back to article Apple faces another suit over its allegedly misleading water resistance claims

Apple is facing a prospective class-action lawsuit in New York over allegations it misrepresented the levels of water resistance of its iPhones. The complaint [PDF], filed in US district court for the Southern District of New York by Bronx resident Antoinette Smith, claims Apple failed to properly explain to users how its …

  1. 45RPM Silver badge

    You’re drowning it wrong!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      It's only approved for submersion in Apple Water (tm).

      Which costs $1000 /litre

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Hey, we have that where I work. Though it's usually referred to as either Purified Water (PW) or Water For Injection (WFI). It's pure enough that it doesn't conduct electricity.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wouldn't have bought phone

    Additionally, the suit claimed that Smith bought the iPhone 8 based on Apple’s promises of water-resistance, and would not have bought it “in the absence of [Apple’s] misrepresentations and omissions.”

    Since most people are tied to either Android or IOS what phone would Smith have bought otherwise? It isn't like there is a lot of choice of manufacturers offering IOS phones.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wouldn't have bought phone

      Perhaps she wouldn't have bought a phone at all, or would have bought something else (there are phones that are designed for this, but they're not fancy luxury items). It's not really germane.

      The hole in her argument instead looks like this: I wouldn't have bought the phone if I had known it couldn't survive water, so I'm entitled to damages. However, if I get the injunctive relief I'm seeking so that Apple are forced to stop claiming their phones survive water, I plan to buy another one. Which is it? If you need a phone that can survive water and won't buy one that can't, then "fixing their marketing" won't make their products suitable. If you don't, then you didn't rely on that claim when making the purchase as your lawsuit claims and your greedy lawyer's mass tort dreams are about to go up in smoke.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wouldn't have bought phone

        You've touched on the one discrepancy which suggested to me she's trying world's most complicated route to getting a free upgrade..

        It being the US it might even work, but I wouldn't get my hopes up.

      2. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Wouldn't have bought phone

        Possibly she would also but some additional waterproofing product, like a case.

        That would be a far more reasonable argument - you cost me a lot because you lied about the required protection, has a lot more backing.

        I note of course that it isn't the line she was running with, and I am rather surprised that she'll buy another if they fit their *marketing* rather than their *product*

    2. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

      Re: Wouldn't have bought phone

      "Since most people are tied to either Android or IOS what phone would Smith have bought otherwise? It isn't like there is a lot of choice of manufacturers offering IOS phones."

      But there are manufacturers making actual IP68-compliant Android phones.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: Wouldn't have bought phone

        My cubot quest is a lovely little IP68 phone. It's been underwater many times. I only bought it as a cheap waterproof phone, but it's actually a good runner. Over a year ago for £120 with 4GB ram and 64GB storage.

        It seems the less bundled crap and "vendor improvements", the better the device. Who'd have thought it?

        1. Chris G

          Re: Wouldn't have bought phone

          @Jamie Jones

          I have looked at the cubot but decide to stick with Ulefone with similar qualities 4GB RAM and 64 of ROM

          My previous Armor 2 has been in the sea once by accident and several times taking pics as per their advertising with no ill effects. At €146 with a massive battery that gives me up to three days of busy use I think it is a lot of phone for the money.

          My Armor 2 lasted 4 years of rough use, is still not bad but I need to look into replacing the battery, something I can buy a kit for online.

          For me apples are something I like to put in pies.

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Wouldn't have bought phone

            Thanks. I'll bear that in mind when it's time to upgrade. As I said, I wasn't originally looking for anything special, just something rugged and waterproof, but now the bar has been set high, I'll be looking for more with the next one!

            The Ulefone range looks good, I hadn't heard of it before, so cheers!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wouldn't have bought phone

          Out of curiosity I followed your link. Have to admit I expected something that looked like a rubber brick!

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: Wouldn't have bought phone

            :-) Well, I'm sure a rubber brick would do better under war conditions, but other than being waterproof, the only ruggedness I really require is for it to be clumsyproof!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wouldn't have bought phone

        But it is an article about an IPhone owner who has no choice of alternative manufacturer if they want another IOS phone.

    3. tip pc Silver badge

      Re: Wouldn't have bought phone

      After my daughter was born i was itching for a better phone camera, after the X came out we booked a trip abroad to see family & i had a choice of the X with great camera & water proofing or hang on to the 6 and get a go pro for under water pics and photos. I got the X on the strength of its waterproofing and better camera. the camera is great, i'm on my 3rd X after having the other 2 replaced by my home gadget insurance due to failures after using them in the sea. the year after the first 1 went, i always put it in a ziplock bag if i was going in the sea with it, it still broke.

      the newer iPhones better be better.

      although i likely will buy an iPhone when i feel i need a new on (battery in this one isn't as old as it should be!!) i now know i'll likely need a go pro too which i would use for other activities too.

  3. spold Silver badge


  4. Mike 137 Silver badge


    "these certification tests were performed in tightly controlled environments, with no tidal forces or contaminants in play."

    They always are. IPx7 and IPx8 equipment is specified under conditions defined by the requester of the test. The categories don't have absolute specifications, only that IPx8 is "at least" as good as IPx7.

    "Real-life conditions are different."

    They always are, but the IP test method specifically excludes them.

    For example, Bulgin Buccaneer Standard connectors are specified as "IP68 rating tested at 1.054kg/sq cm (15lb/sq in) 10m depth for 2 weeks and 9.84kg/sq cm (140lb/sq in) 100m depth for 12 hours" whereas some IP68 enclosures I use in the field are specified as 1m depth for 30 minutes. Both are perfectly adequate specifications, provided you're aware of the test conditions. However the Buccaneer connector is perfectly happy in sea water because it's made of plastic, but the enclosures need to be rigorously cleaned if exposed to sea water because they're powder coated diecast aluminium alloy. IP ratings intentionally do not consider such factors as corrosion effects - only impact resistance (the first digit) and penetration resistance (the second digit).

    The dual problem here is essentially that [a] Apple are implying that "IP68" is overall robustness factor, whereas it's actually a narrowly specific set of tests for only two factors out of several that contribute to durability and [b] users don't understand IP ratings.

    1. Shrek

      Re: IP68

      I thought that the first digit specified protection against foreign body and dust protection, and had nothing to do with impact resistance.

      Looking at that it appears there can be an impact resistance component but that would be a third digit, which I didn't realise until today.

      1. The First Dave

        Re: IP68

        Correct - the first digit is for solid-body penetration of various sizes, from fingers down to talcum powder, iirc.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: IP68

      > specified under conditions defined by the requester of the test

      What kind of "test" or "standard" is that?

      Oh, I want an "A" on my exam, because I specified I didn't have to study beforehand...

      > users don't understand IP ratings DON'T MEAN SHIT

      Fixed that for you.

  5. JimC

    The other interesting problem

    Is when you drop a hot IP68 mobile into cold water. Don't ask me how I know...

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    [Apple] "has refused to cover water damage under warranty"

    That is what you call a clear warning sign, people.

    If a vendor touts some aspect as an advantage, but refuses to cover it in the warranty, then you move that advantage over to the bullshit marketing column.

  7. TFL

    When it works, it's brilliant.

    My son in law fell in our ephemeral (seasonal) pond last year, when the jerry-rigged bridge collapsed.

    He couldn't find his phone, figured it was toast.

    Once the pond dried up a couple months later, he went and dug it out of the muck. Took a while before the speaker and microphone worked properly, but in the end was usable.

  8. xyz123 Bronze badge

    People think Apple products can survive immersion? If you ignore the apple hype and lies, iPhones are about as water-resistant as a bag of sugar poured directly into a tsunami.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, there is the bit where they made legally binding promises that they could.

      Thus this lawsuit, and this lady's eminent victory in it.

  9. aregross

    Just an FYI, but back in the '60s Timex had to make a change to their claim that their watches were 'Waterproof' and from that point on claimed they were only 'Water Resistant' I forgot the guy's name but his commercials disappeared too!

    EDIT: His name was John Cameron Swayze. It was a big deal at the time! The Timex tagline was " It takes a licking and keeps on ticking."

    1. vogon00

      Upvoted as you don't deserve the single downvote you currently have, because:-

      * You announced the 'edit' showing you'd bothered to check you assertion.

      * You provided sources.

      1. aregross
        Thumb Up

        I was downvoted before the edit... Thanx!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple only needs to show...

    ...they meet this IP68 test (whatever that is). It is probably ok for rain and bathwater.

    It's not even clear if a phone being marketed as waterproof is related to whether the warranty is valid after you soak it. My car was advertised with airbags and crumple zones, but the warranty doesn't cover me hitting a tree...

    Sometimes I wonder where they find people who lie like this: "I wouldn't have bought this phone if they hadn't advertised *obscure feature*". Maybe in the lawyer's office?

    1. Is It Me

      Re: Apple only needs to show...

      I had an argument with a car dealer that a car I got from them (2nd hand, but only 6 months old from a main dealer) wasn't fix for purpose as I asked if it had full iPod control and was told it did.

      After I tried it I found it only supported iPods via bluetooth (no track listings etc, but can pause and skip) or AUX in, no control from the car at all.

      I said I would be returning it for a full refund if they didn't resolve it, in the end they got an external company in to do an upgrade on the car.

      It is an obscure feature that was important to me (I listen to Audible audio books from an iPod classic when driving any distance) and I specifically asked about it before making the deal and would have waited for another one of the same model but with the factory fitted upgrade to come in.

      1. David Nash Silver badge

        Re: Apple only needs to show...

        Sounds like it would have been a good idea to try it before buying!

        1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

          Re: Apple only needs to show...

          Sounds like if you're selling X and going to categorically and proveably state "X comes with Y", then you'd better be damned sure X really does come with Y, regardless of whether anyone tests X for Y's existence before buying.

          Unless you like being sued for false advertising.

      2. gotes

        Re: Apple only needs to show...

        That was nice of them. Unless you got it in writing I'd expect to be brushed off or ignored.

    2. not.known@this.address

      Re: Apple only needs to show...

      "they meet this IP68 test (whatever that is). It is probably ok for rain and bathwater."

      ...but if they promise "waterproof to depth x for y minutes" then it should be waterproof to depth x for y minutes. Your comparison with crumple zones and airbags on a car is worthy of Apple themselves - are you saying the airbags and crumple zones don't need to work as advertised if you hit a tree - as against what, the tree jumping out and attacking *you*? You smash the car up, they have a good reason to refuse to replace the bumper/fender under warranty since it's not "defective bodywork". But those airbags and crumple zones still have to work as warrented.

      Maybe she would have kept her old iPhone rather than splashing out(!) on a new one that promised to be much more likely to survive an accidental dunking if Apple hadn't promised an improvement they completely failed to deliver?

  11. _LC_

    You have to believe!

    You must “believe” If you abandon faith even once and engage in “testing”, you will have already signed your soul over to the devil.

  12. Detective Emil

    Money-mouth non adjacency problem

    If Apple won't put its money where its mouth is on waterproofing claims, it deserves to be forced to pay through the nose.

    (The Italians got there first (BBC News).)

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