back to article Apple faces lawsuit over wobbly 3G claims

An Alabama woman is suing Apple for claiming its latest iPhone offers 3G connectivity when she can't get connected most of the time, despite AT&T having decent coverage where she lives. The complaint is aiming to become a class action suit, as just about everyone with the latest iPhone has been complaining about levels of …


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  1. Andy Watt

    Lawyers win again...

    Come on, a class action lawsuit brought by a bunch of iTards? (apologied to Webster) - like they're going to have the technological knowledge to prove their case.

    The defence can just use the word "cell breathing" and the judge will go "fair enough, that sounds very technical. Case dismissed. Next!"


  2. Anonymous Coward


    In all likelihood, Apple will have sold ten million. Any new iPhone is just gravy, on the cake. Err..which they will eat and keep, until the next firmware, in which case it will be gravy on the brick.

  3. muzchap

    Apple *ARE* at FAULT

    Normally I can't stand whinging yanks and their trivial 'Class Action' law suits - but in this case, it is fully justified.

    If they claim it's 3G which they certainly do, then it should support 3G and NOT provide problems, in UK law you would have a case under 'not fit for purpose' - claiming a FIX is due soon would indicate they have accepted that there IS a fault.

    I'm not going to turn this into an anti apple / pro anybody post - but I really do think Apple have 'stitched' up their user base - they should have held the product back until it was 3G initially and then spent the time testing. To release v1 without 3G then v2 with poor 3G will no doubt require v3 - technically, unless you can cancel your contract that's 3x sales of an I-Phone Apple have had to get a decent working version.

    If you as the public are happy as BETA testers fair enough, that's your choice - I'm not going to critisice - however, it seems finally somebody has decided enough is enough and good luck to them - it's about time 'testing' was taken more seriously instead of being looked at as an inconvenience...

    Finance Bod: "Well, if we cut testing and pay damages to the few that complain, we'll be better off"

    I've previously been in this situation and pray daily for said Finance Bod(s) globally to be royally screwed over, just like they do to the consumer.

  4. Lee
    Thumb Down

    3G coverage...

    is least of my problems. I've had my 'iPhone' just over a week and I'm already on 'iPhone' number 2. Not an issue with coverage but with the call volume! I have the volume on max and can barely hear who I'm talking to. You'd think they'd sort that functionality out given it's an iPhone and not an iDevice or other some such iName. I dispair... this second phone is no better...

    And since updgrading to the lastest firmware my iPhone has taken a performance hit - it seems less responsive to the touch.

    This Apple is sour!

  5. Mo

    Last I heard…

    …problems WRT 3G were affecting a tiny (but vocal) proportion of people.

    Second, if the device doesn't work as intended, why doesn't she just, y'know, return it for a refund? Both AT&T and Apple have return policies and warranties covering this eventuality.

  6. John Chadwick

    I'm not having any problems with mine.

    3G is fine, call volume is fine.

    Does what it says on the tin.

    Now all I need is the bluetooth modem for my Sat Nav, Apple are you listening, just like my trusty SE630 which I keep having to swap the sim into when I drive, and no google maps won't do.

    (By the way this is no different to my XDA's, which also won't connect to the Sat Nav)

    All in all, I like the iPhone a lot more than Windows Mobile, oh yes an iTunes has no problem syncing unlike ActiveSync.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Open and shut case

    This should be an open and shut case. Does the iPhone meet the relevant 3GPP spec (TS 25.101) as measured by the 3GPP test procedure (TS 25.914). If it does then Apple are fine and blame lies with the network operators if it doesn't then Apple are at fault and should recall/replace every device.

    A hundred and one anecdotes are worthless, the required specs are quite clear.

  8. Aidan Samuel


    Just for completeness:

  9. Will

    How much of a problem?

    The problem is, nobody goes on to internet forums to say how trouble free their phone is. I'd like to see the real numbers relating to this problem. I know I have a 3G iPhone and I'm not having any 3G problems at all, nor are the 3 other people i know with them. I used to have an Orange phone that would drop calls many times along the motorway, I never started a class action suit or blamed the phone, I just blamed Orange. Now when someone with an Iphone gets a dropped call, it must be the iPhones fault.

    And why launch a class action lawsuit, surely you simply buy a different product? It wouldn't be because the lawyers smell a profit would it?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Lee

    I don't normally post, but your comment immediately made me type this.....ever considered you might be going deaf?... Especially since you are the first to mention such a problem, and it has occurred twice (indicating it wasn't a just a iphone 'lemon')....You'd think a person would go to the doctors and have a proper hearing test before they winged about the volume on something, otherwise the obvious retort (see above) is all too easy to make. Always try to head off the immediately apparent...;)

  11. Jessica Werkz

    iPhone volume and 3G coverage

    My volume's fine and has been for the last 8 months. I also get OK 3G coverage.

    Isn't it time we heard from that Webster guy, I just luuuurve his rants.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Oh Apple! Dear Apple!

    I still don’t get the people that follow Apple? Why would you want to pay more for something that usually has a poor quality, you are always at the mercy of Apple, and that you could get for cheaper elsewhere? Starting from MacBook to any other apple products. You are paying for the privilege of the Apple brand but the quality is always questionable. When are they going to learn?

  13. Jamie Hylton
    Thumb Down


    ...hope you peeled off the screen protector which covers the speaker before complaining about not being able to hear your calls... ;-)

  14. Omer Ozen

    Re:Lawyers win again...

    @Andy Watt

    " they're going to have the technological knowledge to prove their case.


    Andy, simply get hold of another make or two which happens to works fine at the same location and that should be the proof, no?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: oh Apple! Dear Apple

    "When are they going to learn?". You talk as if its standard knowledge that all Apple products are not worth considering. I have never owned anthing by Apple till the iPod came out and now I've had three of those. No two didn't go wrong, I just kept running out of space.

    I have learnt to love the iPhone though and might even consider getting an Apple PC one day. Let's face it if the iPhone was sold by Minnowsoft we'd have to wait for SP1 came out to sort any problems. I've just got a feeling that Apple will sort out any problems that do arise.

    Where the heck is Brewster, he knows how to rant!

  16. Law
    Jobs Horns

    RE:Last I heard…

    True - they do have return policies. But from what I've heard it's extremely hard to get Apple to accept anything as a return... especially if there is no repair charge involved.

    If a phone with 3G in the name has problems locking onto 3G networks - then something is seriously wrong and we should really be asking why they didn't pick this up in testing.

  17. Shell
    Thumb Down


    Well the 3G here in Edinburgh spotty at best with the iPhones. Three times this week I've had no coverage, or apparently connected but unable to actually *get* to anything over 3G (mail/web/apps all time out). My other halfs 3G iPhone is just the same.

    It's a shame, because when the 3G does work, it's brilliant. But it's fecking annoying with all these outages (and there's no free WIFI near my office). I really hope it can be fixed via software, but I have my doubts :(

  18. Paul
    Gates Horns

    I want to sue Microsoft

    for claiming Vista was *new* technology. Anyone want to join me?

  19. Paul F
    Jobs Halo

    No iTroubles here

    eh heh.

    er.... yeah. Anyway.

    My iPhone 3G has no volume or 3G problems. Nor does it crash when using Safari, third party apps, etc. It does exactly what they say it does, and it does it well.

    The only places I have signal trouble are places where other AT&T users with different phones have trouble.

    Anecdotal evidence isn't evidence though, so until someone comes up with a substantive study with actual numbers, this debate is bollocks.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    @AC Oh dear Apple..

    Dear iFanboi - knocking the great St Gates but blind to Steve Bellezebub and his demonic hordes ? 3Jesus is on 2.0.2 that TWO as in more than one, upgrades to their OS. The great St Gates would have it fixed on SP1 not taken two attempts to stuff things up even more.

    This is what happens with style over substanance. If you don't get techies involved and just have a bunch of (con)artists then it won't work. Ever. Full stop. How can it if they don't know how phones work let alone the techie bits like 3G ?

  21. Lee
    Thumb Up

    @Anonymous Coward + Jamie Hylton

    You mean I am meant to take it out of the box before trying to make a call? :o

    Yes, my hearing is fine. Yes, I removed the box/plastic. And yes, perhaps I should be more explicit to head off such comments :-)

    Don't you think the staff where I bought my iPhone would want to check it out for themselves before suggesting a replacemetn? I'm not the only one to encounter this problem :-) ...


    ... it seemed to be a problem with earlier generations too.

    Maybe your average iPhone user has exceptional hearing, or tend to use their headphones more...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    "The great St Gates would have it fixed on SP1 not taken two attempts to stuff things up even more."

    Sure, except SP1 would have been a year from the release date, not acknowledge the problem, then extend the warrenty to 3 years while the competition continues to gain market share.

  23. Peter
    Paris Hilton

    iPhone still good with latest firmware

    My iPhone is pretty good at locking onto 3g in the towns (I live in the Lakes) so I have no qualms about that and the call volume is perfectly good too, I have on the default setting and never needed to change it.

    I'm still very happy with it and Paris because i'd be happy with her too rather then complaining about how loud she is or isn't.

  24. Nile Heffernan
    Black Helicopters

    Oh dear...

    Oh dear... There seems to be some disagreement.

    Central London has the world's best 3g coverage and I frequently get no signal or a downgraded 'edge' connection on my iPhone. 02's network really doesn't cope well with multiple users, but some of it is squarely Apple's fault: the chipset is immature and there are known problems with the 3g protocol stack.

    That's not all: if the handset fails to find a signal, that's it. End of story. Go visit a web cafe if you needed that email today. Maybe you'll be lucky but the commonest outcome is that the 'Cannot connect to the 3g Network' error messages will be the whole of your mobile internet experience until you reset and revert to the factory settings... Losing all your WiFi network passwords in the process.

    Yes, that's exactly what the O2 iPhone helpline will tell you to do. Eventually. And their 'on hold' music system is *horrible*.

    What else? Safari.

    This is a truly execrable piece of software, written by unsupervised interns who'd had the Internet explained to them, but had never actually used it for themselves. What genius decided that moving off and onto a page - to change your network settings, perhaps - would result in a mandatory refresh, losing the existing page? On a mobile device, where intermittent coverage is a forseeable problem?

    It's full of nasty little surprises and laughably bad design decisions... Can I block images or go 'cached-images-only' ? No. And why would anyone want to do that on a mobile device when the network's slow? Can I browse offline when I go underground? Who on Earth would want to do that in London? Or Paris, Tokyo, New York, Madrid, Frankfurt or Stockholm? Can I open a link in another window? Surely not: everyone who reads BoingBoing *wants* to lose the 'portal' page when they follow a link, because the network will always be there for the mobile user when we click the 'back' key. Can I ditch the Style sheet if it isn't small-screen friendly or switch off Flash? No, no, oh dear me no: our clean interface is more important than your imaginary need to bypass dirty web design.

    Then there's the big surprise: Safari crashes. Frequently. Locks up, then closes down and vanishes, taking whatever you were reading. Or typing. And I think it's a memory leak in the touch-screen software: the more you scroll, the sooner it crashes.

    And, dear me... The buffering for video: iplayer content, embedded quicktime movies and mpegs, and - especially - YouTube video clips. Seriously, I have never watched streamed content on the iPhone anywhere, ever, in a WiFi network or standing directly under a 3g base station, without the whole thing grinding to repeated halts, manual restarts, and an eventual crash. And it doesn't cache or save it: move the slider back to the stuff you stuttered through a minute ago, and all you'll do is relive the experience. Seriously, why did they even bother? This was coded without a spec by people who cannot program and who never test their work in field conditions.

    I tolerate it all because the iPhone's far, far better than all the rest. Yes, the others really are that bad; both as hardware and - especially and appallingly - as a user interface. Nevertheless, the Apple image of creativity and talent and clean design producing attractive machines that 'just work' is now seriously tarnished.

    If I wanted to be a beta tester I'd stick to Microsoft. But this is my *phone*, dammit: it's a utility, not an accessory.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    Always amusing on here where Apple are the only ones who comes into the firing line regardless of whether things they do are unique to them or common in the industry. Last time I checked Apple don't control the level of reception a carrier supplies, in any country, anywhere.

    Also FYI, part of the issues revolving the 3G coverage has not been due to any failure on Apple's part but the 3rd party chipset they've used (also used in numerous other 3G phones) which has been programmed to check for stronger signals only, and drops it (and switches to EDGE/2.5G) if it doesn't match it. The aforementioned fix is believed to rectify how the chipset handles these situations, being less fussy and fall more into line with how other more established 3G phones deal with it. Beyond this fix there's little more they can do than tell AT&T to get their sh't together.

    And no, don't own an iPhone, not sure if i will, my SE is doing me alright for now...

  26. mlc101

    IFing had it...

    I am on my 3rd iphone and give up... churn is the name - give me my money back is the game. I am happy to beta test a few bugs... software and hardware can be complex and launch timescales, market pressures mean you launch a little soon with known bugs... however these bugs should not stop the thing from doing the job it is supposed too... not on an apple moan... but come... I have seen phones from China developed in the back of the shop where they produce Nokia and other cheap GSM devices.. they work better.

    Rogers in Canada who have launched this mess into the market.. are the second and main reason for my money back please request... .you think you guys in the UK have it tough... try customers support Rogers style... at least in the UK, if the phone is broken one call and they send you a replacement... in Canada... you report the fault... then in order to get a replacement you have to hang-up and call back the same group of so call tech support who then send the replacement... reason I hear you cry... "the system will not process the replacement until a second call has been recieved about the said broken device.." Genius... total genius...!!!

  27. Dan White

    @Nile Heffernan

    Seriously mate, take your phone back and get another one. It sounds like a definite case of a corrupt memory module.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Score one for the lawyers

    I'll target comment specifically for the U.S. since I live here and can't speak to the level or quality of cell service any where else.

    Seriously, the litigious nature of far to many people in the US is really getting on my nerves. This is another classic case in the same vein as the idiot who sued McDonalds because they fumbled a cup of coffee into their lap.

    Apple doesn't control AT&T network nor their 3G availability. The only thing they MAY be liable for is marketing hype or choosing a far to picky third party 3G controller (as has been mentioned in another post above), however neither are grounds for a law suit. But a class action suit against them for spotty 3G coverage is absurd or should I say iAbsurd. My advice to the self absorbed twit filing suit is to grow up and stop paying more than you have to for a status symbol. Many of us happily live sans 3G phones and could give a rats arse. So put the iPhone and triple grande cafe machiato americano down, crawl back into your Hummer and STFU, kthnxbye.

  29. Jessica Werkz

    @AC Oh dear Apple..

    "How can it if they don't know how phones work let alone the techie bits like 3G ?"

    But it does and I get OK 3G in central London. All I can say is that there are a hell of a lot of very unlucky people out there who don't seem to manage to get anything working: streaming video, no sound, no 3G, no GPS, no email. Maybe they should get a more basic phone that they can actually work.

    These people deserve our sympathy.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    The best comment here....

    ... is that the iPhone is the best of a bad bunch.

    It has some strong features and some pitfalls. However, on Monday I somewhat shocked myself.

    I've been using 3g data more or less since launch on a variety of SE and Nokia handsets (even had an LG for a while, but the less said about that the better!) and when I've been without it it's never really bothered me.

    I went to France at the weekend and being a bear of little cash, left the data roaming off to save cost. I was genuinely shocked about how much I'd come to use the iPhone mail and safari apps - really I was.

    I sat and thought about this for a while, and I'm convinced that because the user experience on my previous 3g handsets has been so average I'd never really come to rely on any other device to send a lot of mail or do a lot of browsing.

    I use a BlackBerry for work and that's still better for heavy mailing, but not as much better as I'd imagined it would be (perhaps 10-15% quicker for the same error rate - and that said I still wouldn't like to use an iPhone as my primary work tool) but in pretty much every other respect the iPhone is light years ahead.

    Of course you have to bear in mind that I don't seem to have experienced any of the issues some posters here have, but I really can't see me ever moving back to a more mainstream handset for anything other than business mail.

    Unless of course Nokia, SE or Google can come up with something really really impressive to tempt me back. :o)

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    The problem is the ATT network and not the phone

    I have many 3G phones that work great in Europe but when I am back in Los Angeles and insert the ATT 3G SIM card then all the misery of lousy service start.

    Except in Downtown LA, elsewhere, the phone shows 3G but revert back to Edge on most cases when used. My friends around me with and iPhone experience the same.

    Hence, it is the network problem at this time and NOT the phones.

    ATT get your act together and issue some credit back to compensate for a lousy service.

  32. Chris Royles

    UK O2 iPhone - No problems

    The 3G works fine, I get better reception than the Nokia I use for work.

    Had a few 'cannot connect your call' but I get those anyway with my Nokia N73 on Vodaphone and my Nokia on O2. Sometimes I think these complaints about the iPhone are from people who have never before experienced 3G devices.

    I have also found its the most stable WiFi device I own. My Linux laptop and Windows PC take ages to hook upto wireless and quite often drop the connection, never had a problem with the iPhone, it just 'connects'.

    Also on O2 you get FREE BT OpenSpace and Cloud WiFi hotspots!!

    I have owned a combination of Windows and Nokia devices and the iPhone is by far the best device of them all.

    All I miss is MSN chat.

  33. Patrick

    Victim of their own success

    Poor Apple, maybe its the huge uptake of phones. Engadget, Yahoo, Quantas and others are starting to release browsing data showing 97% of all mobile browsing of their site is iPhone/iTouch related and are putting all their development dollars making iPhone specific websites (~15% iTouch, remainder iPhone). So thats a huge number of people in major cities sitting on 3G hogging up all that lovely signal.

    Serves them right for being so popular!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Roll on Android!

    I just thought I had to point out that as Microsoft and Apple are clearly the spawn of the Devil, the sooner the Linux/Google lovechild that is Android gets here the better.

    At least then the updates will be nigh-on daily with people more competent and enthusiastic than the corporate monkeys updating applications as and when they see an update or feature is required.

    After all, why wait for the next service pack or iFirmware when your phone has cow powers?

    Paris, because I have a sense of humour.

  35. Patrick

    Add Blackberry to that lawsuite with a slice of bold

    Looks like Blackberry's new Crackberry Bold phone is facing the same 3G reception problems as the iPhone. Is it the telco carriers fault after all???

  36. Danny Thompson
    IT Angle

    @AC Oh Dear Apple

    "The great St Gates would have it fixed on SP1 not taken two attempts to stuff things up even more."

    Thats a bloody laugh. Does anyone at all recall any Service Pack updates for all to Windows Mobile via Active-not-sync? Last I saw was that you'd have to buy a new WM to get the supposed benefits of the next iteration.

    Anyway, the rapid deployment of two point releases of Apple's iPhone OS is more a reflection of the Agile development methodology than anything else. What that means, to the very obviously unitiated anti-Apple twonks on here, is that the development and improvement of the OS will be iterative and continuous without needing to buy yet another handset (iPhone 2G runs OS 2.0.2 very well it has been observed).

    IT? because one has to wonder at the motives behind such lame items of "News" being debated here.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @LOR, others

    LOR : "part of the issues revolving the 3G coverage has not been due to any failure on Apple's part but the 3rd party chipset they've used"

    Choosing the wrong chipset IS Apple's fault, obviously; or did you install it yourself with an itty bitty soldering iron ?

    Also - re whining. If any company _knowingly_ releases a faulty or below-spec product, a class action is a legitimate response.

    Too many companies rely on people putting up with crap goods - it's not as if iPhone + subscription is a $4.99 throw-away toy.


  38. Fab De Marco

    Well this is News to me

    Based on the comments above in the context of My iPhone is Crap, well my iPhone works fine, etc etc it does seem clear to me that, a mass produced product has has some phones that are failures..... well surely this has never happened before. I though 100% of all mass produced technology ends up on the shelves without any fault... well this is news to me. I demand that they spend 4 hours stress testing every iPhone that rolls out to make sure it is fit for use.

    Now I'll just remove my Helmet of sarcasm.

    Grow Up everyone!!!!

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