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8/21/2008
01:06 PM
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Apple Sued Over iPhone 3G Reception Problems

An Alabama woman alleges that the handset isn't as fast as advertised, and she's seeking class-action status to represent other customers affected by the "defective" iPhone 3G.

As iPhone 3G customers grow increasingly frustrated with reception and data issues, a women from Alabama has filed a lawsuit against Apple.

In a 10-page complaint, Jessica Smith alleges that Apple's latest handset is much slower than advertised and is prone to dropping calls. Smith is seeking class-action status as these issues could potentially affect thousands of consumers, she said.

"Defendant intended for customers to believe its statements and representations about the Defective iPhone 3Gs, and to trust that the device was 'twice as fast at half the price,'" reads the complaint.

Smith is claiming that her data connections, SMS, and e-mail are slower than expected, and that the iPhone 3G connected to AT&T's 3G network less than 25% of the time. This comes despite the fact that AT&T says Birmingham, Ala., where Smith lives and works, has robust 3G coverage.

Smith is asking Apple to replace or repair all "defective" handsets, and that the company be required to pay unspecified damages and attorney's fees. Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

When the iPhone 3G was launched in July, it was a critical success. But, some customers almost immediately began filling online discussion boards with complaints about the phone switching from EDGE service to 3G, locking up, dropping calls, and more.

A Nomura analyst suggested an "immature" chipset from Infineon could be responsible for the iPhone 3G's problems, which Infineon has denied. But users of the original iPhone have also reported issues after upgrading to the 2.0 firmware. Additionally, complaints from across the globe have cropped up regarding poor connections, indicating that a problem may not lie with a specific network or carrier.

Apple acknowledged the connection issues Tuesday, and rolled out a firmware update that "improved communication with 3G networks." The update, version 2.0.2, may not have fixed all the bugs, as some users are still reporting communications issues and problems launching applications.

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