Skip to comments.Class Lawsuit Claims Apple Knew Its 'Upgrade' Would Turn 3G iPhone Into an 'iBrick'
Posted on 11/03/2010 2:11:34 PM PDT by Swordmaker
SAN DIEGO (CN) - To goose sales of its new iPhone 4, Apple told owners of its third-generation iPhone to download an operating system that the company knew would turn the 3G phones into a "device with little more use than that of a paper weight," irate customers say in a Superior Court class action. The lead plaintiff claims Apple's "upgrade" turned her phone into an "iBrick."
Lead plaintiff Bianca Wofford says Apple told owners of its 3G and 3GS iPhones that the new iOS4 operating system was an upgrade. But she says the "upgrade" made her phone slow and susceptible to crashes, turning an iPhone into an "iBrick."
"In essence, Apple knowingly and intentionally released what it called a system software 'upgrade' that, in fact, made hundreds of thousands of third generation iPhones that were exclusively tethered to AT&T data plans 'useless' for their intended purpose," according to the complaint. "Since the release of iOS4 in conjunction with the sale and release of the fourth generation iPhone, or the iPhone 4 in June 2010, Apple has falsely, intentionally and repeatedly represented to owners and consumers of the iPhone 3G that its new operating system for the device, iOS4, was of a nature, quality, and a significant upgrade for the functionality of all iPhone devices, when in fact, the installation and use of iOS4 on the iPhone 3G resulted in the opposite - a device with little more use than that of a paper weight."
Wofford says there is no way to restore the third-generation phones' operating system without using "hacker tactics." She claims that Apple intentionally created a "consumer Catch 22" to get 3G users to switch to the new iPhone 4.
"Even though Apple has actual knowledge of thousands of complaints from iPhone 3G/3GS consumers, Apple does not allow for those same users/consumers of third generation devices to download and re-install earlier and optimized iOS3.x operating system without resorting to 'hacker' tactics that will void Apple warranties and violate iPhone user agreements," according to the complaint.
"This whole situation was created to be a consumer Catch 22 by Apple in order for the company to promote sales of its just released iPhone 4 and cause consumers to simply abandon the earlier 3G and 3GS platforms."
The complaint adds: "Apple knew that the iPhone 3G and 3GS were not fully compatible with the iOS4 and that iOS4, once installed, would substantially compromise the earlier device functionality, speed and application use. ...
"The true fact of the matter, as verifiable by information technology experts, is that the iOS4 is a substantial 'downgrade' from earlier iPhone devices and renders many of them virtually useless 'iBricks.'"
Wofford seeks restitution, disgorgement of Apple's ill-gotten gains, and damages for false and deceptive advertising, unfair competition, and violations of state consumer protection laws.
She is represented by J. Jason Hill with Cohelan and Khoury.
I have never had any issues with my iPhone 4 nor have any of the 20 or so friends I know who own one. I have experienced fewer dropped calls and get better reception with the 4 than I got with my previous 3Gs in the same locations even without a case. We've tried to duplicate the "Antenna-gate" problems and been unsuccessful. None have broken their screens. None have scratched them.
The 3G opening and running apps more slowly under iOS4 than under iPhoneOS3 is not the equivalent of making it an "iBrick" or a "paperweight" though, wouldn't you agree? Irritating, yes. Inoperative, no. Do your three 3G phones still work? Or are they now being used to hold down papers on your desk or being saved to make a chimney?
Ever since iOS4 came out, I thought the general prevailing opinion was for 3G users (but not 3GS) to avoid the upgrade. The 3G hardware just isn’t really up to it.
Also, can’t you roll back to a previous save point in iTunes?
Almost everybody. It's the nature of modern over-reaching software licenses.
Thanks for everyone’s responses. All points well taken.
Just to clarify my perhaps terse post, I have no problem with any manufacturer imposing reasonable restrictions when it comes to possible warranty claims - you modify it, you lose your right to claim compensation for any damage that modification causes. Yep.
My beef was/is that the manufacturer would actively prevent you in the first place from modifying your product.
Also, I do not have any ill givings toward the Apple company. They make tons of money so they must be doing something right! Good for them. But it seems that for reasons including the above I am not part of their target market. OK, no problem.
Oh, I apologize if anyone took my “only an idiot would...” comment personally. It was not intended as such.
I can attest to the sluggishness of my 3G after the upgrade. It was certainly not a brick though. I upgraded to the 4, but not because of the sluggishness but rather I wanted access to FaceTime. I certainly don’t think it is anything worthy of a class-action lawsuit, in a sane world that is.
I did not say they were bricked. I said I am disappointed that the iOS updates did not address the slower performance on the 3G phones. And I also said that it’s hard to imagine that Apple did not know about the 3G phones getting compromised by iOS before releasing it.
Please don’t put words in my mouth. I am an Apple developer and am a major fan, but in this case they blew it.
But let me clarify - I VOLUNTARILY said yes. I was not forced to update to iOS4.
And that being said, Apple did later issue further updates that helped iPhone 3G devices to get beyond some of the issues. That being said, my iPhone was already having other issues (screen-related), and eventually, I replaced it with an iPhone 4. I sold my old 3G with the dead screen for nearly $100 on eBay (fully disclosed). I don't think I came out of that so badly. The 3GS phones were nowhere near as bogged down or crippled by iOS4. Some users had some drastic battery life issues show up, that appear to have been corrected in the latest update. New features were added that were a step up (I really like having folders). Lawsuit? I just don't see it. Had I just purchased a brand new iPhone 3G (where would I have found one at that time, other than through grey-market sources), taken it home, and immediately had it update to iOS4... and even then, I'm not sure trouble would have been so apparent on a factory-fresh iPhone. I do think that Apple should have blocked 3G phones from being updated at all to iOS4. My theory on the troubles with that OS and the 3G - the code for multi-tasking was only partially disabled on 3G models - (apps stayed in memory after quit - a known fact-though you could not access them via multitasking). The phone had only 128MB ram... of which, nearly 100MB was utilized by iOS4.
What problems with “4” are you referring too? The latest version of the iOS is great for 3GS and iPhone 4 models... no issues that I know of remaining.
If you are referring to the “antenna-gate” loonacy... I was only able to recreate the reception issue on my iPhone 4 by contorting my fairly large hand into an uncomfortable grip of the phone (without a bumper or case). I have found no other issues with mine (have had it a couple of months now).
Lets say that I go buy a new Ford truck.
And after having it for a month, or so - I decide I don’t like how the transmission works, so I go find a cobbled-together, shade-tree, transmission and install it myself (right tools, or maybe not). The transmission doesn’t bolt up directly, but is close - and the gear ratios are way out of wack... my speedometer no longer works, it gets 3mpg going down hill, and the engine is running WAY hot (and I think I see some blue smoke starting to come out of the exhaust pipe).
So I go back to the Ford dealer and thow a tantrum and threaten to sue because of this piece of crap truck they sold me...that they now refuse to honor the powertrain warranty on...
Or - to use a bit more relevant illustration (though still with the truck):
Brand new truck - check
Go buy an aftermarket computer tuner
Connect the computer tuner that adjusts the transmission shift-points, engine timing, and a few other controls.
The tune apparently over-does it and causes the engine to rev way higher than designed and/or causes really heavy slamming shifts.
But I drive the heck out of it - ignoring the rattling growing louder under the hood...
Ford now can deny my powertrain warranty because the modifications I installed caused the damage.
Now -some will argue that this would be more like buying a new truck, and after the warranty has expired, Ford issues a recall to change the computer programming. I take the truck in, they flash the computer - and as I drive off, I notice that I cannot get it past 25mph. The engine runs very badly - transmission shifts poorly, and something is just wrong - it really isn’t drivable (this would be similar to how the 3G updated to iOS4 went).
So - Instead of getting Ford to fix the truck, I find some guy hanging out on the corner that claims to be a mechanic. He fiddles with it and gets it to kind of work... Then, when things are not quite how I want them, I cry to the dealership and sue them to fix my truck. Little did I know in all that wasted time and kicking and screaming... Ford had issued a fixed code that they had available at the same time I had the corner mechanic tinker with the truck.
Now, the dealer won’t fix it because the “work” done by the shadetree guy... well, he spliced wires, overrode settings, and jerry-rigged the truck -
Ted, I'm not putting words in YOUR mouth... but the lawsuit claims that the iPhone 3g and 3Gs were "bricked" and made unusable by the upgrade. I was asking you if you thought they were "bricked."
I think that running slower and being bricked are two entirely different things. Sorry if I wasn't clear.
As someone who, since the late 60's, has bought things and taken them apart, modified them, screwed around with the features and functions, and when small computers emerged in the mid-70's, went nuts with homebrew and modified hardware and software, I understand where you're coming from.
But even more, as the present owner of a 1995 Ford F150 pickup I bought last year for snowplowing, in which the previous owner had retrofitted a Windsor 351 engine and modified the powertrain, and then not bothered to tell me that the oil pump was going bad...
... I can relate to your Ford truck parables! :)
Ah, well, old pickup trucks... you clearly know what that's about.
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