SAN JOSE (CN) – Apple’s “cool engineering” caused reception problems with its 4G iPhone, and rather than tell unhappy to “just avoid holding it that way,” Apple should provide them with working phones, or with the $29 case that Apple claims will fix the problem, two class actions claim in Federal Court.
Both class plaintiffs claim that the reception problem, known as the iPhone 4G “death grip,” began immediately after they bought their phones. A similar class action was filed this week in Texas.
In San Jose, named plaintiff Alan Benevisty says his phone drops signals altogether or loses signal strength if its bottom left corner is covered by the palm of his hand. This is a “widely reported issue,” says Benevisty, who demands class damages for fraud, false advertising and breach of warranty.
“Apple CEO Steve Jobs extolled the iPhone 4 in the keynote address at the Worldwide Developers conference on June 7, 2010, stating, among other things, that the iPhone 4 is ‘the most precise thing we have ever made’ and its ‘brilliant design’ has ‘integrated antennas right in the structure of the phone; it’s never been done before and it’s really cool engineering,'” according to the complaint.
But despite Apple’s claim that loss of reception was a “non-issue” and that users should “just avoid holding it that way,” the “cool engineering appears to be the problem.”
After selling 1.7 million of the phone in its first three days on the market, Apple told its customers to “avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases,” according to the complaints.
Benevisty says “it comes as no surprise” that Apple would recommend users buy a case, because Apple makes the cases or “bumpers,” which it sells for $29, and which it says will resolve the “death grip” issue.
He claims that Apple knew of the signal degradation problem, as it made the “bumpers” available on the day the product was launched
In a second class action, plaintiff Christopher Dydyk claims that while the case “magically” fixes the reception issue, it “simultaneously detracts from the aesthetic value of the phone,” making the phones customers receive “significantly different from the phones those customers agreed to purchase.” He also demands damages for false advertising and breach of warranty.
Benevisty sued on behalf of the customers who bought the phone since it was released, and Dydyk on behalf of those who pre-ordered it. Customers who ordered it before the launch paid $199 or $299 for it, Dydyk says.
Benevisty is represented by Martin Bakst of Encino, and Dydyk by Gary Mason of Washington, D.C.