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Four new suits filed against Apple over iPhone 3G speeds

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Tuesday, February 3, 2009
News Categories: iPhone

Apple has been sued four times over the last two weeks over poor 3G performance. Complaints filed in Florida, New Jersey, and Texas all claim that the iPhone 3G suffers from both 3G performance issues that result in dropped network connections and hairline cracks in its casing, while a separate case in California omits the cracking issue, focusing solely on 3G problems. Interestingly, the California suit is the only one which does not name U.S. iPhone carrier AT&T as well as Apple. All four lawsuits allege that Apple knowingly marketed the phone without disclosing the performance issues and seek damages, while the Florida and New Jersey suits seek to stop the companies from continuing “false and misleading advertising,” the California suit seeks the return of all profits Apple received plus interest, and the Texas suit seeks for the return of all profits gained by “misleading” advertising as well as a disclaimer to be put on the product’s packaging.

The four suits represent the latest entries in an ongoing string of legal battles between AT&T and Apple and iPhone 3G owners, many of which have made claims similar to those found in these complaints. Testing of the iPhone 3G showed the handset to be “completely normal” in terms of its ability to receive 3G signals, however, network speeds and reliability have varied dramatically from location to location in other tests, with AT&T network differences apparently to blame. Apple has previously contended that “no reasonable person” would have taken the company’s “twice as fast for half the price” slogan at face value.

Updated: A request for reader comments on iPhone 3G lawsuits, service, and warranty issues has been posted.

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Comments

1

All I can say concerning 3G performance is, “People are stupid!” What rock does a person have to live under to not know that performance on radio transmissions is impacted by a myriad of conditions from distance to transmission towers, to solar flares?

Posted by Rand on February 3, 2009 at 1:38 PM (PDT)

2

I’m not a fan of lawsuits, particularily these kind of suits that simply represent people unhappy with the quality of a product they bought.  That said… Apple advertising did imply some sort of better performance on 3G…...better than what I don’t know..the 1st generation I suppose.  In any event, as a long time owner of several Apple products, I would never touch an iPhone for a variety of reasons, and I’m glad for the iTouch which gives all the good without the nasty that is the iPhone and AT&T;.

Posted by Patrick on February 3, 2009 at 2:03 PM (PDT)

3

All those lawsuit just make life a bit more colorful.

Posted by Mrboo on February 3, 2009 at 5:58 PM (PDT)

4

This is not just about data speeds.  I live in NJ along the Hudson River.  I am 100% serious when I say that I drop between 20-40% of my calls on a monthly basis.  Thus far I have gotten $680 in credits from AT&T;because they know it’s mostly their fault, but also partially Apple’s problem too.

Here’s the deal with my situation.  There is no cell tower in NJ to service my town.  We pull signal from across the river in NYC.  AT&T;has finally gotten zoning approval to put a tower up in my town (apparently one of the town board members worked for another wireless company and had been blocking it for 2 years.)  However, I do get signal; anywhere from a good 3G to full Edge to NO SERVICE.  That’s where the iPhone has a problem.  It all comes back to the battery.  The iPhone is constantly trying to reduce battery consumption.  That’s when connections start dropping.

Posted by KllrDave on February 3, 2009 at 6:25 PM (PDT)

5

As much as I think these lawsuits are ridiculous and as much as I hate that a company with the success of Apple is such an easy target, ” the fact that Apple “has previously contended that “no reasonable person” would have taken the company’s “twice as fast for half the price” slogan at face value.” is a bit alarming.

Trying to do anything over the Edge network was very slow… slow enough that when they come out with a new model touting 3G features and being “twice as fast”, people ARE going to take that at face value. Naturally, being a fan of tech news, I myself didn’t take it at face value, but I can see why many, many others would. It’d be like jumping from dial-up service to broadband cable because they announced the speeds were ten times as fast, only to find out that they were, in fact, marginally better than dial-up.

Perhaps it’s not lawsuit worthy, but Apple should be careful about it’s future marketing and how it defends said marketing.

Posted by Germansuplex on February 3, 2009 at 8:46 PM (PDT)

6

I laugh at all this. Yes the phones have had hair line cracks.  Question is: Is it because they are sat on while in pockets etc…

I have 5 Iphone with my family plan not one has any cracks and this is with 3 childern having them.

Also I live in Rhode Island and I constantly have 5 bars of 3G
service. No problems at all.

I’m sure in Texas out in the middle of God’s Country they are not going to have 3G service. 

PS I dont work for apple and have PC’s not MACS

Posted by Richard on February 4, 2009 at 6:10 AM (PDT)

7

I live in Dallas and cay say that the 3G in every place I’ve been from here to Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and even far out in West Texas, has been problem-free.  I’m not sure where these folks live, but maybe they just need go into Settings and turn 3G on.  Ridiculous.

Posted by Ian on February 4, 2009 at 8:08 AM (PDT)

8

It sounds like we’ve discovered a solution: everyone with an iPhone 3G should move to Texas!

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 4, 2009 at 8:40 AM (PDT)

9

I have an issue with thier statement

“Apple has previously contended that “no reasonable person” would have taken the company’s “twice as fast for half the price” slogan at face value.” why say it in the first place if you didn’t want people switching over ? I am going to tell you it’s better even a lot better, but after you buy my phone I am going to call you stupid for buying in to the hype and buying my phone based off what I told you in the first place.
sounds a lot like bait and switch to me.
Shameless1

Posted by Shameless1 on February 4, 2009 at 9:11 AM (PDT)

10

Never had any problems here in South Florida with my 3G service. No dropped calls or service interruption since the first day these phones came out. Not sure if it’s been twice as fast as my 1st generation phone but pretty close to it. No cracks either!

Posted by Surya on February 4, 2009 at 9:45 AM (PDT)

11

I’ve had many dropped calls AND the hairline cracks which after being denied a replacement in-store was granted one after calling AppleCare. Apple needs to step it up. They’ve had issues with plastic quality before. NONE of my other phones cracked like that. Also yes Apple, people DO believe what you said about the 3G speeds. If you weren’t sure, you shouldn’t have said so. Now you have to deal with the consequences!

Posted by Matt Dunn on February 4, 2009 at 11:26 AM (PDT)

12

I never had any issues, .. yes of course every here or then i have one dropped call but common guys. ... why dont u sue the automobile factory when it takes a few sec. longer to start up ur car. common now… its a shame!

Posted by dennis on February 4, 2009 at 11:55 AM (PDT)

13

I live in San Anselmo (Marin County) and work in San Francisco. In San Francisco, I generally have 3G when I start using the iPhone, but it drops to Edge frequently, even though I’m stationary. 3G is very fast when it’s available, I just never know when that will be. I hardly ever drop calls and see no evidence of cracks. I attribute the 3G flakiness to AT&T;, but I’m not sure that’s the whole story.

Posted by John Roberts on February 5, 2009 at 1:58 PM (PDT)

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