Yet another iPhone lawsuit over 3G speeds

Sun, Nov 23, 2008

Analysis, Legal, News

Apple is being sued again for allegedly misrepresenting the speed of the iPhone 3G.  The suit was filed last week in California by Peter Keller, and he is seeking class-action status.  The suit accuses Apple and AT&T of negligence, breach of warranties, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unlawful business practices, and false and misleading advertising.  Keller alleges that 3G speeds on the iPhone are not as fast as advertised, and that users are only able to remain on the 3G network for intermittent periods of time.

The lawsuit specifically alleges that

“Apple and AT&T should have known, or were obligated under the law to understand that AT&T’s 3G Network might not be able to handle the massive influx of their 3G iPhones.”

This seems to be a somewhat flawed argument because there was no way for Apple to accurately gauge just how many 3G iPhones it was going to sell right off the bat.  It of course has internal projections, but the number of iPhones that were sold even in the first weekend of its release surpassed all expectations, including investment analysts who are paid to monitor such things.

Curiously, the lawsuit goes on to state:

“Public reports indicate the companies anticipated sale of 10 million iPhone 3G phones.  Yet, Apple profited by being the first to market, by gaining market share and by receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue selling millions of new 3G iPhones”

I’m not quite sure what to make of this, but it seems evident that Keller’s lawyers haven’t done their homework.  No one anticipated selling 10 million iPhone 3G’s, and it seems that that number is being confused with Apple’s initial goal to sell 10 million iPhones during the calendar year of 2008.  And as for Apple profiting by being the first to market and gaining market share: well, it’s hard to even understand what is attempting to be said there.

The lawsuit goes on to accuse Apple of negligently manufacturing and designing the iPhone, two factors which both contributed to documented problems with AT&T’s 3G network when it was first released.  Interestingly enough, the lawsuit alleges:

“No repairs appear to be presently available to fis the iPhone 3G nor the AT&T 3G Network so as to provide reliable 3G connectivity.  Apple has tried several firmware fixes, which has not provided plaintiff or the Class with reliable or sustained 3G connectivity”

I’m not quite sure what to make of this.  Either the plaintiff is experiencing unique 3G connectivity issues, or perhaps this lawsuit was initially drawn up before Apple released the iPhone 2.1 update on September 12, 2008.  The 2.1 update seems to have fixed many of the issues that a good number of iPhone users were experiencing regarding 3G connectivity problems.  Lastly, the extent of the evidence provided to back up plaintiff’s claims seem to be limited to a blogpost from in July of 2008.

All in all, this lawsuit appears to be without merit.  Admittedly there were 3G connection issues when the iPhone 3G first debuted, but these problems have all but disappeared once Apple released a software update 2 months later.  Moreover, the lawsuit contains language which indicates a complete lack of understanding as to how the iPhone was actually advertised, and a conspicuous absence of any sort of discussion regarding Apple’s attempts and success in remedying the problem.

It won’t be surprising to see this lawsuit dismissed.


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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Michael Rott Says:

    Well, the 2.1 firmware did not fix the issues Mr. Gillis or Mr. Keller are complaining about, which is probably the reason Apple just released 2.2 firmware to:

    1. Decrease in call setup failures and dropped calls;
    2. Resolved isolated issues with scheduled fetching of email;
    3. Improved formatting of wide HTML email; and most importantly
    4. Improved accuracy of the 3G signal strength display.

    Check out page 32 of the October 2008 issue of, titled “iPhone 3G Data Service Speeds Vary Wildly”.

    Next time, before you beat on someone, perhaps you should get all the facts!


    A Conscientious Consumer

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