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Apple faces lawsuit claiming it hid the iPhone XS notch and lied about screen size

By mongeese · 23 replies
Dec 15, 2018
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  1. The lawsuit, which was filed in the Northern District of California on Friday, seeks to prevent Apple from continuing this practice and wants everyone who bought an iPhone X, XS or XS Max to receive compensation. The main focus of the lawsuit is on the concealed notch, which is claimed that its plaintiff Courtney Davis was tricked by.

    “Images that disguise the missing pixels on the products’ screens are prominent on the Defendant’s website, as well as in the advertisements of retailers who sell the products,” the complaint reads. “These images were relied on by Plaintiff DAVIS, who believed that the iPhone XS and XS Max would not have a notch at the top of the phone.”

    The notch also plays into the bigger picture, or smaller as it may be. According to the lawsuit, the iPhone X screen is “only about 5.6865 inches” due to the rounded corners, which is slightly smaller than Apple’s rated 5.8 inches. Because of the rounded corners and notch, the lawsuit claims that the real resolution of the device is 2195 x 1125, which is about 10% less than Apple says it is.

    Apparently, those pixels are ‘fake’ pixels too. LCD screens typically use three subpixels (red, green and blue) in a striped configuration, and it uses them in various combinations to produce a single color for that pixel. The Samsung OLEDs that Apple happens to use utilize a “pentile” structure where five subpixels are arranged in a diamond shape.

    Because these subpixels are ‘shared’ between real pixels and there is twice as many green as red or blue, it apparently means that the screen is lower resolution.

    "The iPhone X Product is advertised as having 2436×1125 pixels, but in fact does not use true pixels with red, green, and blue subpixels in each pixel," the complaint states. "Instead, the Product has only false screen pixels, with just two subpixels per false pixel."

    The lawsuit claims that the iPhone 8 Plus screen has a higher resolution because it has more subpixels, despite being 1080p. In reality, the OLEDs look great and the pentile structure is part of what makes Samsung OLEDs shine above the competition – longevity. They require less current for luminescence, so the individual subpixels don’t wear out and cause burn-in and other issues.

    Apple themselves will happily tell you all this. Likewise, a quick peruse through the spec sheet of any iPhone model will tell you if it has a notch or not. In regard to screen size, the Apple website says “when measured as a standard rectangle shape, the screen is 5.85 inches diagonally (actual viewable area is less).”

    While Apple does everything the lawsuit says they do, the legal status of those actions is still very debatable. The lawsuit is aiming to reach class-action status it could be a long time before it’s settled. Apple declined to comment.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,905   +1,426

    They definetely did it to mislead some dumb customers into thinking it doesn't have a notch and that thing with screen size and resolution should be illegal since it's plain lying to customers. The fact that they're trying to hide the notch in the pictures tells us Apple doesn't like it which is odd for them to make something even they don't like.
    orondf, Reehahs and DaveBG like this.
  3. XtremeHammond

    XtremeHammond TS Enthusiast Posts: 60   +42

    Linus of LinusTechTips pointed it out when he was talking about XS.
    So, there’s more than one person who paid attention to this marketing trick.
  4. BeeJones

    BeeJones TS Rookie

    So sad...
    People suing over stupid things. If you don't like it then return it and send a letter to the CEO and tell him at you think it's not right to market it that way. Why sue for money when you can be more proactive in trying to solve the issue that you think is misleading.
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,308   +3,715

    Sadly, Trump has all but destroyed the Consumer Protection Agency, which now has a record of collecting complaints and doing little to nothing about them. The short sighted "business first" approach might go well in the short term, but in the long term business will shoot itself in the foot.
  6. yeeeeman

    yeeeeman TS Addict Posts: 162   +125

    Stupid redneck lawsuit. Like the guy that made a lawsuit for a microwave over manufacturer after it out the cat inside to dry it and the cat died, lol.
  7. kapital98

    kapital98 TS Guru Posts: 324   +256

    This is an important consumer protection issue. Apple is intentionally misleading.

    Also keep in mind that the plaintiff will likely want this to turn into a class action (which is likely why it was filed in that district). Once it's a class action Apple will be more likely to settle on favorable terms.

    They shouldn't get away with this.
  8. yeeeeman

    yeeeeman TS Addict Posts: 162   +125

    I think that a sane person, with just a bit of intellect can understand everything this lawsuit complains about.
  9. Plutoisaplanet

    Plutoisaplanet TS Booster Posts: 92   +71

    I honestly don’t even like the measurement of a screen size through measuring its diagonal dimension; just changing the aspect ratio skews the “size” of the screen. That’s one reason why screen sizes have gotten more oblong/widescreen.

    Instead surface area should be used. You don’t see carmakers measure how deep (one dimension) their trunks are after all. They measure the volume and publish these numbers.
  10. Adi6293

    Adi6293 TS Maniac Posts: 199   +171

    Yeah because that would help.....I hope Apple gets to pay out
  11. Gaymer313

    Gaymer313 TS Rookie

    Wow that's insane. I just did a mock order and this was the only photo that showed the notch which was pretty far down the page. All the other photos, the notch is obscured or shows the photo on the left where the top is black and you can't see it. Shady for sure.

  12. onestepforward

    onestepforward TS Booster Posts: 109   +42

    So you think that Apple should be sued for not making the notch sufficiently apparent? Fair enough. Now, let’s sue every Android manufacturer for not clearly displaying on the front of the packaging that the user will only receive two (2) years of very later updates, provided that they even receive any updates at all. That is certainly a rip-off of every Android phone user for which they should receive compensation.
  13. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,290   +4,947

    We will stand behind you. Though I'd rather you filed a suit against Microsoft for their update system. It is nice that there are updates. It sucks that some of them are broken. But the consumer should have complete control over installing them.
  14. Stephen14228

    Stephen14228 TS Rookie

    What so stupid about this, Apple did post the notch in the specification about the phone. So they wasn’t trying to hide the fact about it. And you think any ***** that was going to buy one would have done there research. I knew about the notch before it hit the market, it was no secret. And the screen size was no secret either with using the OLED, it still the best screen out there. Apple posted everything the law suit saying they didn’t, it just people was to stupid or lazy to read though the whole discription of the phone.
  15. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,290   +4,947

    I'm glad people have time to read 5000 page books for everything they purchase. Even if 4900 pages are identical to the previous models. I can't believe we have ever trusted manufacturers to keep things the same from model to model. Why would any of us want stability in our lives? I just can't imagine! </extreme sarcasm>

    Oh and I hate Apple. I have just as much sarcasm for those that purchase Apple.
  16. Smilinturtle

    Smilinturtle TS Rookie

    Unless they’ve recently changed the website many of the pics clearly show the notch. More do than don’t. There is one picture of a planet where the notch is in black then a still for a video which shows the notch. That should be one argument thrown out.
  17. brucek

    brucek TS Maniac Posts: 154   +188

    Even assuming someone really didn't know about the notch, and didn't see any pictures of it online, and that they would change their purchase decision based on it -- aren't they going to see the notch the second they power up the phone?

    So is this class action going to consist entirely of people who then immediately tried to return the phone, but were refused? If so, I might have some patience to hear them out.

    Or if as I suspect this is mostly about a law firm trying to cash in on a mostly bogus complaint for which they recruited a 'victim' who was otherwise happily using the phone and made no effort to return it first, then I hope they get nailed for Apple's court costs.
  18. Gaymer313

    Gaymer313 TS Rookie

    Yes. We might know better cuz we are tech geeks but the non-tech savvy person could easily miss the one photo they show the notch. They shouldn't take advantage of that. Sales are poor and they need to move merch, I guess, but not at the cost of being misleading. Android has nothing to do with any of this.
  19. WorldPeaceNow

    WorldPeaceNow TS Rookie

    It's called CAPITALISM. Capital is put over consumers, workers, serfs, parents, etc. If we want a better system we first have to address capitalism and the present form which puts "Too big to fail" over common sense, honesty, integrity, employee rights, human rights, consumer rights, voter rights.

    Nothing will change until we change capitalism or eradicate it from our world.
  20. brucek

    brucek TS Maniac Posts: 154   +188

    Great. Why don't you nominate a couple smartphones produced by a non-capitalist economic system, and we can compare whatever issues they might have against the big "undisclosed notch issue" on a couple models from one manufacturer on display here and see which comes out better over all.

    Personally, I'm pretty satisfied with the vast array of phones available, ranging from all but free to quite expensive, and the very rapid progress made on improving them over the past decade.
  21. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,830   +3,922

    Well kidz, listen up. Apple sued the crap out of Samsung for copying their "rounded corners", and in a bizarre twist of judicial good fortune, actually won the case.

    With that said, I think it's only fair they should not be allowed to include those missing corners as "effective screen size", or have the sh!t sued out of them in return..

    Although TV manufacturers have been using diagonal measurement to indicate their claim of screen size ever since the first B & W "boob tubes" hit living rooms in the 1940's. And yes, they took the measurements including the tube area hidden by the bezel.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
  22. Dosahka

    Dosahka TS Booster Posts: 141   +57

    So you never check out what is the spec of your phone? ever?
    For example like this: https://www.apple.com/uk/iphone-xs/specs/

    I love when ppl making lawsuit, while Apple advertising it's phone with notch in every Video or ad they have:
    https://www.youtube.com/user/Apple/videos check out the iPhone videos. Notch, notch everywhere.
    Also Apple advertise it with notch and how proud that they made it "smaller" yet faster FaceID.

    While the photo is misleading, you can't be sooo silly to buy something without research:
    "oh hey the new iPhone cost 50 bucks/quid cheaper I'll buy it" or in this case: "no notch I will buy it" then next day put on Facebook Marketplace because: "it has an unexpected notch" or "unwanted gift" or "the screen is too big, I went back to my 3G" or something similar.
    Am I missing some common sense? Isn't anyone who you can ask about electronic devices? (who is a bit tech savvy or at least has more knowledge than you?)

    This guy in the article is one of many who buy products without research (silly enough to get convinced with one picture or 30 sec long video about H2O is against your health and we should ban it) and wont return the product (you have 14 days to bring back any Apple device and get back all the credit)
  23. Gaymer313

    Gaymer313 TS Rookie

    You may not have seen it but later in the thread I posted that we are tech geeks and know to read and research prior to buying. 100% agree with you.

    But many people don't. They just go on the Apple name, brand loyalty, friends recommendations, etc. They trust Apple. That's where this story goes wrong. You said it yourself, the pictures are misleading. And for everything Apple has done right in the past, this is wrong. It's unethical to use people's trust against them by obscuring a very important detail like the notch. It's in one photo in the entire user purchase journey on the website. A terrible abuse of trust.
    Dosahka likes this.
  24. onestepforward

    onestepforward TS Booster Posts: 109   +42

    "But many people don't. They just go on the Android/Samsung name, brand loyalty, friends recommendations, etc. They trust Android/Samsung. That's where this story goes wrong. You said it yourself, their marketing is misleading. And for everything Android/Samsung has done right in the past, this is wrong. It's unethical to use people's trust against them by obscuring a very important detail like the lack of updates. It's an aspect in the entire user purchase journey on the website. A terrible abuse of trust."

    Happy to help you with corrections.

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