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9/23/2008
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Apple, AT&T Sued For iPhone 3G Flaws

The N.Y. lawsuit also claims the 3G iPhones demand too much power from the 3G bandwidths and AT&T's infrastructure is insufficient to handle the number of iPhones sold.

The Apple iPhone 3G is prone to physical defects and its AT&T 3G network lacks the bandwidth advertised, a lawsuit filed on Monday against Apple and AT&T alleges.

The lawsuit, which seeks class-action certification, was filed in the Eastern District of New York. It claims that Apple's iPhone 3G mobile phones "have had well-known and documented issues regarding premature 'wear-and-tear' of the iPhone's housing, including the formation of hairline cracks in the iPhone's casing."

It further alleges that "the 3G iPhones demand too much power from the 3G bandwidths and the AT&T infrastructure is insufficient to handle this overwhelming 3G signal based on the high volume of 3G iPhones [AT&T] and Apple have sold."

To support its claims, the lawsuit cites an Aug. 20 news report about iPhone performance from Marin Perez of InformationWeek. "The InformationWeek article notes that the extent of the iPhone problems may have even caught the eye of Apple's Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs. The article recounts a report from the Apple Insider, where a reader received a personal e-mail from Mr. Jobs regarding a bug that locks users out of their third party applications. Mr. Jobs commented: 'This is a known iPhone bug that is being fixed in the next software update in September.'"

The lawsuit also cites an Aug. 27 article by Perez about the United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Authority ban on an iPhone ad. The agency banned the ad because it misleadingly suggested that "all parts of the Internet" could be accessed using an iPhone 3G, despite the device's lack of Flash and Java support.

The lawsuit charges Apple and AT&T with breach of warranty, unjust enrichment, negligent and intentional misrepresentation, and violation of New York State business laws.

A representative from Apple was not immediately available to comment on the lawsuit.

The iPhone discussion forum on Apple's Web site supports the notion that some iPhone 3G users are having problems with their phones. A particularly active thread, "iPhone 3G Reception Problems? You're Not Alone -- Continued Again," has received 584 posts and 21,567 views since it was started on Aug. 22, many times more than other threads. And that thread itself is a continuation of three other threads that got to be so long "some browsers were timing out," a discussion moderator said.

On Aug. 28, someone identifying himself as "Joel Massey" wrote, "In response to my trouble call about 3G service, AT&T engineers confirmed the local towers are all working at 1900 GHz, not 850 and that service is spotty. They are working on trying to figure out if some towers need to be 'tuned' but don't expect service upgrade until end of year. You seem to have found the best solution by returning your phone. AT&T reminded me I am within my '30 day buyers remorse' period."

The lawsuit, citing a report from TGDaily, claims that Apple deleted discussion threads about the hairline crack issue from its Web site.

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