Talking tech since 2003

I’m sure you are all aware of the awesomeness that is iOS 4, the fourth generation of Apple’s mobile operating system.  After all, the iOS is the true component that makes the iPhone 4 as amazing as it is, for without the software the phone itself would be somewhat useless.  While iOS 4 shipped by default with the fourth generation iPhone and iPod Touch products, Apple also made the software update available to the second and third generation devices as well.  Now, a claim has been filed in San Diego County, California, stating that Apple intentionally released the update to second and third generation users because they knew it would cripple their devices and ultimately force them to upgrade.

Bianca Wofford of San Diego is claiming that the “dishonest and deceptive business practices engaged in by APPLE, INC … resulted in significant and extended loss of functionality, application loss, loss of use and substantially degraded performance for all owners and consumers of the Third Generation of the APPLE iPhone, including the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.”  What this selection of text more or less says is that older hardware was incapable of running the newer software to the same capacity.  This is definitely something that is understandable, as legacy hardware is never going to be able to support newer software to the same extent.  This is also a phenomenon that Jeff talked about in June when users of the iPhone 3G began to complain that their devices were unable to take advantage of the backgrounds feature in iOS 4.  In this article, Jeff told users to “get over it” and consider themselves lucky for being able to run iOS 4 at all.

What really makes this accusation interesting is the fact that it claims that users downloaded the software update “based on false statements made by APPLE”, and that it was “represented as a significant andvance and triumph in software, that in reality directly interfered with functionality of the device.”  This statement begins to make claim that Apple had knowingly falsely advertised iOS 4 as being a benefit, when they knew that it was indeed going to cause the devices to work incorrectly.

I highly doubt that Apple would even consider such unethical business practices.  After all, their entire business image is based on their ethics and how they conduct themselves.  For this reason, intentionally “bricking” iPhones would be of an unworthy risk, because even thought the possibility of selling more devices exists, there is still a great risk of being caught.  Not only would this make Apple look bad in the public eye, but it would have the same effect in the eye of the law as well.

At the end of the day, the plantifs in this case are going to have to prove that Apple intentionally released a software update in order to cause older iPhones to malfunction.  So even if these allegations are true (which I highly doubt they are), the chances of Apple loosing this case are slim to none.  Granted, there is always the likely possibility that this case will settle before it ever makes its way to a trial.

The full complaint that was filed can be found here.  What do you think about the case?  What do you think the outcome will be?  Share your opinion in the comments!


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