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Apple Changes Stance On Water Damage Policy

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the customer-is-occasionally-right dept.

IOS 155

tekgoblin writes "It appears Apple has changed its stance on whether an iOS device is actually water damaged. If you remember when the 13-year-old girl sued Apple in December, it was because her iPhone's moisture sensors had gone off and Apple voided her warranty. Those sensors have also been triggered by simply exposing the phone to low temperatures. Now Apple says that if the moisture sensors are red but the customer disputes and says no liquid has come into contact with the device, the warranty may still apply."

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155 comments

Awesome! (3, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061408)

This will save me a lot of money on dry cleaning.

"Warranty may still apply" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061472)

But good luck getting them to apply it.

Unreliable (5, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061480)

Now Apple says that if the moisture sensors are red but the customer disputes and says no liquid has come into contact with the device, the warranty may still apply.

In other words, the sensors are unreliable.

Escape clause (4, Insightful)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061538)

the warranty may still apply

In other words, nothing has changed; it is still at their sole discretion if they wishes to honor the warranty.

Re:Escape clause (4, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061734)

No, something has changed. Previously a tripped moisture sensor would be grounds for an immediately voided warranty, now they'll take other points into account (presumably including, but not limited to, whether there is any other evidence of liquid damage, how convincing the customer's story is, how good a mood the manager is in that day, how attractive the customer is, how much fuss the customer kicks up, and the proximity of that day's lunch break).

Re:Escape clause (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35064004)

So, X big company wishes to abuse you, and it's employees are all apathetic, shallow, rule-worshippers. I'm guessing you've never worked retail, and I know you've never worked a genius bar.

P.S. Nothing has changed, I assure you.

Re:Escape clause (1)

yoyhed (651244) | more than 3 years ago | (#35064408)

I've worked retail, and your description sounds spot-on for about 90% of the employees there ;-)

Genius fucking bar... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35064696)

I don't know about anybody, but to call those technicians Genius is nothing but insulting to the user. Is Apple implying that all their customers are so dumb stupid motherfuckers that few people who can read screens and hook up few cables together are genius comparatively?

I am not an Apple customer, and this is just one more reason not to be, at least to me. But I do find it amusing that Apple user base takes that into their pride. May be insults, underhanded treatment and abuse from their almighty god has conditioned them not to worry about such trivialities.

Re:Escape clause (2, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061814)

In other words, nothing has changed; it is still at their sole discretion if they wishes to honor the warranty.

Or maybe someone realized that nothing works 100% of the time and maybe they shouldn't deny 100% of the claims where the sensor is red and the language is reasonably updated to reflect that.

Or to be even more cynical so as to be more of a karma whore, this undoubtedly means that apple updated their TOS to where if you send your phone in for warranty repairs, they'll keep it if it has water damage. They're trying to encourage more people to send in their phones so apple can put them in pillow cases and beat baby seals to death.

Apple's reason for existence (-1, Offtopic)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062654)

There seems to be some element of confusion in the tech community about Apple's reason for existence. Many people seem to think that Apple is an entity like the force in Star Wars that will galvanize the tech community and resonate their hopes, dreams, and energy into a cornicopia of the coolest products on earth. And like the alchemist's stone, it will transform them as well.

Not quite right, I'm afraid. The sole reason for the existence of Apple Corporation is to transfer money from YOUR bank account to Steven Job's bank account and deliver to you in exchange, shiny trinkets. Remember the Indians selling Manhattan to Steve Jobs for $24 worth of Newtons? Do you really think that you're any different? It seemed like a good deal to them at the time.

Check out your iPhone. It's basically a really expensive plastic little hand-held telephone that glows in the dark. Check out your iPod. It's just a f**king Walkman. It blasts apart when you drop it. It pumps the same sound into your brain that you hear when you go to the mall or step into an elevator. For this you paid $200? No, you paid all that money to be part of the Tao of Steve. The trinkets are just your ID card into this cult.

What I'm trying to say is that if Apple were a serious company instead of a money-sucking vacuum cleaner, then they would have made the trinket nearly waterproof. Your $10 wristwatch is nearly waterproof; it doesn't stop working when you go out running in the rain. So why does your $300 iPhone have moisture sensors INSIDE it that void your warranty when it's in your pants pocket when you take a piss?

It's because neurotic obsessive/compulsive greedy twisted little shithead Steven Jobs demands that his 20,000 poodle engineers come up with ways to void the warranty instead of coming up with solutions to the issues that can cause the trinkets to stop functioning.

I can't believe that any self-respecting engineer would actually work for this guy.

Re:Apple's reason for existence (0)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062762)

Do you really think that you're any different?

Yeah.

Check out your iPhone.

I don't have one.

Check out your iPod.

I don't have one.

No, you paid all that money to be part of the Tao of Steve.

No I didn't.

Your $10 wristwatch is nearly waterproof

No it's not (I don't have one).

So why does your $300 iPhone have moisture sensors

It doesn't. Because I don't have one.

I can't believe that any self-respecting engineer would actually work for this guy.

It's for the same reasons why he does what he does. Money, and an over-inflated ego. Shit, I bet even the people who work retail at the Mac store look down on other consumer electronics retailers. The guy honestly believes he's the pioneer leading the world into the next age of enlightenment, and he's been screwing people out of money since day 1 when it was him and Woz.

Blasphemy!! (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 3 years ago | (#35064734)

Are you seriously trying to explain science in an Alabama church??? This is blasphemy and you will be burnt alive by the slashdot church of Steve Jobs

Re:Unreliable (2)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062886)

In other words, at low temperatures condensation becomes a problem. Many modern electronic devices have heating circuits built in to prevent condensation, portable devices for obvious reasons do not.

Re:Unreliable (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35064318)

Right. So it's unreliable. It's supposed to detect the thing getting dunked in a liquid, but instead it detects ambient humidity. It's unreliable for what it's intended for.

Re:Unreliable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35063210)

I accidentally put my ipod touch through the washing machine, soap and all. It came out sparkling clean. After i let it dry for 2 days, it works just fine now.

Re:Unreliable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35063506)

In other words, more people lie about getting their phone/device wet...

Fuckers

Re:Unreliable (1)

Meski (774546) | more than 3 years ago | (#35064316)

But if the app store says it has the golden shower app downloaded, then the warranty's void.

oh yeah (0)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061484)

so, new phone?

Moisture sensors (5, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061486)

The funny thing is those papers are used in semiconductor bulk packaging to serve as a warning, not that the parts are unusable due to water but that a pre-bake may be necessary to drive water out that entered the packaging as a result of ambient humidity.

So yeah, anything that involves thermal shifts resulting in possible condensation can set these off while not harming the phone in the slightest. I don't know why anyone thinks these are in any way reliable.

Re:Moisture sensors (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061532)

Because it used to allow Apple to reject a warranty claim when they should honor it...mainly because they could BS their way into saying they were infallible before all of this... It's all about the Benjamins, you know.

Re:Moisture sensors (5, Informative)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061800)

I know this is about Apple, but Nokia has (or had) the same policy. I know this from first hand experience with a damaged 5160 about 6 or 7 years ago. They also try to void your warranty of you change the face plate...

Re:Moisture sensors (2)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35063616)

Yes, and nobody has bullshitted their way into getting Apple to repair their iOS device after they dropped it in the toilet/pool, claiming they didn't. This is in response to people abusing Apple's warranty.

Re:Moisture sensors (0, Troll)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061608)

I don't know why anyone thinks these are in any way reliable.

Because it can make Apple even more money and Apple consumers take all sort of crap anyway?

Re:Moisture sensors (3, Informative)

MouseR (3264) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061732)

Troll.

As if Apple was the only one using those things.

Re:Moisture sensors (1, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061754)

Troll.

As if Apple was the only one using those things.

Failure.
As if others doing the same make this "same" more ethical.

Re:Moisture sensors (1)

leenks (906881) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061876)

Failure.

Fail.

Re:Moisture sensors (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061966)

Troll.

And look how much I care ..

As if Apple was the only one using those things.

Nah, more and more companies imho seem to do it. Regarding telephones I assume rejection of warranty thanks to water damage is pretty common. But I don't know for sure, haven't happened to any of my phones (or well, leaking food container drown my Siemens phone in a plastic bag but it was well beyond the warranty time I assume and I would never had assumed it should had survived it. Killed my TI-85 with flavored oat milk to.)

Anyway, the thing is as said I feel more and more fucked by more and more companies. And I'm not willing to accept it. If everyone else is then fine for them.

* I hate locked in subscriptions, I want to buy a service, _NOW_, not forever. Let me pay for being able to use it and let me leave whenever I want to.
* I hate the time periods you have to wait until a service is cancelled.
* I hate to pay _AFTER_ I've received a service, or got a dispute with someone, because then it's much harder to do anything about it. If it's before I just don't pay and get no service/deal. Done.
* I hate to be forced to buy something just because I show interest / somehow messed up.
* I hate to be screwed just because I'm a loyal consumer, by for instance getting a default cost vs a lower one if I complained or compared with competitiors or signed up as a new consumer.
* I hate telephone marketing / support where the people don't even work for the company in question. Large companies where people don't feel for the company or get to feel the effect if they behave badly.

So on so on.

I like small companies with personal connection where the owner actually know they need and want me and try their best to make me happy. (Sure there are some retarded semi-theif company owners which will do anything they can for a small profit now / to screw you up.)

So, do I like to stay as a loyal consumer on magasines? ISPs? Telephone subscriptions? Electricity suppliers? Big retail chains? Apple?

Hell no.

In Apples case I do own a Macbook Pro and I'm not happy with the non-service I got. But I wouldn't be happy with all of the POS vendor lock-in, limited options, über-inflated prices, so on so on.

Troll? Hell yes. I want to get my point out. I don't care if it offend people.

If I could I would probably always visit small self-owned professional shops and ignore the piece of shit which is everything else. Sadly it's impossible to do so in all areas.

Re:Moisture sensors (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062440)

Afaik, others use more reliable sensors. At least nokia does, as their phones are in fact tested in Finnish winter.

The issue here isn't a general sensor failure, but the fact that it's common for sensors used by apple to fail in normal outdoors usage during winter.

Re:Moisture sensors (2)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061650)

The funny thing is those papers are used in semiconductor bulk packaging to serve as a warning, not that the parts are unusable due to water but that a pre-bake may be necessary to drive water out that entered the packaging as a result of ambient humidity.

So yeah, anything that involves thermal shifts resulting in possible condensation can set these off while not harming the phone in the slightest. I don't know why anyone thinks these are in any way reliable.

A co-worker of mine has a waterproof phone. He can literally immerse it in a sink of water, hose it down, take underwater pictures in a swimming pool, etc. with no concern about damaging it. I forgot what model he has, but it was not particularly expensive.

I doubt it would be infeasible for Apple to just make their iPhones waterproof like this. It should be easier than worrying about all of these unreliable sensors, defending against a lawsuit, and dealing with angry customers who expect warranty service. At least, one would think.

Re:Moisture sensors (3, Informative)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061770)

Setting aside the problems of maintaining the aesthetics while keeping it waterproof, I'll concentrate on one essential aspect of the iphone: ever notice how the touchscreen doesn't work when the screen gets wet?

Re:Moisture sensors (2)

adolf (21054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062334)

That's an issue with many (most? all?) capacitive touch screens.

My Motorola Droid acts the same way. In the summer, when it's hot out and I'm sweating like a pig, I keep it in a tightly-fit vinyl pouch to keep the touchscreen responsive. The rest of the year, it does just fine in my front pocket without any additional protection.

Re: How about Moisture Preventer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061716)

It's annoying how they seek an unreliable moisture sensor technology when theres a perfectly functional electrical insulator available for creating water proof circuits:

http://cnettv.cnet.com/waterproof-your-gadgets/9742-1_53-50003181.html

It's expensive... but worth researching into, if applied during fabrication or even just construction then such sealants could be used very sparingly and very effectively by coating only where needed.

Re:Moisture sensors (2)

astern (1823792) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062052)

Agreed, I've torn apart a fair number of iphones and the "sensor" (protip: it's a paper dot) had been triggered and the phone had NOT seen any liquid water.

Hell, hot breath would void an applecare with those dots. At the very least, this is a positive move for the customer.

Translation (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061512)

Translation: Our useless sensor is about to lead us into nasty litigation that will likely void our warranty-evasion scheme, so we better open the door a little bit.

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061758)

Apple are possibly the worst for warranties... and more specifically owning up to defects.

Their hardware is nice... and sure probably overall has somewhere near the least number of hardware defects.

But they are the worst because when there actually is a defect they wont fucking own up to it... considering how much they toot their horn about their ultra green hardware - pro longevity and all, it's pretty disheartening when they plain ignore you - even when clearly thousands of consumers have found the same flaw...

I suppose owning up to a defect is difficult when your under the delusion of perfection.

Re:Translation (5, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061894)

>>Apple are possibly the worst for warranties... and more specifically owning up to defects.

I suppose that explains Apple remaining in the top 3 for the last what 15 yrs in computer customer service.

Just this week I have seen Apple volunteer to repair TWO computers that were flat out abused by the customer because they want to keep happy customers. Your statement about Apple being "the worst" for warranties is about the biggest pile of flaming BS I have seen recently. They're expensive, they're arrogant, they're controlling, etc, but the grand majority of their customers rate the warranty and customer support five star.

That being said, yes the LSI are unreliable. They're also used worldwide by almost anyone that manufactures a handheld electronic gadget, including darn near 100% of cell phone manufacturers because they're cheap and WILL identify liquid contact. (erroring in their favor, what did you expect?) And every single one of them has started the game with a "if we see red, the warranty is void" policy, and will make exceptions/considerations in the customer's favor. (some more often than others) Take your dead cell phone into the store and say it won't turn on. The very first thing they will do is remove the battery. Not to reset it. (that's what they'll say though) But to look at the (most easily accessed, one of many) LSI in the phone. You make it sound like Apple is the only one in the world that does this. Remove your cell phone's battery. Look for the white dot.

>>I suppose owning up to a defect is difficult when your under the delusion of perfection

"defect" implies there was a "correct" way to do it. What was your suggestion? Don't you think by now someone would be wealthy having made a better solution to this industry-wide problem, if it were a trivial thing to improve on?

Re:Translation (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35064512)

Interesting, here in Denmark Apple has one of the lowest ratings when it comes to customer support - they have several times been beaten by the Danish consumer watchdog in cases where they refused to honor warranty.

So either their policy where you are from are different - or everyone else just truly sucks when it comes to customer service?

Re:Translation (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 3 years ago | (#35064758)

>> I suppose that explains Apple remaining in the top 3 for the last what 15 yrs in computer customer service.

Nope. For that, you will have to read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance [wikipedia.org] . And not only that, the tendency to justify something is directly proportional to the money you have already sunk in it. Simple as that.

As for your anecdotes, I have few too to prove you wrong. But they are just that, anecdotes.

Re:Translation (4, Informative)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062302)

Apple are possibly the worst for warranties... and more specifically owning up to defects.

They just gave me a 27" iMac in exchange for my 2 1/2 year old 24" iMac that was bugging out. That's why I always get AppleCare, because the service has been outstanding.

Re:Translation (4, Informative)

1729 (581437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062910)

Apple are possibly the worst for warranties... and more specifically owning up to defects.

My wife has had many free out-of-warranty repairs on her {i|Mac}Books over the years, and I've had at least one. Dealing with the call center is hopeless, but the techs at the Genius Bars tend to be very helpful, even when the warranty is expired or (in my wife's case) you've spilled tea all over your laptop's keyboard.

Re:Translation (2)

sokoban (142301) | more than 3 years ago | (#35063692)

IDK, they did give me a near top of the line Mac Pro when my liquid cooled G5 sprung a leak several years outside the warranty period.

And they also gave me a new laptop for 75% off several years back just because my previous one had required several repairs, which were all at their expense.

Not Always Right (3, Funny)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061566)

I know the cell phone companies (including Apple in this overgeneralization) are a bunch of greedy so-and-so's, but a quick perusal of the stories at (The Customer Is) NotAlwaysRight.com will show why the Water Damage excuse is rather valid.

Such as, the borderline fraudulent:

Why Contracts are a Gazillion Pages Long [notalwaysright.com] ...

Me: "Thats right, but there are conditions, one being that the phone cant have any liquid or physical damage. I need to check for that."

Customer: "Fine, here."

(When I open up the phone, it stinks of alcohol.)

Me: "Sorry, this smells like it has alcohol on it."

Customer: "Oh, well, I dropped it in the sink and I know you wont fix it if it has water damage, but I didnt have any ethylated spirits, so I soaked it in vodka for 2 days to dry it out."

And then, the just stupid:

Beefed-Up Technology [notalwaysright.com]

(I was a customer at a cell phone store, observing the following exchange.)

Employee: "Im sorry sir, but your phone has water damage, which isnt covered by the warranty. You will have to purchase a new phone."

Customer: "Thats ridiculous! I havent gotten the phone wet!"

Employee: "Have you used the phone in the rain? Sometimes, thats all it takes to get the internals wet enough to damage the device."

Customer: "Well, yes, but that doesnt make any sense! Cows are in the rain all the time and they dont die!"

Employee: "..."

Me: *interjecting* "Sir, cows arent electronic devices."

Customer: *storms out*

(Fair warning, though... My Ghostery plug-in shows a whopping 18 web-watchers on that site. No wonder it won't come up on my phone. Or maybe it's the water damage.)

Re:Not Always Right (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061698)

The first one is bordering on fraud, the second is what a reasonable person would call "normal use" for a portable device. It's not like they couldn't anticipate that someone might get caught in the rain one day. A penny's worth of sealant could solve the problem. Perhaps they should have designed and/or built it better.

Re:Not Always Right (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061720)

First example, fair enough. I don't know about the second, though; the customer was clearly a moron, but that doesn't change the fact that one could make a very reasonable argument that a mobile phone which fails in the rain is not fit for purpose. Obviously there isn't enough detail to know for sure - if they left it out in a monsoon then I'm certainly not blaming the company for the phone's failure - but the reasoning sounds dubious.

Re:Not Always Right (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062184)

Right or wrong, love it or hate it, this is one of those places where Apple has chosen to do things differently in a manner that not everyone will agree with. Every phone I've had included little rubber dongle thingies to cover the power port, headphone jack, etc. Until my iPhone 4, which had none of them.

I was talking to a friend while walking through the rain, and thinking, "Gee, it's good I have the headphones, or I'd get some severe water damage to this thing." While I initially started to curse Apple for apparently putting aesthetics over functionality, thinking back, most of those crap phones I've had in the past would lose their rubber pluggies within a few months anyway.

That being said, those were all replaceable for $50 or so, which isn't the case for the iPhone. Anyone out there know if other high-end smartphone manufacturers plug up the various ports (SIM, flash RAM, power, USB, etc?), or if they're all open to the elements?

Re:Not Always Right (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#35063966)

My latest HTC has all the USB and headphone socket open to the elements (SIM and SD socket are behind the battery, power is via USB). One I had 4 years ago had the rubber grommets, which as you note fall off quite quickly if you use them, but are quite good for sockets you never use. I never use the headphone jack on my current phone, as I have an iPod for music, and Bluetooth for handsfree, and being on the top of the phone, it is quite exposed to rainfall so a grommet would have been useful.

Re:Not Always Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062066)

Are you seriously saying that people shouldn't use their phone while it's raining? That's not the consumer being stupid, that's the manufacturer's stupidity for making a phone that doesn't stand up to standard usage.

Re:Not Always Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062120)

Would you use your laptop in the rain?

Re:Not Always Right (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062358)

Are you going to sit out in the rain and work on spreadsheets?

Using a phone while walking to somewhere it's not raining (car, home, work, etc) is normal, using a computer outside in the rain isn't. Do you see where you went wrong with that?

Re:Not Always Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062788)

I imagine it is normal to folks who don't realize that they have a $599 computer (smart phone) held up to their ear in the rain. For people who do realize that, they tend to protect it. Heck, if I knew I was going out in the rain my phone would be in a ziplock bag. If I was already on a trip, I would place it in an inside jacket pocket or something (and use an umbrella). I'd never chance getting water in the phone. They are expensive devices and really should be treated as such.

iPod Shuffle vs. Coffee (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062666)

Some years ago, my original-version iPod Shuffle had an unfortunate meeting with a cup of coffee. The music playing functions didn't survive the event, IIRC because the battery got toasted, but it still works fine as a USB memory stick. Of course, a gigabyte of memory stick was a lot bigger back then than it is now, and I suppose I should try to hack something interesting with the remains.

Many years before, my Palm Pilot III had a similar misfortune, and the falling cup of coffee also took out the backup database, which was the pile of dead trees in the briefcase. (Of course it happened a week after a hard drive failure on my laptop, which was not the fault of coffee, but I lost all my calendar. :-)

Re:Not Always Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35063652)

Check out this jewel I found in the HP forum [hp.com] a few days ago:

Ok. So just wanted everyone to know that if you have children be very careful not to let them within at least 500 ft. of your computer! Apparently HP does not cover "those kinds of accidents" in their warranty!!!!!!! My 4 yr. old daughter scratched the screen up pretty badly.

I am furious..I have spent close to $700.00 on my computer and have only had it for about 4 months now. I was told through HP customer service that I would have to buy a new monitor which is not very costly.... my question is, if it is not very costly to me, then why doesn't the warranty cover it??? hmm... oh well I guess. But to top it all off, I purchased an extra 2 year warranty through walmart..(an extra $49.00). Surprise, surprise they will not cover it either! what a joke...

Unless they make it right, the next computer product I buy will most definitely not be an HP product. And I will also be sure to let everyone that I see know that also!!!!

Madam, I'll help you spread your message about how terrible HP is for not repairing the damage your kid did to your monitor.

Re:Not Always Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35063924)

Hmm... Interesting. We just recently bought a bunch of HP computers with accidental damage protection warranty. I wonder how that might fair against kids' abuse. Granted, it was purchased as a company, but it might still be interesting to know.

Re:Not Always Right (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35064568)

Actually, cows *ARE* electronic... well, electricAL, at least... all mammals are. The voltage levels are miniscule, but they are still there, and they are the means by which our muscles are forced to contract, and are even involved in the very thoughts that we think.

It would probably be more correct to say that a cow's electrical architecture is simply much (!) more tolerant of the presence of moisture than typical consumer electronics devices are. We only started making consumer electronic devices in the last century. Evolution has a several hundred million year head start.

Slashdot on the iphone... (4, Informative)

xTantrum (919048) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061580)

So im sure to get modded off topic but i'm reading /. on my 3GS right now and this new layout apple does not like. For some reason i can never see the top story. The title is always half cut off by the /. Masthead. wtf?? Its also unbelievably slow to load the page and safari seems to have a hard time fitting the content to the phone display so who am I to sue in this case, Apple or cowboy neal? ----sent from my ipho

Re:Slashdot on the iphone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061604)

Sue yourselves!

Re:Slashdot on the iphone... (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061756)

I have an iphone 4 and it has the same problem with the top title being cut-off.

Speed is just fine.

Re:Slashdot on the iphone... (1)

wangerx (1122027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062496)

Same issue with Firefox 3.6.13 under Linux 2.6.26. Speed is fine at 25Mbps.

Apple Is Saying.... (1)

mlauzon (818714) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061610)

So, what Apple is saying, never take your iDevice anywhere, because we don't believe you that you didn't get it wet.

Does that mean I can resubmit my phone for repairs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061616)

I already got a phone returned back after a service technician deemed my warranty void because of water sensors triggered.

The repair service has a online digital log which says the technician spent 2 seconds (!!) voiding my warranty. I was furious when I got my three choices

1) buy new phone £450

2) return this phone BUT pay a technician service fee £50 for handling my case

3) they discard my phone for free

But the worst thing was the fact that there wasn't anything wrong with the phone except that model had a well known hardware problem with their headphone jack (it would easily jam and stay in headphone mode even though no headphone was plugged)

this was a BIG let down on a previously very happy Apple customer. Nowadays they got those damn water sensors in everything and you'll be damned if they trigger without your knowing.

How many people check their water sensors when unpacking their phone?

I'm a cellphone tech at one of the US Big 4 (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061636)

The problem with LDI stickers is that it just shows that the sticker was exposed to liquid. At the unnamed cellphone provider I work for failing a phone for a tripped sticker if they have insurance won't fly. We have to find corrosion or other signs of liquid intrusion on the circuit board.

But seriously people. If you use your phone in extreme conditions and it fails, that is not something that should ever be covered under a warranty. I love how they are saying that the LDI's aren't fair because if you use the phone in -20C and then go inside they can trip. Guess what -20C is BAD for your electronics. Leaving your phone in the room while you shower is BAD for your electronics. If your actively using your devices out there and leaving them exposed you deserve to lose your warranty coverage. Warranty covers defects in the equipment not defects in the user. Remember these people are in the store trying to make warranty claims because their phone is broken. Its not like the phones/devices are working fine. If your stupid enough to do something that trips your stickers Apple has the right to deny you.

Them using stickers as ways to blanket deny a phone is not unique to apple. What is unique to apple is they are the only company that pretty much forces you to go to them for support. If you have stickers tripped in any HTC/Palm/Moto/Samsung devices and your sending your device to them for warranty service, that is gonna be shipped back to you as unrepairable and your gonna be charged for shipping.

Re:I'm a cellphone tech at one of the US Big 4 (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061752)

Given some conditions that have triggered the stickers, if they actually indicate conditions the phone can't cope with, they should withdraw it from the market. A humid day in NYC can set it off. A cold day in a major Canadian city can set it off. Just imagine all those stupid people who for some reason thought it was safe to remove a portable electronic device from the box and (GASP!) carry it around with them. The shame!

Re:I'm a cellphone tech at one of the US Big 4 (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062088)

I love how they are saying that the LDI's aren't fair because if you use the phone in -20C and then go inside they can trip.

Isn't the point here that you simply carry the phone in -20C and then go inside, and it trips?

And -20C is not uncommon temperature in some regions where a lot of people live, you know. Russia commonly has a few weeks of that every winter, and I'm not talking Siberia here, but Moscow and whereabouts.

Re:I'm a cellphone tech at one of the US Big 4 (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35063938)

No the point is that using the phone in temperature and humidity ranges conditions that Apple themselves state are acceptable may trigger the LDI dots. If being near a sweaty body is a problem, then they should stop advertising the ipod to people who run. Otherwise that's false advertising and the product is not suitable for the purpose for which it's being sold.

Re:I'm a cellphone tech at one of the US Big 4 (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35063976)

I hate talking to myself, but I thought I'd post the ACTUAL SPECS from http://www.apple.com/iphone/specs.html [apple.com] . Unfortunately exposing the iphone to conditions within these specs can result in the LDIs turning red.

Environmental requirements
        * Operating temperature: 32 to 95 F (0 to 35 C)
        * Nonoperating temperature: -4 to 113 F (-20 to 45 C)
        * Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing
        * Maximum operating altitude: 10,000 feet (3000 m)

Re:I'm a cellphone tech at one of the US Big 4 (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35064142)

Ah, lovely - so iPhone is unusable outdoors whenever (and wherever) it snows. Good to know.

Re:I'm a cellphone tech at one of the US Big 4 (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35064562)

They are kinda like the Danish trains, they also only seem to be operating in the spring and early fall.

Re:I'm a cellphone tech at one of the US Big 4 (2)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062146)

But seriously people. If you use your phone in extreme conditions and it fails, that is not something that should ever be covered under a warranty.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but an iPhone is a cellular telephone, right?

I'm just wondering. If it is, then it needs to handle temperatures and humidity that a cellular telephone might normally encounter.

Re:I'm a cellphone tech at one of the US Big 4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062442)

You miss the point, unless he lacks a conscience, this guy would be unemployed if he used critical thinking to conclude that corporate policy was bullshit.

As a matter of selection bias since the unemployed don't preface their comment with "as a [blah blah]" credibility statement, then op is more likely to either:

A)lack a conscience
or
B)possess a very human ability to rationalize self-interest and in this case that manifests as "blaming the victim".

It's an escape from cognitive dissonance or poverty, don't ruin it for him.

For everyone else, as someone who waterproofs electronics as a part of my work building ROV's, I find it completely inexcusable that water damage is considered a legitimate cause for voided warranties. I regularly take electronics devices that are neither designed nor optimized to be water proof, and can generally succeed in making them work exposed to depths of over 100ft with no more than a tool box of transparent epoxy, silicone gasket/o-rings, RTV compound, hot glue, and marine epoxy. Note the lack of need for bulky pressure housings/otter boxes.

So what's Apple's excuse? They have the benefit of being able to design gaskets in to the device housing as well as the ability to coat their expensive electronics in silicone or epoxy. If I can exceed IP68 with so much duct tape, manufacturers have no excuse to not be able to at least meet IP67. Even then, IP67 is above and beyond what consumers are asking for, and their expectations are more around IP64.

reference:
http://www.aceeca.com/policies/ip67_definition.php

Apple acts as though dropping a phone in a puddle is extreme usage but almost every component in "cheap brand" car like a Geo meets "puddle proof" standards of at least IP67, so a phone which costs as much as a used car has no excuse for failing from shower condensation.

The added cost is minimal which means portable electronics manufacturers are deliberately neglecting to include a simple and much needed feature. Just another way of achieving engineered obsolescence.

Re:I'm a cellphone tech at one of the US Big 4 (4, Insightful)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062248)

"I'm a cellphone tech at one of the US Big 4" ---

Guess what -20C is BAD for your electronics.

My data center is held at constant temperature and humidity for electronics. I DON'T intend to stay in a data center to use a phone. In Alberta, Canada it routinely gets to -30C (as it did this morning in fact) and I expect the phone to work. Did I say, after it thaws out? No I meant in -30C weather.

You know what's BAD for a car engine? -30C
You know what's BAD for plastic? -30C
You know what's BAD for plants and animals? -30C

Sure its not good but it should still work.

Re:I'm a cellphone tech at one of the US Big 4 (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35063332)

My data center is held at constant temperature and humidity for electronics. I DON'T intend to stay in a data center to use a phone. In Alberta, Canada it routinely gets to -30C (as it did this morning in fact) and I expect the phone to work. Did I say, after it thaws out? No I meant in -30C weather.

Don't buy an iPhone then. It's only rated to operate down to 0C. Below -20C, it explodes, leaving a puff of vapor which forms into Steve Jobs's head, laughing at you.

Re:I'm a cellphone tech at one of the US Big 4 (1)

chiguy (522222) | more than 3 years ago | (#35064674)

You know what's BAD for a car engine? -30C
You know what's BAD for plastic? -30C
You know what's BAD for plants and animals? -30C

Sure its not good but it should still work.

Plants and animals generally don't "still work" at -30C. Only very specialized plants and animals do.

If you purchase a pack of alligators to pull your Iditarod sled across Alaska, not only are you operating them outside their design specs, the clerk has every right to deny you a warranty replacement when yours dies.

You should use specialized, extra-insulated alligators. But they aren't mass produced, so they cost more.

Unrelated damage (1)

JavaBear (9872) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061664)

What I don't understand, is how Apple can get away with using the "moisture" sensor to void all warranties. If the damage was likely caused by moisture, sure, but I've heard examples of Apple stores refusing repair of broken buttons or other defects that clearly are not related to water in any way.

Re:Unrelated damage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061728)

If liquid gets in the device it is impossible to detect what damage it has done to the circuit board. There are so many small capacitors, transistors, ICs ect on there that even a little drop of moisture of any kind can fry. One little drop in a bad spot when the voltage is just right on the phone can cause systemic failures that are impossible to trace. For example, If you have a blackberry of any kind, due to the way the buttons work, if you have liquid damage anywhere on the main keypad, not only that button will stop working, there is a chance that all the buttons on the phone will stop working. Including the buttons located on the top of the device (usually mute/lock).

Re:Unrelated damage (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061748)

What I don't understand, is how Apple can get away with using the "moisture" sensor to void all warranties. If the damage was likely caused by moisture, sure, but I've heard examples of Apple stores refusing repair of broken buttons or other defects that clearly are not related to water in any way.

Virtually all "buttons" on apple devices are touch sensors or membrane contacts. Yes, those can be flaky if subjected to moisture.

Re:Unrelated damage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061986)

I can think of five exceptions on one device that only has a single touch-sensitive surface. It's also the device in question in both the GP post and the article.

Re:Unrelated damage (1)

BillX (307153) | more than 3 years ago | (#35063604)

Actually, many membrane keyswitches (and electronics components in general) are designed - and encouraged by the manufacturer - to be washed in water after assembly. Together with water-soluble fluxes [finishing.com] , this is a standard manufacturing step to remove flux residue and other contaminants. (Enclaimer: IAAEE)

(One caveat; this is distilled/DI water based cleaning; a dip in the ocean is an entirely different story!)

Re:Unrelated damage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35064356)

If the button is physically broken, then yeah of course it's not covered.

If it's physically okay but mysteriously not sending a signal, or stuck held down, those are both potentially symptoms of corrosion.

I'm not sure what kind of problem you can have with a button that could not be attributed to liquid damage.

Not up to Apple (2)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061702)

What I love in stories like this is the implication that Apple actually gets to CHOOSE when the warranty applies. This is wrong for at least two reasons:

1. You have private rights against Apple which you are entitled to enforce.

2. You have statutory rights which Apple cannot simply declare to be null and void.

On #1, you have the right to hold Apple to the warranty and to the contract of sale. Depending upon how it's expressed at the time you buy the device, the mere fact that a little sticker changes colour does not mean that Apple gets to unilaterally walk away from its obligations to you any more than you can unilaterally alter the terms of the warranty or agreement yourself.

On #2, in many places there are statutory warranties which do not give a flying fuck what Apple's opinion about a little sticker is. Again, they are likely to depend upon whether the device actually was damaged by the user through misuse, or whether it was in fact designed or manufactured in a defective way. Obviously these rights varies by jurisdiction.

The common thread is that Apple's arbitrary statements of "fact" do not in any way affect your right to have a defective product repaired or replaced, or to obtain a refund. The fact that a sticker changes colour does not somehow alter reality to mean that you did drop your device in a glass of water when you didn't, any more than a device which has been carefully half dipped in water would lead to a refund simply because the sticker hasn't changed colour.

I also wonder whether Apple implying that it is their random declarations of policy which determine whether you have refund rights might not be illegal. Certainly under Australia's new Australian Consumer Law it will be a serious offence to make false or misleading statements about what rights consumers have, and as of 2012 goods will be required to include a statement from the manufacturer confirming the consumers rights under the legislation.

Re:Not up to Apple (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061808)

What I love in stories like this is the implication that Apple actually gets to CHOOSE when the warranty applies. This is wrong for at least two reasons:

1. You have private rights against Apple which you are entitled to enforce.

2. You have statutory rights which Apple cannot simply declare to be null and void.

Because Steve Jobs and his lackeys at the genius bar give a shit about your rights.
Oh, wait.

It costs more in time and effort to sue them than is worthwhile for 99.9999% of people.

sounds like what they really need... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061714)

is a droid that understands the binary language of moisture vaporators

Re:sounds like what they really need... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061984)

Or possibly they could substitute one that can program binary loadlifters. They're very similar to vaporators in most respects.

squishy fruit (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35061746)

I rubbed an apple against my Apple product. Does this void the warranty? Perhaps they should have named the company "Rock" instead. Then the SNL war skit about "iRock" would ring true.

not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35061912)

About a year ago I had a phone with a tripped sensor start rebooting randomly every couple weeks. I brought it in, they said it was flipped, I said it was never wet. With no fuss they brought it into the back, checked inside, saw the inside sensors were fine. They gave me a replacement phone on the spot.

I do not see anything new about this, other then now it's in writing.

Insurance? (2)

dkuntz (220364) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062050)

I dont know about AT&T's smartphone insurance, but when I got mine from a nameless company that rhymes with Lint, the person at the store actually told me "If it fails due to water damage, dont tell us, dont bring the phone in, call the warranty number and say the phone was lost, you'll just have to pay $50 for a refurbished one, but they wont flat out reject the warranty".

But, I know some providers wont insure smartphones, because they're so "Expensive". And if you're worried about data...remember the old addage: Backup Backup Backup!

They have treated me OK (2)

Rubinstien (6077) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062132)

I dropped my original iPhone in the tub. I was taking a soak and reading/answering emails -- one of those hell weeks where I was working around the clock and getting 45 minutes of sleep a day, if I was that lucky. I dozed off for a minute and startled back awake, and had let the bottom of the phone drop into the water. It was dead, dead, dead. I tried drying it out with desiccant, but no luck. It had *not* triggered the sensor (it was still pure white). I was honest though, took it to the store and told them what I had done. They replaced it with the 3Gs for $100 and a re-up on my AT&T contract.

They completely replaced the innards on my uni-body MacBook Pro, gratis, when it started having power management issues. It would just shut down at random. This, despite the fact that I had previously taken the thing completely apart to clean the keyboard out after my daughter dumped a full can of Diet Sprite into it. It had been six months since that had happened, so I was confident the new issue was unrelated, and they had evidently seen enough of the same symptom to agree with me.

I imagine the experience varies from Apple Store to Apple Store, but the one here certainly treats me well. I have no complaints. I can say that for very, very few other vendors.

Re:They have treated me OK (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 3 years ago | (#35064228)

They replaced it with the 3Gs for $100 and a re-up on my AT&T contract.

that is the normal rate for a new phone

Duhh...condensation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062208)

What happened with the 13 year-old girl's phone is that it was exposed to low temperatures and then brought into a hotter, more humid environment, at which time humidity condensed on the white sticker causing it to bleed its red color through. If condensation from bringing a phone from a cold to warm environment isn't enough to damage a phone then, YES, Apple better freakin loosen their rules about water damage or they're gonna get many more law suits. But, if condensation can actually damage the electronics and not just trigger the sensor then Apple either needs smarter water detection or they need to be more descriptive about what voids the warrenty (e.g. "No cold tempereatures" too).

I'd be so pissed if I didn't get water on my phone and Apple refused to honor the warrenty!

Iphone 4 enviro req, straight from apple (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062540)

Environmental requirements

        * Operating temperature: 32° to 95° F
            (0° to 35° C)
        * Nonoperating temperature: -4° to 113° F
            (-20° to 45° C)
        * Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing
        * Maximum operating altitude: 10,000 feet (3000 m)

So, do you know of anyone on this planet that lives somewhere that these temperatures, humiditys, and possibly even altitudes won't be exceeded at some point during the year? In my opinion that's a pretty cruddy stats for a personal device intended to be carried with you everywhere.

Re:Iphone 4 enviro req, straight from apple (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062570)

didn't expect it to screw up the post like that, didn't look screwed up in the preview either.

op temp 32 to 95 F, 0 to 35 C
non-op temp -4 to-113 F, -20 to 45 C

Re:Iphone 4 enviro req, straight from apple (1)

isj (453011) | more than 3 years ago | (#35062812)

Right now where I live: 1C and 97% relative humidity.

The important thing about humidity is that it is non-condensing (i.e. not raining) and that the temperature of the device is kept above the dew point (otherwise water condenses on and inside the device). So:
  - dropping it in the bath tub: bad
  - using it in fog: bad
  - taking a cold device (eg. 5C) from the outside to the inside where the temperature is higher but relative humidity is also high: bad

Re:Iphone 4 enviro req, straight from apple (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35064558)

And outside right now here, it's outside of the official operating conditions too. Currently:

Temp: 38 C / 100 F (outside operating range)
Dewpoint: 3 C (giving a relative humidity of ~10%, which is OK but not far from outside acceptable range)

Having said that I've been using my phone outside all day and I don't think anything bad is going to happen to it. It's on the cold/moist side of things that you might trip the sensor, not the hot/dry side. I wonder what the maximum operating temp is set so low for actually (35 C would be surpassed in almost all temperate climates in summer at least once or twice).

Re:Iphone 4 enviro req, straight from apple (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 3 years ago | (#35063192)

I would say that you would only be able to use your device about 70% of the year in the average U.S. city based on those requirements. Do they stop charging you for service in the winter as well? Somehow doubt it.

Re:Iphone 4 enviro req, straight from apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35063220)

Considering its been consistently below 30 here during winter and above 95 during summer, we wouldn't be able to use it 70% of the year here in iowa.

iphone4 moisture sensors - condensate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35062758)

MOBILE phones are by definition for use in the real world. I have an iPhone4 and have the expectation that it will function in common real-world applications.

The unit repeatedly shut down at outdoor temps at or below 32 F while the device was in an exterior jacket pocket. It even shut down after being placed inside a glove and in an inside insulated jacket pocket. Interestingly, online Apple specs are as follows: (i) Operating temperature: 32 to 95 F, (ii) Nonoperating temperature: -4 to 113 F. Does this mean that iPhones are unfit for use outdoors in large parts of the US in wintertime at temps below 32? Or on hot summer days at temps higher than 95? It is hard to believe that such a costly product is so incapable of withstanding typical atmospheric conditions, but Apple's specs seem to confirm the foregoing experience.

Temperature is related to the moisture sensors as follows: Extract an iPhone from a warm pocket on a cold, high-humidity day. The entire phone is immediately covered in condensate - presumably not just outside where the condensate is quite visible, but also inside the device's shell to which there is airflow and where the paper moisture sensors are located. My iPhone was never, ever exposed to moisture - other than the aforementioned condensate which is quite common in winter's cold, moist environment. The moisture sensor of my iPhone closest to the dock connector was discolored. I suspect that is typical of a large number of iPhones used in cold climates, and potentially enables Apple to deny many warranty claims.

Wait, a 13 year old girl sued? (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 3 years ago | (#35063114)

What is a 13 year old doing with an iPhone? Does she even have a job? Are her parents aware of the ongoing worldwide economic crisis? Don't they know how difficult it is for us practical parents to keep telling our kids that they can't have what is essentially a toy until such time as they are old enough to need one and can take care of it properly?

Re:Wait, a 13 year old girl sued? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35063216)

What is a 13 year old doing with an iPhone? Does she even have a job? Are her parents aware of the ongoing worldwide economic crisis? Don't they know how difficult it is for us practical parents to keep telling our kids that they can't have what is essentially a toy until such time as they are old enough to need one and can take care of it properly?

Shut up.

Re:Wait, a 13 year old girl sued? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35063586)

What is a 13 year old doing with an iPhone? Does she even have a job? Are her parents aware of the ongoing worldwide economic crisis? Don't they know how difficult it is for us practical parents to keep telling our kids that they can't have what is essentially a toy until such time as they are old enough to need one and can take care of it properly?

Uh...that makes as much sense as complaining that your neighbor bought a new Lexus when you can't afford a new car. If they have better job than you, if they make more money than you, then one of the perks is that they can afford to buy shit you can't.

One of the things 'practical' parents need to teach their children is that other people make more money than you do, others make less. Then you can teach them that if they want to be the ones making more money, they need to work hard for it and plan ahead. This doesn't guarantee that they will become rich, and plenty of people who work less will still make more money than they do because the world isn't "fair". The hard work and proper planning does, however, tremendously decrease their odds of falling below the poverty line and increases their odds of earning above average.

Thought of the following? (1)

weeboo0104 (644849) | more than 3 years ago | (#35064178)

Has anybody thought of the possibility that the phones went from a low temperature, into a high temperature, relatively high humidity environment? i.e. Going from your car in the winter into your nice, warm house. That might trip the sensor when moisture condenses in the cold phone.

Too late for me (1)

Wheely (2500) | more than 3 years ago | (#35064618)

They refused to fix my 3GS.

I had only the bottom sensor tripped and this was due to having a long call AFTER getting out of a jacuzzi and having a rather sweaty head. Still, it at least gave me the motivation for taking my iphone apart and scratching away at metal bits inside it until it started working again.

This is the one issue that means my next phone will be Android.

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