Apple Faces First iPhone 3G Suit

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Alabama resident Jessica Alena Smith has become the first to file suit against Apple for sub-standard 3G performance in its new iPhone 3G. And she’s requesting her suit be granted class-action status, owing to the large number of iPhone users who are experiencing dropped calls and unreliable 3G data service from the devices.

Numerous iPhone 3G owners in the U.S. and around the world claim to be experiencing dropped calls and problems with 3G data services, even in areas where cell signals and 3G data service are reliable and readily available to other devices. Although some sources claim the problem is in the iPhone hardware, Apple recently released an iPhone software update aimed at improving 3G connectivity; however, the update appears to be causing new problems for some iPhone users—some U.S. users apparently can’t even make phone calls without switching to AT&T’s slower EDGE network.

Smith’s suit alleges that Apple aggressively promoted the iPhone 3G as being “twice as fast for half the price” as the original iPhone, but that she immediately found data connectivity was slower than expected, and the phone only appeared to be able to connect to AT&T’s 3G network about 25 percent of the time. She also reports an inordinate number of dropped calls.

Smith asserts—and many iPhone 3G owners will attest—that the problems aren’t hers alone, and that her suit should be granted class action status because the “defective” iPhone 3G violates Apple’s warranty and amounts to the company enriching itself at the expense of untold thousands of iPhone 3G purchasers. Smith is asking for unspecified damages and that Apple be ordered to repair or replace all defective iPhone 3Gs.

Considering the widespread reports of connectivity problems with the iPhone 3G—and Apple’s apparently less-than-successful attempts to address the problems through software patches—Smith’s suit may just be first of many legal actions brought against Apple by unhappy iPhone 3G customers.

In the meantime, Apple is reportedly working on another software update for the iPhone, possibly aiming at a September release.

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