Shatter, crack, and pop — Apple Watch lawsuit alleges long-term screen defect

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Kenneth Sciacca

A new class-action lawsuit has been filed against Apple for what is alleged to be a deliberate refusal to acknowledge a common defect in the design of all generations of the Apple Watch, which causes the screen to “crack, shatter, or detach from the body.” The plaintiff is seeking damages of $5 million.

Apple has been faced with a number of lawsuits in recent months, most notably in relation to its butterfly keyboard design for the latest-generation of MacBook Pro. We weren’t huge fans of it either. This latest suit though, targets multiple generations of a more niche product, with plaintiff Kenneth Sciacca claiming that the Apple Watch Series 0, Series 1, Series 2, and Series 3, are all affected by the same defect.

The Watches are said to feature a problem that, through no fault or action of the wearer, can cause the screen to be damaged or detach entirely from the watch frame, “oftentimes only days or weeks after purchase.” The lawsuit alleges that Apple was aware of the defect before it debuted the original Apple Watch and has done nothing to correct it through subsequent versions of the hardware.

Furthermore, Sciacca and his fellow plaintiffs allege that Apple’s response to complaints surrounding the issue has been lackluster. They suggest that Apple has an internal policy of denial which pushes the narrative that screen damage is caused by the wearer and that it would not honor its limited warranty on those grounds, as Patently Apple explains.

Apple hasn’t acknowledged any such longstanding issue with its Watch hardware, though in April 2018,  it did pledge to repair for free any Watches which were found to have a swollen battery. However, that recall and repair scheme only applied to Series 2 Watches, despite many complaints about the issue relating to Series 0 Watches as well.

Although we can’t promise to help out if your Apple Watch’s screen has decided to pop off of the frame, if you have issues with LTE connectivity or charging, our guide to Apple Watch problems might be able to help.

If you don’t have an Apple Watch and all of this talk of defects hasn’t put you off, we also have a guide for which Apple Watch model to buy.