Apple settles class action lawsuit, will pay $15 to iPhone 4 owners

By on February 20, 2012, 4:30 PM

Although "Antennagate" has long since slipped from the headlines and become little more than a fuzzy memory for most, the legal drama surrounding the matter has finally come to a close

Apple has settled a class action lawsuit targeting their controversial antenna design -- a design which has been determined to be responsible for unusually poor signal and dropped calls. The company will be responsible for coughing up $15 settlement or a free bumper case to each customer who purchased an iPhone 4. The payment only applies to customers who experienced the issue and who did not take advantage of Apple's free bumper case offer back in 2010.

"This settlement relates to a small number of customers who indicated that they experienced antenna or reception issues with their iPhone 4 and didn’t want to take advantage of a free case from Apple while it was being offered in 2010," Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison told me on Saturday.

Source: loopinsight.com

For those who may not remember, bumper cases seemed to effectively remedy the issue. This type of case maintains a small gap between the iPhone 4's metal rim and the user's skin which insulates the handset from resulting signal attenuation and incidentally, also insulates the user from dropped calls.

When complaints originally surfaced about antenna issues, various in-depth looks began to appear in order to uncover more about the problem. Apple remained silent for nearly a month, but eventually held a press conference where the company said customers can either return their iPhone 4 handsets for a full refund or sign up for a free, Apple-branded bumper case. 

During the keynote, Apple also tried to soften the blow by showing consumers the shortcomings of many other handset antenna designs, but that didn't change the severity of the iPhone 4's antenna issues.

In order to make customers aware of the settlement, Apple will be sending out emails and publicly announcing the settlement through USA Today and Macworld.

 




User Comments: 28

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Guest said:

Only $15? Being insanely cheap is not very trendy. My iPod is the worst piece of kit I have ever owned; never again I say.

Guest said:

Only? $15 dollars for damages...no way for that overpriced piece of "ņordo"...their sheeps need an overpriced solution...its not trendy that way

davislane1 davislane1 said:

That headline... Is the most comical thing I've read all day.

Cota Cota said:

Im just curious, what cost more the paperwork or losing that lawsuit?

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Remember when Apple denied the claims the iPhone 4's antenna was poorly positioned inside the phones' chassis (which translates to them calling their own customers who had reception issues blatant liars)?

Their very denial of that irrevocable fact, is what got them into this very (now lost) litigation in the first place.

But guess what?

One of the new "features" in the iPhone 4S is (taken from Apple's own press release):

"Improving on the innovative stainless steel external, dual-antenna design of iPhone 4, iPhone 4S is the first phone to intelligently switch between two antennas to send and receive."

So why would they improve (or should I say, replace entirely) something that supposedly worked flawlessly? Don't let this deceive you. You don't need dual antennas to be able to work on GSM/CDMA bands; the inclusion of this "intelligent antenna switching," is just them fixing their **** together.

Don't get me wrong, though. I don't believe in taking it all out on a company that makes mistakes; they all do, especially considering the astonishing amount of devices they produce. But the reason people are angry is because of their obvious, delusional denial of the issue.

It's like you buy a car from a dealer, you drive it for a few days, but then you realize you can't quite steer the wheel efficiently (or sometimes at all!). You, of course, bring it back to the dealer, explain what's going on, to then get shafted by them.

-"No, sir, you are holding the steer wheel wrong."

-"Ok. I'll bang my head a couple of times on this table, you know, to affect my brain a little, so that I could possibly even consider your asinine assertion, but, it'll be futile, you see, logic just keeps creeping back to me: How do **** do you even hold a steer wheel <i>wrong</I>?!"

(Granted, they didn't manufacture the car, but that's all semantics; you get the parallel.)

veLa veLa said:

Should've given them free Galaxy S2 phones.

Guest said:

well the 15 bucks covers the price of the bumper doesn't it?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

You'd think being Apple, they'd at least cough up a twenty and a dime bag of coke to snort with it.

So much for noblesse oblige.........

Can you damage an iPhone glass with a razor blade?

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

captaincranky said:

You'd think being Apple, they'd at least cough up a twenty and a dime bag of coke to snort with it.

So much for noblesse oblige.........

Can you damage an iPhone glass with a razor blade?

Hahaha. Nice.

But judging their target demographic, maybe a Starbucks Gift Card and a few Adderall.

Guest said:

what?! that can't even pay a months worth of data service (regardless of carrier). they may as well email a picture of them flipping their users off, at least some people might get a laugh.

ikesmasher said:

what you don't realize, Guests, is that $15 to millions of people is not very cheap.

Guest said:

For a company that makes billions in a year. It is a small sum of money.

Uvindu said:

So is this world wide, or just in the US?

Tomorrow_Rains said:

Did you forget Apple is almost nearing the richest company in the world right now?

15 dollars for every person is literally NOTHING.

Guest said:

No it doesn't cover the bumper. Their bumpers cost $30 and up.

Guest said:

God damn it; I resign.

Guest said:

I guess most posters here aren't familiar with class action suits. They almost always come out this way. The class is potentially so large that payouts are inconsequential. The LAWYERS rake in all the money.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

$15 is still $15 more than you had without this ruling. Its just an Apple story so it has a lot of people flocking to display some outrage. Also explains a higher than normal percentage of 'Guest' posters.

I don't have an iPhone 4, perhaps if I did I'd view this differently. But from an outsider perspective it seems to me like the entire thing was fixed by putting a bumper on it, or someway disrupting the electrical connection made by 'holding it wrong'. Wouldn't clear tape have done that?. Bumpers were free right?

Should I get a monetary gift for purchasing Vista? I don't see much difference here.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

SNGX1275 said:

Should I get a monetary gift for purchasing Vista? I don't see much difference here.

Agreed, Although it was the main reason I didn't rush to get the iPhone 4, Being a lefty it would have affected me most.

But your right, simply putting sticky tape or getting one of the free bumpers fixes it, Its a shame it got so overblown.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

SNGX1275 said:

$15 is still $15 more than you had without this ruling. Its just an Apple story so it has a lot of people flocking to display some outrage. Also explains a higher than normal percentage of 'Guest' posters.

I don't have an iPhone 4, perhaps if I did I'd view this differently. But from an outsider perspective it seems to me like the entire thing was fixed by putting a bumper on it, or someway disrupting the electrical connection made by 'holding it wrong'. Wouldn't clear tape have done that?. Bumpers were free right?

Should I get a monetary gift for purchasing Vista? I don't see much difference here.

If I recall correctly, the reason this class action lawsuit started was because at first, consumers didn't really know the reason for the horrible reception and dropped calls. They turned to Apple for an explanation, and, wait, let's forget for a minute the widely known fact that they completely denied there was something actually wrong. Consider this:

They told it was people who were holding their phones wrong. Well, it turns out there's no way you can hold a phone wrong.

People were outraged by this and then decided to sue. Right after it began, they offered these bumps for the phone that fixed the antenna issues. This fixed the problem (even though they did fix it, to them there was never a "problem" , but people kept on with the lawsuit in, what I presume, an attempt to get something out of their frustration.

Tygerstrike said:

No its all about greed. Greed on both sides of the isle. Normally there is a processing fee. Not to include the lawyers. Who im sure, were VERY eager to attempt a lawsuit against apple. I have an Iphone4 and have only ever had 1 dropped call. No biggie......I called them back.......problem solved and didnt need to file a lawsuit.

p51d007 said:

at 25,000,000 "members" in the class suit, 15 dollars each, that comes out to

$375,000,000 just for the payout. How much was the total lawsuit, and how much

did the snake lawyers get?

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

I have an Iphone4 and have only ever had 1 dropped call. No biggie......I called them back.......problem solved and didnt need to file a lawsuit.

That made me laugh.

wcbert said:

Does anyone know how much the lawyers made? They could have have been paid a Iphone case!

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

SNGX1275 said:

I have an Iphone4 and have only ever had 1 dropped call. No biggie......I called them back.......problem solved and didnt need to file a lawsuit.

That made me laugh.

It's equally widely known not all iPhone 4 had the problem; which was the very reason a lot of people were confused some had the problem and some didn't. (Funnily, those with and without the problems, were holding their phones the same way .)

My girlfriend, who now has a 4S, had the 4 a few months ago. Hers didn't have any issues as far as I could tell.

Guest said:

They couldn't pay me $15 and a case to pry my Galaxy S2 out of my hands.

This like this really reinforce the notion of a typical crapple product; you gotta shove it in a case the second you take it out of the box, otherwise it will drop calls and crack when looked at the wrong way.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

So is this world wide, or just in the US?

It is just the United States.

As laws vary from country to country, a federal U.S. court doesn't have jurisdiction outside the country. The origin of the lawsuit is most likely in the U.S., as well.

Such a precedent may influence or even encourage additional lawsuits throughout the world though, but there would be no guarantees that foreign rulings or settlements would be the same or even similar.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Should I get a monetary gift for purchasing Vista? I don't see much difference here.
NO, eN-oH, NO...! I realize that nobody thinks they're to be held responsible for their own actions, but tough s***, the principle of, "caveat emptor", has long since attached.

Especially, if it was any Vista purchaser who argued bitterly with me in this forum when I said that nobody should "upgrade" to Vista in the first place.

And remember boys and girls, showing restraint by not filing trivial class action lawsuits, starves a parasitic lawyers. It works as well as, or better than, putting a metal lid on a trash can to prevent rats.

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