back to article Apple, AT&T slapped with iPhone 4 lawsuit

The first lawsuits over the iPhone 4's reception problems have been filed. The most prominent of the batch — which, according to AppleInsider, includes actions brought in California, Maryland, and Texas — is the one filed a few miles and a bridge toll north of Apple's Cupertino headquarters, in the US District Court for the …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Matt_payne666
    Thumb Up

    bloody trolls...

    Apple should just turn round and change the small print to include the holding 'issue' then offer the disgruntled owners a refund and a $5 itunes voucher...

    Good result all round...

    That way new owners are aware that in certain circumstances the reception may suffer.

    People that havent experienced an issue are still happy and most importantly...

    The idiots creating a mountain out of less than a worn hole, get to hand back thier crappy, usesless, faulty, terrible phone, not only for a full refund, but they make fiver out of the deal too...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns

      Trolls? I think not

      They knowingly released a product that is not fit for purpose. I don't know about the USA but in the UK we have the sale of goods act that makes doing that illegal. They must have known about the fault as it is far to much of a coincidence that they also release a rubber band masquerading as a case along with the product. They used the new design as a selling point but knew about the problem with it. How many other products have cases that just cover the edges?

      Please don't spout the bollocks about nobody using them without a case anyway. I have never owned a case for any of my phones, and every iPhone I have seen hasn't been in a case either. If a case is required to make it work properly then it should come with it on purchase with a note in the instructions telling you why it needs the case. It should not be an optional extra at further expense.

      What is it about Apple that means normally rational people have to defend them no matter what? They could release a Jobs turds under the name iChocolate, but let anyone complain and the loyal following would just declare them idiots who must have the wrong tastebuds.

      If any other company knowingly release a product that was found to be faulty there would be demands for it to be recalled. Even if it was unknowingly the company would still be forced to correct the mistake. What makes Apple think they are so special that consumer laws don't apply to them?

      It is precisly the response that follows from the Apple faithful when they are criticised for doing something wrong that means the rest of the world call them a Cult. Wake up, they sell products. They are in business to make money. They are not your friend and certainly do not give a shit about you or your opinions. Stop behaving like everything they release is the second coming of Christ and maybe they will get the message.

      As long as you keep handing your money to them hand over fist they will just continue to release expensive, sub standard products with the promise of the new improved version in 6 months to a year which will have all the features it should have had from day one. Take the iPad as just one example. The case has even been designed with a space for a camera - guess what will be there in iPad2 but yet again the faithful will behave like Apple have done them a favour by putting it in, just like they did when Apple where so generous to update the iPhone OS to include such revolutionary features as cut and paste.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Thumb Down


            From the tone of your note, I find your message to be a bit disingenuous - I'm pretty sure you had no plans to buy one before the latest media hyped issue?

        2. Matt 13

          I did read it...

          and that is exactly what my post is all about... that review, most other reviews and one person that I know who has one - they all say the phone works better in low signal areas...

          this whole class action lawsuit thing its just the attention seeking/something for nothing brigade that are out for what they can get...

          We do have our consumer rights... and as far as I can see, the pjhone works fine in 'most' conditions,.. its a combination of sweaty palms and un-naturally tight grip which triggers the dramatic signal drop, so is not unfit for purpose, and even if it was, apples most dramatic requirement in the SOG act would be a refund... hence my give the whingers a refund and see who actually takes it up... these people are just out looking for 'fame' and a freebie...

          And im far from an apple hater, I will end up with an iPhone 4G, and over the years ive had a Powermac G4, Ti-book, Powerbook, iPhone 3G, iPods nano, Video + mini. and amongst the various accessories an Alpine X001 ipod only car stereo...

      2. Anonymous Coward

        @AC re: Trolls? I think not.

        "They knowingly released a product that is not fit for purpose."

        Unless you work there and have specific knowledge, making a statement like that is an assumption on your part, and you're passing it off as fact.

        You've tried and convicted Apple based on your assumtion.

        What next, are you going to gather the villagers and get some torches and pitchforks and head off toward Apple in pursuit of justice?

      3. heyrick Silver badge



  2. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo


    What about the fanbois now? Must be churning in their sleep at the prospects, If the courts decide to payout multimillion Dollar damages to hurt hands (RSI), feelings, egos, loss of communication & business, grandma not being reachable, mental agony, lawyers costs etc.

    Should mak einteresting reading henceforth.

    Iphone4 has suddenly become interesting NOW.

    Mass recall ? Unlikely. f

    Free distribution of bumpers - more likely.

    Non disclosure agreement with Apple to buy silence- DEFINITELY.

    Its only just begun.....

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just return it if you don't like it

    iPhones are awesome devices, but if you have a problem with the current model or AT&T’s service there are only another 5-10 equally good or better hardware options on other networks. Walk your butt back to the AT&T store and say, "Thanks, but no thanks." Don't retain counsel, morons.

    Anyhow, check out this article about Jobs and the iPhone and the chain reaction that Job's statement created. Wicked funny and safe for work.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      give it back?

      Fine as far as it goes, however, Apple are charging a restocking fee if you return it. At least in the US. (I dont think you can get away with that in the UK as long as its within a 28 days)

  4. mt1


    Surelt y this is why most phones ahve the antenna at the top to avoid this situation this will most likely go down as one on the stupid design flaws in apples history

    1. Lance 3


      Apple decides to be innovative for the first time with the iPhoney and do something the industry hasn't done and look at where that got them? Now they know why the pioneers that started selling phones 30 years ago haven't released a phone with that design. I have a feeling that the engineers at Apple never had broadcast television where they had to mess with the antennae.

  5. Anonymous Coward


    To all the fanbois squeal. Oh no, they cry, our beloved Jobsian magnificence in court, our beloved Jesus Phone being officially criticised. Oh woe is us.

    How will they cope, what drivel will they make up now, how can they possibly spin this?

    If you’ve never seen a bitter fanboi spit blood then watch this space.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Marcus is childish

      Grow up.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Good retort.

        Very well thought out.

        Not at all juvenile.

  6. bobcourt


    "Whether the problem is with the Apple iPhone 4 itself or with the AT&T network, or a combination of the two, is irrelevant..."

    Er, they could've just called me, I would've told them it occurs on O2 here in the UK too.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Kamran213

    iPhone 4

    Im on orange had the iPhone 4 since the day it was released and iv had no problems regarding loosing signal. The iphone does sometimes drop to 1 bar but never had 'no service' or 'searching' displayed on my iPhone. It happens to every phone i also have a samsung from time to time that even goes to 1 bar but the main thing is 1 bars enough to make and receive calls. I have held my iPhone 4 in my left hand for 5 minutes, i gripped the sides and bottom and waited for it to display 'searching' or 'no service' and it never happened i got bored and gave up lol

    1. nickrw

      Loose signal


  8. Barry Lane 1

    I only know two iPhone 4 customers

    and they don't have any problems with them at all. Perhaps I need friends who are more feisty.

    Or who don't know how to use a bloody mobile phone properly.

    1. thesykes

      Re: I only know two iPhone 4 customers

      That's not the point. Apple are not denying that there is a problem, by telling users that they are simply holding it wrong, they are admitting there is a problem, but, they are trying to shift the blame.

      That is the problem, they've shipped a very expensive phone, with a fault, and are simply blaming the users.

      If Nokia, Sony Ericsson, HTC or Motorola shipped a phone with a problem such as this and then blamed the users, I doubt there would be many defending them. Maybe that is because non-Apple buyers aren't so rabidly supportive of a company that is only interested in their money.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Before you assume the beloved Nokia and others are perfect, check out this post:

        It'll clear things up a bit for you.

        1. thesykes

          Never said they were

          I never said they were perfect, nor did I say they were faulty. I was merely pointing out that Apple are the only ones who are shrugging their shoulders, saying not our fault, and pointing the blame directly at their loyal customers. Hardly think it's a good idea to point a finger at people who have possibly queued up to get their hands on the latest shiny shiny and say... "It's all your fault, we did nothing wrong".

          I don't believe any company is perfect, I have little brand loyalty, I buy what suits my personal needs at a price I believe is acceptable. There are brands I won't buy, due to bad experiences in the past, or due to the extortionate pricing they have in place.

          Apple are quite happy to slag off other comany's products, maybe they ought to grow a pair and hold their hands up, say OK, we made a mistake, we're sorry. Strangely, that would probably be far better publicitiy than trying to blame people for holding a phone in their hands.

          There are plenty of tech companies who recall products, from faulty batteries to power packs, the notices come, the parts get changed, life moves on. Nobody remembers who by or when or why something was recalled 3 years ago, people do remember when companies blame users for problems caused by holding a phone incorrectly.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            "Apple are quite happy to slag off other comany's products"

            Apple? Or Google/Microsoft - both like to take pot shots at Apple these days. But the Fandroids are the worst.

            The issue here has been completely blown out or proportion, but made possible because of the incredible number of people who delight in anything negative about Apple. It's quite sickening really.

            Go on to any android forum and you don't see Apple fans tossing burning bags of shit in the room (and running). Go on to anything not anti-Apple and the morlocks come out from the depths of the netherworld to feed off the joy and excitement Apple fans feel.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Question ...

    The "sophisticated investor" argument worked just fine for Goldman Sachs.

    So why doesn't the "sophisticated customer" argument work for Apple ?

    The obvious answer is that the argument was rubbish to begin with. But my question is that when you sue your alma mater, does an MBA treble the damages but a JD merely accrue damages, or does the awarding of both degrees treble the damages.

    Look forward to your answer El Reg readers,

    Lost in America

  10. Eponymous Howard

    Yep, a "devastating" critique:

    "I can honestly say that I've never held onto so many calls and data simultaneously on 1 bar at -113 dBm as I have with the iPhone 4, so it's readily apparent that the new baseband hardware is much more sensitive compared to what was in the 3GS. The difference is that reception is massively better on the iPhone 4 in actual use."

    "There's no doubt in my mind this iPhone gets the best cellular reception yet, even though measured signal is lower than the 3GS."

    Yes. Absolutely fucking devastating.

    Try to get this through your silly fat heads: Apple made a choice between a powerful antenna that, in some circumstances is liable to degradation and a less powerful but more stable antenna. Engineering is always about trade-offs.

    Anand made the far from unreasonable assertion that Apple should have put a non-conductive film on the antenna. Maybe, maybe not. Who knows what the trade-offs would be there?

    But to assert that Apple "knowingly put a defective design on the market" is simply not supported by any analysis by people who have actually done proper and structured empirical testing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      a fanboi reporting on an apple product was never going to be 'devastating' but...

      If a company makes a design trade-off that makes a product effectively unusable for a significant portion of its intended market, aren't they supposed inform the prospective purchasers of that small detail so that they can make their own informed decision about whether the tradeoff is worthwhile before they hand over their money for what could potentially be a very expensive paperweight.

      By the number of complaints, it certainly appears to be a significant portion. People don't get this worked up because their phone works fine but just isn't showing as high a signal strength as they would like as that isn't the sort of thing that people brag about in the pub. I also can't see many people complaining that although they've never had good reception in their area on any of their handsets, they were under the impression that those problems would go away with the help of some revolutionary, magical device and they now blame Apple for their woes.

      I realise that you've probably forked out on your new object of desire already, are in an area where your signal is fine and will now defend it to the death. Despite that, are are you seriously saying that because of a 'trade-off' it is in some way acceptable to not inform potential buyers of an iPhone4 that:

      a) They could receive significantly worse reception compared to most other handsets on the market to the point of being unusable under normal usage conditions depending on their conditions

      b) Will cost them money to return if said condition that they weren't informed of pre-purchase occurs

      Did the app that allows you to make your own decisions rather than simply accept Apple's marketing get rejected or has my fat head misunderstood the situation?

      1. Eponymous Howard

        Trade-offs @AC

        "If a company makes a design trade-off that makes a product effectively unusable for a significant portion of its intended market, "

        Where is the evidence that they have?

        "By the number of complaints, it certainly appears to be a significant portion. "

        I'll leave you to look up which fallacy that is...

    2. GettinSadda

      Wow - you tried!

      I see that you either read the linked article, or at least dipped into it to pick out something that supports your view, but you failed to quote the most important conclusion that this reviewer's in-depth analysis of the matter ended with:

      "The fact of the matter is that either the most sensitive region of the antenna should have an insulative coating, or everyone should use a case."

      1. Eponymous Howard
        Black Helicopters

        @GettinSadda Missed out or, you know...

        ..didn't (to quote me):

        "Anand made the far from unreasonable assertion that Apple should have put a non-conductive film on the antenna. "

  11. Angus 2

    Surely Hanlon's razor is applicable here.

    "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

    Which might be a bit harsh but I doubt that Apple or AT&T actually actively decided to deceive, it would only take one leak from any of them that they knew before hand to hang em high. A garden variety pooch screw seems much more likely. But then I could be wrong, it has been known to happen. :P

    Of course this doesn't excuse the way they have handled the matter since and I suspect that the apple board must be itching to use the Kill switch on Steve's iphone. ;)

    1. mmiied

      or as I have it

      "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

      cockup over conspricy

      1. Anonymous Coward


        "cockup over conspiracy"

        Exactly. The sensationalism and potential for litigation has media and lawyers falling over themselves to profit off of it. What a world, eh?!

        1. Gordon is not a Moron
          Jobs Horns

          Who says it can't be both?

          Steve 1: We just got the first batch of iPhone 4's delivered.

          Steve 2: Just a minor problem, they stop working when you pick them up. So we'll have to send them all back redesign the hardware and wait for new batch before sending them out to masses.

          Steve 1: Hey look! I put this rubber band on the bottom and it started working again.

          Steve 2: Quick, buy a shed load of rubber bands. If we put them in some nice packaging, call them er...

          Steve 1: Bumpers?

          Steve 2: yeah, bumpers. We can charge $20 a pop, think of the profit.

          St. Steve: Well done my young acolytes. And as a reward you may each take one iPhone 4. But you'll have to buy your own bumpers.

  12. ratfox

    Bloody trolls

    I believe it is the first time a telco is sued for failing to provide appropriate coverage...

    But I am sure they have already legal words in their contracts to deny any responsibility or liability when you cannot make a phone call.

    I am not a fanboy, but some lawyers belong to the flames.

  13. Jean-Paul


    Apple definitely has dropped the ball on this one. Key is partially how they are going to resolve it. However what annoys me is that a lawsuit is allowed, I would have told those people to just return it and get your money back if it doesn't work for you. Vote with your feet, don't buy it or return it. Simple. Out of this only the lawyers win.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    How can you

    "falsely misrepresent material facts"? Isn't that like "truthfully represent material facts"?


  15. ScripterSi

    Reception problem?...or reporting problem?

    It's still early days as I have only had my iPhone 4 for about 24 hours. I too am able to make the reported signal strength dip from 3-4 bars to 1 bar by holding the phone in my left hand (in a normal holding position for a phone you would rather not drop - cupping the problematic bottom corner). However, having said that, I made a few calls using the phone in my left hand and, even on 0-1 bars of signal the call quaility was perfect throughout.

    I know its still quite early days but I am begining to suspect that the fancy gubbins that Apple have worked into their phone raido circuits may actually mean that signal dropping to 1 bar is not so much of an issue. In fact, the excelent anandtech review goes some way to point out that the general signal processing is so cutting edge to (possibly) mean that, overall, you still hold more calls than other phones.

    I could be way off the mark but I dont hear many considering this argument so wanted to throw it out there. (and no, I do not work for Apple!)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @just return it

    Here in the UK you have no legal right to return an item bought in a shop unless it has a defect.

    I recently had to buy an iPhone 3gs (a month before the new ones came out). The next day i found the lost phone that was being replaced but i could not return the iPhone to the apple store i bought it from as it was fully functional and i had had a chance to see it, touch it, test it and all before leaving the shop. It up to the shop if they want to take goods back and apple do not.

    That is the real reason they make sure everything works before you leave as you loose the 'changed my mind' right.

    If you buy online though, you get 14 days to return goods as you never saw them.

    (I confirmed all this with a call to the consumer direct people - aka trading standards.)

    1. Basic
      Jobs Horns


      IANAL but as I understand it, it's actually a 7 days after receipt (cooling off period for distance selling regulations) which is generally accepted to be 14 days to allow for slow delivery.

      ( )

      There's also the sale of goods act which says products can be returned/replaced if they are not fit for purpose (as I understand it, this is a long-term option - potentially years later if the product would be expected to last that long)

      again, IANAL but from my limited knowledge, I would be surprised if UK owners couldn't force a free refund one way or another.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Think about purchasing for need and not what you see as Status (and everyone else sees as pathetic)

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Hiding iphone4 in Gizmode affair

    in the Gizmodo incidence the "lost " iphone4 was in a 3 G case, more to do with APPle trying to hide the appearance(ID) of the new phone don't think they are field testing the antenna

  19. Ian Wilson


    This is pretty funny - NSFW.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Shouldn't Microsoft also be sued?

    They have been knowingly selling broken Xboxes for 5 years now, with little regard for consumers rights.

    The now have the cheek to make one that might work, and ask you to buy that one now.. ***

    ***NOTE every version also claimed to be quieter and more reliable, but never transpired in reality.

  21. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Factory defect, and a simple solution

    @"Here in the UK you have no legal right to return an item bought in a shop unless it has a defect."

    And they do. It's a factory defect. I mean, people could (and have) shipped access points with such buggy firmware it is useless. It worked up to factory specs, I returned it anyway. (I live in the US, and I think we have even fewer rights to return here.)

    I figure it's pretty likely Jobs insisted it be as thin as it is, perhaps too thin for an internal antenna to fit, and furthermore probably liked the look of having some metal strips along the sides. Apple is truly form over function -- for those who like Apples, they generally have both, but Jobs is known in the past for being told "This won't physically work" by the engineers (packaging is too tight, insisting on no fans on a boiling hot machine, etc.) and responding "Just make it work".

    Anyway, simple solution -- clearcoat. It wouldn't change the appearance, except maybe making it even shinier. And it'd solve the problem. I would just put it onto all new ones, and for existing ones, either 1) free case. or 2) Ship some nail-polish-style applicator with the clear coat to Apple stores, and probably a template so they don't "miss" and get clearcoat onto the phone. It would only take a minute or so to apply.

  22. MonkeyBot

    Re: If we were members of Apple's legal team...

    "If we were members of Apple's legal team, we would seize that thin reed of argument and hang on tightly: "Hey, we always tested the iPhone 4 when it was in a case! We didn't know there were problems until after we shipped the %$#@!ing thing!""

    What the hell kind of defense is that? "We tested the product in a different form from that in which we sold it so if the untested product doesn't work, it's not our fault."

    On that basis, they could test it whilst it was plugged in to a charger and claim that it had an infinite battery life.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022