If they release a functionality update and security fixes at the same time in the future, some users will think twice about applying it.” Garter Inc.‘s John Pescatore added, “There should definitely be a separation between security and functionality. Users shouldn’t be forced to accept new functionality to get security fixes.” Apple has traditionally offered a mix of standalone security updates and bundled security fixes for its Mac OS X operating system.
Apple has posted its iPhone Human Interface Guidelines (HIG), a document meant to help developers create usable applications for the device. The iPhone HIG offers developers in-depth information on the iPhone’s user interface, the concepts behind it, and how to design for it. Of particular interest to some may be a note from the HIG which leaves room for possible future native third-party iPhone applications. It states, “Currently, developers create web applications for iPhone, not native applications. Therefore, this document focuses solely on the presentation of web applications and other web content on iPhone.” The document is available for viewing online or as a PDF download. [via Daring Fireball]
SquareTrade has announced its new accidental damage warranty for the iPhone. The warranty, which guarantees repair or reimbursement within five days, provides coverage for damage resulting from the phone being dropped, crushed, or cracked. “Like all cellular phones, iPhones get carried from place to place—from home to the office, in and out of pockets and purses. It’s inevitable that they will be dropped and sometimes break,” notes Steve Abernethy, CEO of SquareTrade. “We offer an easy solution at a fair price to protect your purchases.” Exact pricing details have yet to be released.
Apple and France Telecom are facing difficulties coming to a final agreement on the distribution of the iPhone in France, according to French weekly Challenges. France Telecom, which operates under the Orange brand, confirmed last week that an agreeement had already reached, stating, “We have signed an agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone.” Challenges reports that Apple and France Telecom are battling over the percentage of service revenues that Apple will receive as part of the deal. If an agreement is not reached soon, says the report, a pre-holiday launch of the iPhone may be in jeopardy.
Following publication of its statement earlier this week that the use of unlocking software voids iPhone warranty coverage, Apple has posted a similar warning in its retail Apple Stores, denying Genius Bar assistance and technical support to users of unlocked iPhones.
The warning contains a modified version of the text found in Apple’s earlier statement, omitting the reference to the “next iPhone software update… later this week,” but now specifically noting that “An unlocked iPhone is not eligible for Genius Bar service or technical support.” It is presently unclear whether Apple’s new policy violates state laws on express or implied warranties for products.
Apple has released iPhone Software Version 1.1.1, which is currently available as a download through iTunes.
The Software Update is a 152.3MB download, and begins with a warning that those who have modified their iPhones’ software may find that “applying this software update may result in your iPhone becoming permanently inoperable.” We experienced only one hiccup in our installation process, which you can read about by clicking on the headline of this article or the Comments link below. Version 1.1.1 most noticeably adds support for the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, video-out (with select accessories) and a variety of new settings, including double-tapping the Home button to bring you either to your Phone’s list of favorite contacts, or the iPod control scheme.
New: A complete list of changes from iPhone Version 1.0.2 to Version 1.1.1 is now available here.
In addition, Apple has posted a brief six-minute video covering the new features and enhancements of iPhone Software v1.1.1. Like the company’s Guided Tours, the video is broken down into major points: The iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, iTunes Ringtones, New Features and Shortcuts, Double Click on Home Button, Double Tap on Space Bar, Landscape View Mail Attachments, Connecting Your iPhone to a TV, and Additional Features. The video is available for viewing online in three different sizes, and can be downloaded as well.
Speaking at that AJAXWorld conference this week, Sun Distinguished Engineer and vice president for software Bob Brewin urged Apple to consider Java support for the iPhone. “I think it’s a mistake,” said Brewin of the omission. “I think it would provide a lot more flexibility in applications being developed.” Brewin went on to point out different applications, such as various games and the media-sharing application LimeWire, that could be easily ported to the handheld if it had Java support. In addition, he also mentioned Sun’s JavaFX multimedia display technology, which Brewin said could offer rich applications on the iPhone.
Apple today released a statement regarding the use of iPhone unlocking programs and the changes they make to the iPhone. Apple claims that many of the unauthorized iPhone unlocking programs available online cause “irreparable damage” to the iPhone’s software, and that a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update will likely cause modified iPhones to become “permanently inoperable.” The company also revealed that it will release the next iPhone software update, containing “many” new features including the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, later this week. Apple went on to strongly discourage iPhone owners from installing unauthorized unlocking programs, and gave the following warning to those still considering the option: “Users who make unauthorized modifications to the software on their iPhone violate their iPhone software license agreement and void their warranty. The permanent inability to use an iPhone due to installing unlocking software is not covered under the iPhone’s warranty.”
Update: Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, has made a statement clarifying the company’s intentions regarding the warning. “This has nothing to do with proactively disabling a phone that is unlocked or hacked,” Schiller said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It’s unfortunate that some of these programs have caused damage to the iPhone software, but Apple cannot be responsible for ... those consequences.”
Elgato has released EyeTV 2.5, a free update to its EyeTV 2 television software. EyeTV 2.5 offers WiFi Access, a feature that allows iPhone and iPod touch owners to connect to, browse, and play back recorded programs directly from the device over a local Wi-Fi network. In addition, EyeTV 2.5 features one-click export for iPhone and iPod touch, and can also automatically export to iPhone when scheduled recordings have completed. Other changes include improved H.264 HDTV playback performance, the ability to record from the live TV buffer, and IPTV support for Freebox. EyeTV 2.5 is a free update for all EyeTV 2.0 users; a full download of EyeTV runs $80.
The iPhone soundly bested both the Nokia N95 and HTC Touch in a recent usability test by Perceptive Sciences, a Texas-based usability consulting firm. The test, which was designed to be as objective as possible, asked ten people who had never used any of the three devices to perform simple tasks, such as setting the phone to vibrate, making a call, saving a phone number to the contact list, sending a brief e-mail, and taking a photo. Completion times for each task were recorded and compared; based on these results and the scientists’ observations, a score of between one and five was awarded. Overall, the iPhone received a score of 4.6 out of 5, compared to the HTC Touch’s score of 3.4 and the N95’s score of 3.2. “Testers were [typically] about twice as fast doing specific tasks on the iPhone, which is pretty remarkable,” said senior research scientist Tom Thornton. The iPhone was triumphant in all but one of the five testing categories, losing to the Nokia N95 in “Functionality.”
French Telecom’s Orange unit has confimed that it will offer the iPhone in France, CNNMoney reports. “We have signed an agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone,” France Telecom’s spokeswoman said. The company also said it will start selling the handset in November, without giving a precise date for the launch. The iPhone is being launched in the U.K. and Germany on Nov. 9. In addition, the company said it “won’t subsidize the iPhone,” but declined to give any pricing details; in Germany, the phone will sell for €399, or around $554. Apple has yet to comment on the announcement.
Apple and T-Mobile announced today that T-Mobile will be the exclusive German carrier for the iPhone when it launches in that country on Nov. 9. The iPhone in Germany will feature Visual Voicemail, EDGE, and the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with T-Mobile to bring the iPhone to Germany,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Customer response to iPhone in the US has been incredible, and we can’t wait to introduce T-Mobile customers to the most revolutionary mobile device on the planet.”
“We are convinced that we can get our customers excited about experiencing the mobile internet with the iPhone,” said Hamid Akhavan, CEO, T-Mobile International. “I am proud that Apple and T-Mobile have become partners.” iPhone owners in Germany will also have use of 8,600 T-Mobile HotSpot Wi-Fi access points, and T-Mobile claims that by the end of 2007, it will be the only network operator in Germany to offer EDGE throughout its entire GSM network. The iPhone is scheduled to launch on November 9 and will be sold in Germany through Telekom Shops of Deutsche Telekom and the T-Mobile web shop. It requires a new 2-year T-Mobile tariff and will be available in an 8GB model for euro 399 (around $554) including V.A.T.
At its “Mum is no longer the word” press event today, Apple revealed details of the iPhone’s UK introduction. The company announced that O2 will be the device’s exclusive carrier in the UK, when it makes its debut on November 9. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with O2 to offer our revolutionary iPhone to UK customers,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “US iPhone customer satisfaction is off the charts, and we can’t wait to let UK customers get their hands on it and learn what they think of it.” Matthew Key, CEO, O2 UK, said, “The iPhone is a breakthrough that is changing the way people use their mobiles forever, and we’re thrilled to have it exclusively for O2 customers in the UK.”
The iPhone will be sold exclusively in the UK through Apple’s retail and online stores, O2 and The Carphone Warehouse retail stores, and will be available as an EDGE-based 8GB model for £269 (inc. VAT). It will also require an 18 month contract with O2. O2 will offer three different tariffs for the phone, starting at £35 a month for 200 minutes and 200 SMS messages, and going up to £55 a month for 1200 minutes and 500 SMS. All three tariffs include unlimited data, visual voicemail, and unlimited access at any of The Cloud’s 7500 UK Wi-Fi hotspots. iPhone activation will require an internet connection, an iTunes Store account or major credit card, and the latest version of iTunes.
The iPhone Dev Team has released anySIM, a GUI-based iPhone application that allows users to unlock the iPhone for use with any SIM card. The app simply needs to be copied on to the phone and executed — it is fully automatic, and therefore makes unlocking a much easier process for those users who lacked the technical experience to take advantage of previously released, more challenging unlocking methods. anySIM is available as a free download from the iPhone Dev Team’s website.
An image appearing during the early iPhone owner credit process has revealed iPhone firmware version 1.1.1, along with two extra menu options in Settings. The image, which appears on the second page of the process, below where users enter their phone number and iPhone serial number, is meant to show customers how to find their iPhone serial number. In the Settings menu, under General, appear options for “Home Button” and “International” which are not found on current (version 1.0.2) iPhone firmware, and the final screen in the image shows the “Version” as 1.1.1, build 3B13. As of this writing, the image is still viewable on Apple’s site; a screen capture of the image appears below. [via Mac Rumors]
Update: The “About” screen shown below also points to new modem firmware, v.04.02.04_G. Current iPhone modem firmware is listed as 03.14.08_G. TUAW has reported that recent SIM unlocking methods rely on patching the modem firmware, thus version 1.1.1 of the iPhone firmware, if/when released, may break current iPhone unlocking methods.