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Apple Sued Over iPhone Bricking

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the better-than-the-price-change-suit dept.

Communications 418

An anonymous reader writes "The week's debate over the iPhone 1.1.1 has finally resulted in legal action. InfoWeek reports that on Friday, California resident Timothy Smith sued Apple in a class-action case in Santa Clara County Superior court. The suit was filed by Damian Fernandez, the lawyer who's been soliciting plaintiffs all week for a case against Apple. The suit doesn't ask for a specific dollar amount, but seeks an injunction against Apple, which prevents it from selling the iPhone with any software lock. It also asks that Apple be enjoined from denying warranty service to users of unlocked iPhone, and from requiring iPhone users to get their phone service through AT&T."

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OfCOM (3, Interesting)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878153)

I just can't wait for OfCOM to get their hands on Apple when the iPhone launches in the UK. I know I will be the first to complete a complaints for to them on the day of the release.

Re:OfCOM (1)

Elliot_Lin (972399) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878161)

Yeah, I'm sure they'll have something to say about lock in.

Re:OfCOM (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20878173)

Fuck the UK. Useless pieces of shit. We save them in WWII and now they are going after our businesses ?

Re:OfCOM (4, Interesting)

RDW (41497) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878383)

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out in other EU countries where unlocking must legally be provided on request, or where it's banned altogether, e.g.:

http://www.unlockiphone.info/2007/07/iphones-in-france-law-says-they-must-be.html [unlockiphone.info]

Will Apple be prepared to allow unlocked phones in these countries (presumably leading to a free European market in officially unlocked phones), or will they choose to lose sales and not sell where they can't enforce a lockdown and get the revenue that goes with it?

Re:OfCOM (3, Informative)

R.D.Olivaw (826349) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878513)

That won't be so complicated. They will sell the phone with a contract. The same thing they do with any other phone. It won't be locked but you've already signed the multiple year contract when you get it.

Re:OfCOM (2, Informative)

RDW (41497) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878619)

I don't know the details of the law, but it's been claimed that in (e.g.) Belgium, it's not legal to tie even an unlocked phone to a subscription:

http://mindthegeek.blogspot.com/2007/03/great-idea-from-belgium.html [blogspot.com]

http://www.ibert.be/2007/08/looks-like-iphone-wont-be-in-belgium.html [ibert.be]

Re:OfCOM (2, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878711)

Well, if the contract is made so that most of the profit comes from the monthly fee, then you getting the contract but not using it is still a great deal for the provider. I guess in countries where unlocking support is mandatory, the contracts will reflect the possibility to unlock the phone.

Re:OfCOM (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878793)

But why didn't they do that in the US, I wonder?

Re:OfCOM (5, Informative)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878551)

For our international friends OfCOM is the government watch body for communications, a few years back they made the statement that unlocking your phone so it will work on different networks is perfectly legal and carriers have to unlock a phone if asked to do so (not tried it myself.) Apple's recent american update would fly in the face of that and OfCOM aren't afraid to fine companies and force them to follow their rules. OfCOM is currently looking into forcing broadband adverts to be more truthfull so marketing speak like "upto 8MBPS" or "unlimited" won't be allowed (even if they are legal) for Americans out there this is to protect consumers and is a good thing.


I doubt its going to sell many units to the teenage "cool and hip" crowd because every teenager I know in the UK doesn't want to bring an expensive phone out on the town and I doubt your "power manager" type will end up with one because, from my albiet limited expearence with O2 stores. The staff are actually quite good at matching the phone to the individual, it may not necessarily be the most expensive phone they have on offer nor might it be the coolest looking but it will be roughly what the customer is after.

Re:OfCOM (5, Insightful)

GPL Apostate (1138631) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878677)

The staff are actually quite good at matching the phone to the individual, it may not necessarily be the most expensive phone they have on offer nor might it be the coolest looking but it will be roughly what the customer is after.

It sounds like the sales staff are active advocates for the needs of the customer, like they listen to what the customer needs and earn their salary by tailoring a package to meet those needs.

That isn't allowed in the U.S. No Sales Manager would allow such a salesperson out on their retail floor. Here 'sales' is about maximizing return to the retail establishment at whatever expense. The customer is treated like a consumable.

About time! (1, Insightful)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878169)

Maybe now I can get my Motorola C975 camera phone unlocked from the 3 network. They locked it, they can unlock the thing. Or give me a new phone that's a: similarly functional to the 975 and b: open to all networks. For no extra charge. And maybe some sort of credit compensation.

Re:About time! (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878279)

Locked it later on or from the begining? If it was locked from the begining why did you bought it if you didn't wanted it locked. Sounds kind of stupid.

Re:About time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20878297)

> Sounds kind of stupid.

his nick is tasticles.

Re:About time! (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878609)

1. I needed a phone
2. it was the cheapest in the shop at the time (!! Whatever happened to basic make-and-take-calls phones??)
3. erm. That's all I got.

Stupid lawsuit again...? (5, Insightful)

cavac (640390) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878175)

If you modify an embedded system in a non-vendor approved way and then install a vendor update and the update brakes cause you did something incompatible.... Then it's your fault, not the vendors...

While i agree that Apple should be forced to sell unlocked phones, modifying a product in a non-approved way DOES invalidate your waranty. Why should the vendor be held reliable if YOU break his software?

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (5, Insightful)

cbunix23 (1119459) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878293)

Exactly. There hasn't been any information as to exactly what the nature of that update from Apple was. All we know is after the update unlocked iPhones were no longer usable after the update was applied. The tech-ignorant media has been suggesting the purpose of the update was to turn unlocked iPhones into iBricks, but there has been no proof of that.

Apple did not release an iPhone SDK or API that could be programmed to. Why should they be held responsible for what happens when iPhone updates break iPhones with arbitrary software on them.

It would be like changing the linux kernel for some special project you are workin on and then complaining that your unapproved changes no longer worked when the next kernel release came along. That's why there are API and SDKs and manual pages. Go beyond them at your peril.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (2, Informative)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878429)

Bah. We're talking about software here. It's not like little gnomes entered the iPhone and physically started destroying the hardware. At the very least Apple should allow people to wipe everything and begin anew.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20878783)

At the very least Apple should allow people to wipe everything and begin anew.

And that is my understanding of exactly what the update does. It doesn't "brick" the phone, it resets it to an out-of-box unregistered state. If the phone has already been registered with AT&T and if that account is still active, it's trivial to reattach it.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (2, Insightful)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878541)

The tech-ignorant media has been suggesting the purpose of the update was to turn unlocked iPhones into iBricks, but there has been no proof of that.


And how could we go about getting proof... hmmm... maybe... how about a lawsuit? Isn't that what they're for - a group of people have a strong suspicion of foul play and would like to know if it indeed happened as they believe and if there is a legal remedy for it.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (5, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878303)

Why should the vendor be held reliable if YOU break his software?

Indeed, why?
Let's find out!

*flips out a cell phone and dials his lawyer*

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (1, Troll)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878313)

While i agree that Apple should be forced to sell unlocked phones, modifying a product in a non-approved way DOES invalidate your waranty. Why should the vendor be held reliable if YOU break his software?


a)Apple deliberately made the update brick the phone if third party applications were installed. There is no technical reason for this, other than to prevent people from unlocking their phone. It is not a matter of the customer doing something incompatible, it is a matter of Apple releasing a patch that deliberately destroys the devices of people who have done something they didn't like.

b)While I can agree that they can make their warranty subject to what you do with the phone, this doesn't absolve them from responsibility if there are unrelated defects. As an example, if touch-screen is made from an inferior material and scratches easily, saying "well you modified the software, so tough luck" is not acceptable.

Bad car analogy: If you send your car in for an oil-change and the mechanic notes you have used tieres from a competitor, then it is not acceptable for the mechanic to disable your engine to punish you. Also, if the fuel tank suffers from a design flaw causing it to catch fires in the case of a crash, then saying "you changed the tires, no warranty" is not an acceptable excuse.

Basically this lawyer is throwing up a lot of stuff to see what sticks, in my opinion some of it should.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (4, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878341)

actually the guys looking at the code are saying that apple did a complete rewrite of the software. Maybe Apple didn't want third party applications because the first version of the software while functional was ugly from an internal standpoint

Think OS X 10.0 versus 10.2 they work the same yet the code itself has been cleaned up.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (4, Insightful)

janrinok (846318) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878385)

Apple deliberately made the update brick the phone if third party applications were installed

How do you know? The upgrade might have had that effect but it might not have been deliberate, but simply the result of trying to apply an update to software that was in an unknown state because it have been modified by the user.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878493)

Wasn't it announced *ahead of time* that the upgrade would brick unlocked phones?

That sure sounds like premeditation to me.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (1)

thegnu (557446) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878529)

They could have run alpha and beta testing and discovered it the good old fashioned way. (pre-release)

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (2, Insightful)

sessamoid (165542) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878539)

Wasn't it announced *ahead of time* that the upgrade would brick unlocked phones? That sure sounds like premeditation to me.
Complete bullshit. What Apple said was that if you hacked your iPhone, it might be broken by future updates. They also noted that hacking your iPhone would void the warranty. If you hack your DVD player so that it makes coffee in addition to playing DVDs, then try to install a firmware update, are you going to blame the hardware manufacturer when the firmware bricks your DVD player? Same difference.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (2, Informative)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878715)

Your analogy is completely broken. What people have done is simply modify their firmware along with the addition of a few new 3rd party applications. Keeping this in mind, why is it so hard for Apple to release an update that clears all memory first, then installs itself fresh. No bricked phones. Certainly everything may be reset to factory defaults, but that is a good deal more preferable than the situation people find themselves in now.

Nokia updates work this way - Sony Ericsson is very similar.

I really hope this class action thing succeeds.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (1)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878547)

How do you know? The upgrade might have had that effect but it might not have been deliberate, but simply the result of trying to apply an update to software that was in an unknown state because it have been modified by the user.


You're right, it's impossible to say whether the effect of phones being bricked was just a consequence of other changes, or a deliberate punishment for hackers (probably the former, I mean why would they bother with the latter, given all the bad press it was bound to generate).

What *was* deliberate was the encryption of the firmware to lock out third party apps/mods. That's a deliberate step to lock down the phone, as with the touch, not an unintended consequence.

Apple has been using up a lot of karma lately.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (5, Insightful)

ciw42 (820892) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878495)

I stand to be corrected here, but is there any *actual* evidence (apart from hearsay) that the bricking was deliberate. It seems to me perfectly understandable that if the software and configuration files on the phone aren't exactly as they were shipped, then an update could quite reasonably fail, and as the iPhone isn't a consumer product which allows the user to install new software, then there is no reason for Apple to develop updates which work with anything other than the default software shipped with the unit. It's entirely their baby, and unless the update causes problems on phones with their default install, they're not responsible for any problems you may have.

We're not talking physical materials or workmanship here, we're talking about people changing the software on their phones, and that is something which goes against the terms of Apple's warranty for the product. Your car analogy isn't a particularly good one, as Apple aren't saying they won't repair a phone which has physical faults or non-software related issues. Apple are in no way responsible for the software if it's been modified by the end-user. This is fairly standard stuff in software development/support terms.

Unlocking an iPhone isn't a simple process, and it's not something you'd do accidentally or casually without understanding what you were doing. Anyone unlocking their phone did so on purpose, and knew at the time they were invalidating their warranty. It's made very clear on every single website I've seen which details one of the approaches to doing this. If you got the instructions, then you knew the risks. Simple as. Anyone who's unlocked their iPhone is no longer entitled to support either, as they're not using their iPhone for the purpose for which it was intended.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878807)

I stand to be corrected here, but is there any *actual* evidence (apart from hearsay) that the bricking was deliberate.
I don't think there has been even hearsay. "Hearsay" would be if I posted here that some Apple engineer with actual knowledge of the matter told me something. But that has not happened. What we have are just completely unfounded assumptions.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20878521)

The solution?

http://www.openmoko.org/ [openmoko.org]

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20878535)

BlueParrot, the statement you made with a) is defamation. If you were not hiding behind a screen name, you could be sued for libel. When you make unsupported negative statements about others, you might find yourself in a sticky situation.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20878819)

defamation for expressing a logical argument? Man, the things ACs say.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (1)

MttJocy (873799) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878687)

I have yet to see any evidence to prove that the firmware upgrade had the intent to brick devices which had been modified, it is most certainly possible to release a software update for a product which is tested and works fine on the default software but may not be compatible with arbitrary software, especially when that software uses flaws, bugs or undocumented features in order to preform its function, this is not like this software used some kind of API apple provided for the purpose of writing third party software which they failed to ensure the new firmware was backwards compatible with. It seams to me that one is assuming facts not in evidence here and ignoring other realistic possible explanations for what occurred.

If someone begins tampering with things in ways beyond their design specifications then there is always an element of risk involved, the manufacturer sold the device designed for use with software specifically designed and tested for compatibility outside of that they are not responsible for anything that may occur. If anything it was rather foolish of the users who have bricked their phones to install new firmware without first ensuring that their own software modifications were still compatible.

Of course if there is absolute and certain proof that apple took deliberate action to render these devices unusable (like your car analogy) then I would completely agree they were in the wrong. However I don't see any proof of that, only suspicions and assumptions, effect does not prove the intent of an action.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (0)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878699)

Apple deliberately made the update brick the phone

Nope.

-jcr

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (0)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878775)

Apple deliberately made the update brick the phone if third party applications were installed.


See, the very first sentence in your post is a completely unproven statement with no evidence whatsoever, and most probably both untrue and libel.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878797)

a)Apple deliberately made the update brick the phone if third party applications were installed.

Bricking only happens with unlocked phones, third party apps had nothing to do with it, those apps were hidden from view. The assertion of deliberate is conjecture. They may have but we might never know until people pick apart the update. It _is_ possible to reverse the "bricking" and restore it to a previous firmware, so I'm not sure if it's a true bricking or not.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (2, Interesting)

kybur (1002682) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878815)

I reject the bad car analogy. a) Buy a new BMW. b) Hack the ECU (engine control unit) computer and reload it with your own software. What do you think the BMW service center is going to to with your warrantee (and your blown engine) if they figure out what you did? Suppose the tweaks you made work, and some how a software update from the mechanic works too, but the combination is fatal to the engine. Should this be covered by warrantee?

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878873)

That sure was nice of Apple to warn people then, if they DELIBERATELY did what you say. The problem is, you're an Apple-hater, and your logic is biased.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (1, Insightful)

Umbriel (103119) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878317)

First, I agree completely in that broken iPhones is fault of the owners, not Apple.

But why should be Apple forced to sell unlocked phones? If you don't like their offer, then don't buy a locked iPhone. That's free market.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (1, Insightful)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878369)

The truly free market allows me to build clones of the iPhone and sell them with no consideration to patents or copyright. Until we have such a truly free market, businesses like Apple should have to suffer certain restrictions, one of which might be selling unlocked phones.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20878347)

If you modify an embedded system in a non-vendor approved way and then install a vendor update and the update brakes cause you did something incompatible.... Then it's your fault, not the vendors...

While i agree that Apple should be forced to sell unlocked phones, modifying a product in a non-approved way DOES invalidate your waranty. Why should the vendor be held reliable if YOU break his software?


Why should a vendor be FORCED to sell unlocked phones?

As long as we're being fascists, might as well go whole hog.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (3, Insightful)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878355)

Then it's your fault, not the vendors...
Unless of course writes code that does nothing EXCEPT break modded phones. It would sort of be like Microsoft detecting you have open office installed on your computer while giving you a patch for Microsoft Word and then bricking your computer.

Now I've seen nothing but insinuations that Apple did this myself. But some lawyer obviously thinks there is a bit more then insinuations. Whether or not he's hoping to confuse the courts or has a good case remains to be seen.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (2, Interesting)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878597)

So If I void my warranty, that gives Apple the right to break my phone?

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (1)

imstanny (722685) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878707)

While I agree that Apple should be forced to sell unlocked phones, modifying a product in a non-approved way DOES invalidate your waranty. Why should the vendor be held reliable if YOU break his software?
Like this sentance, the sentance above doesn't contradict itself -- no, wait a minute, yes it does. Why should the vendor be forced to unlock the phone? Just like the policy with warranties, you know full well what product your getting and the terms of service; if you don't like get, go shop elsewhere.

Re:Stupid lawsuit again...? (1)

stargazer_55 (1150931) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878803)

Didn't the buyer of the iPhone have previous knowledge that they were entering into an agreement with Apple and AT&T that was for an exclusive network? And didn't the buyer know from the agreement that by purchasing this phone they could only load approved software on it? The buyer had a choice from the beginning: buy the phone and adhere to the agreed rules or don't buy the freekin' phone. I didn't buy one because these restrictions existed and guess what... I'm not out the money with a useless brick and I'm not looking to sue anybody. Having said that I think Apple could have come up with a better way to service the wayward customer other than leaving them with a useless piece of junk and a bad taste in their mouth. After all, it is software, right? Why can't a simple procedure of reloading the iPhone's software take care of the problem? Then tell the customer, don't do it again! Oh, something else for you "sue happy" iPhone people: the only winners in a class action suit are the lawyers!

LIABLE (1)

fox1324 (1039892) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878867)

I'm usually the last guy to be a grammar nazi, but c'mon it's a different WORD! Liable, not reliable.

/a girl in my business law class made the same error...

Watch them lose the case.... (4, Insightful)

3seas (184403) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878183)

... and this will settle the matter once and for all.

I mean when you have to buy numerous formats of a song because you are not allowed to pirate what you buy, to yourself for use on another device.... then of course At&T iphone lockin is acceptable.... If you want to use a different carrier you need to use a different format/device.

Anticompetitive practices is the only thing to argue here, but if you bring in a bunch of other non-issues then you can make the case lose.

Re:Watch them lose the case.... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878205)

I don't get that mentality. Here we have the right to format-shift. I don't have to buy from iTunes to listen on my iPod, I can just rip the CD I bought this morning, add the mp3 to my home library, play it over the mood speakers, blast it out in my back garden, or stick the buds in my lugholes and drink coke and be happy.

Re:Watch them lose the case.... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878379)

I don't get that mentality. Here we have the right to format-shift. I don't have to buy from iTunes to listen on my iPod, I can just rip the CD I bought this morning, add the mp3 to my home library, play it over the mood speakers, blast it out in my back garden, or stick the buds in my lugholes and drink coke and be happy.
It's exactly the same thing. Nobody here is talking about requiring carriers to provide a new phone to those that leave their service for a completely incompatible network. It isn't unreasonable for people to expect that after fulfilling their contract that they be allowed to use their phone on whatever network they wish.

When it comes to vendor subsidized phones, there should be some lock in involved so that the carrier with the best rebate doesn't end up screwed.

What you seem to be missing is that the iphones are not being subsidized by AT&T, they are being paid for entirely by the customer, and as such would normally not come with a lock. The only reason why they are being locked is that AT&T isn't able to compete with other carriers.

Normally when one buys a phone separate from service one can just buy it in an unlocked state, and if the service sucks go to a different provider. And that is the rub, there is no way of buying an apple sanction iphone which isn't locked, but yet apple refuses to allow for subsidies on the price anyway.

Re:Watch them lose the case.... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878651)

I didn't miss that point, but everyone else thanks you for pointing it out to those who might have missed it :)

Aside, I paid £60 for my cheapo camera phone, which considering I paid less for a V3r on Orange which is unlocked as supplied, should itself have been open to all networks. I can't help but feel ripped off.

Re:Watch them lose the case.... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878721)

What you seem to be missing is that the iphones are not being subsidized by AT&T, they are being paid for entirely by the customer, and as such would normally not come with a lock. The only reason why they are being locked is that AT&T isn't able to compete with other carriers.
They are being subsidised by AT&T just in a more roundabout way than usual. Rather than AT&T selling you the phone at a discount conditional on you buying a contract apple are selling you the phone and then AT&T pay the subsidy monthly once you activate it.

Re:Watch them lose the case.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20878413)

Smith is going to lose the case because 1) software locks, especially on cell phones, are perfectly legal (and the DMCA lets you work around them); 2) Apple is not denying warranty service to users of unlocked phones (warranty denials are rather more specific than that); and 3) Apple can partner with AT&T as the exclusive and official carrier for their device. There is also a lawsuit this week over the iPhone price cut. It does not seem like that will go far either.

Re:Watch them lose the case.... (2, Interesting)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878639)

Speaking of re-purchase, I'm thoroughly annoyed, having just got a new phone from the same provider as my last one, that I have to repurchase the games I downloaded to my last phone. Same phone number, same contract and everything, but I'd have to repurchase the games to get them onto my new phone. That makes just /so/ much sense.

STOP THE SPYING.org (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20878185)

FIRST POST!

http://www.stopthespying.org/ [stopthespying.org]

Caveat Emptor (4, Insightful)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878225)

Caveat Emptor [wikipedia.org] - let the buyer beware.

Honestly, Apple has not attempted to deceive anyone on this issue, and they make it clear that service is with AT&T only. If you don't want to be locked-in with AT&T, then don't buy an iPhone. Period. If you still must absolutely have a class-action lawsuit, then do it against the Steve Jobs backdating accounting scandal.

Re:Caveat Emptor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20878243)

Except mobile phone vendor lockin is against the law.

DMCA Confusion (4, Insightful)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878353)

Except mobile phone vendor lockin is against the law.

Is it? I think the current situation is as follows:
  • The DMCA has an exemption for users to unlock their own phone
  • But the DMCA still prevents sharing of code that circumvents locks
  • So while you may unlock it, you must be able to do it all on your own
  • Leaving Apple free to use DRM, to make exercising your rights very difficult

I sue Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20878281)

I sue Apple for representing apple slaughter in their logo.

Watch out Steve, my people are waiting for you behind every corner, complete with jugs of apple juice ready to fly in your direction.

Apple has great products (1, Insightful)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878283)

Apple has great products. Which I want to pay for to own and to do with then whatever I am pleased to.

I say Apple should go down this time because they behave like bastards.

Having said that, I question the sanity of people rushing in to buy a USD500+ iPhone knowing it's blocked, relying on 3rd party software for unblocking and expect Apple to own up. It's not that you are deprived of essential things in life by NOT owning an iPhone.

Re:Apple has great products (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878763)

The problem with your statement is that many of us did rush out and buy a $500 iPhone, but MOST of us don't care that it is tethered to AT&T and MOST of us will never add a third party app to it on our own. See, only on slashdot does this become an issue: the land of the

For the record, I moved back to the States in August and needed a new cell phone, so I don't consider my purchase to be a "rush" job. It just happened to be available at the time I needed a new phone, and I wasn't already locked in to some other contract. See, this is the REAL reason people are miffed. They got suckered into lengthy Verizon contracts and shitty phones 1.2 years ago and are shifting the blame to Apple and AT&T. I find it VERY difficult to believe the average cell phone consumer can discern the service quality between AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc. If anything, AT&T in the two months I've used them, have the best online tool to pay bills and I have had zero service interruptions. I've been with Sprint and Verizon before, and AT&T has been better so far, but it doesn't really matter, because "better" when it comes to crappy all around is vaguely relative.

Ah, good ol' Zonk and his dupes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20878321)

Re:Ah, good ol' Zonk and his dupes... (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878395)

That's not a dupe:
article #1 - people are talking about a class action lawsuit.
article #2 - the class action lawsuit is filed with the courts.

See how those two are different? I know you're a coward, but try to show a bare minimum of intelligence.

Re:Ah, good ol' Zonk and his dupes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20878499)

ah speaker of the truth he he ... may i have your full name please, or are you a coward? better yet, i think it'd be great if you used your full name and perhaps other identifying information as your sig, why not, after all you're not a coward. spammers and scammers of all walks would just add you to their already overflowing list, just like another cog, but then what do i know, i'm just a coward, snif snif, *corrects tinfoil hat waiting for full identifying information.

Re:Ah, good ol' Zonk and his dupes... (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878577)

I am not a coward, however I refrain from posting such information indiscriminately. There's a difference. See slashdot calls you an anonymous coward, therefore its perfectly alright for me to poke a bit of fun at you. You can also call me a coward, but people might not take it quite as lightly. Now you could poke fun at me using "speaker of the" (as others have done in the past).

Re:Ah, good ol' Zonk and his dupes... (1)

debilo (612116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878553)

I know you're a coward, but try to show a bare minimum of intelligence.
I am glad to report that I, for one, show a constant bare minimum of intelligence pretty much all the time, and I demand a cookie.

Bloody idiots. (3, Insightful)

ciw42 (820892) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878339)

This lawsuit is just absurd.

OK, so I'm with everyone else hoping that before long the practice of locking phones to specific networks gets outlawed, but in this particular case, Apple haven't done anything wrong.

They are only responsible for providing updates which work with their software as supplied, and not software and iPhones which have been hacked specifically against Apple's advice, to get them working on other networks.

If your phone gets bricked by an Apple update after you've unlocked it, then it's entirely you fault. No-one else's. You did something that you knew full well at the time you shouldn't have done, and let's face it, it's not a simple process, so there can be no possible claim that you didn't know the consequences of your actions, and if you didn't understand this process and the implications, then you're even more of a fool for doing it. You've learned valuable lesson here - don't mess with things you don't understand. You immediately voided your warranty, again something you were fully aware that you'd be doing, and began using it in a way it was never intended or designed to be used, so you're not entitled to support. And now you've came out of it looking like a cock. With no phone. You bloody idiot.

Bloody Apple fucking fanbois (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20878463)

No matter what happens, they will always be there to defend Apple. They will find a good defense even in an extreme hypothetical case of a situation where an apple product suddenly flies, goes in your ass and fuck you with an uncontrollable urge till you bleed to death - and what will the fucking apple fanbois say about it -"See, it cures hernia."

Re:Bloody Apple fucking fanbois (2, Insightful)

ciw42 (820892) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878533)

You moron.

I'm not an Apple fanboy. I don't own any Apple products, but I do know software and embedded development rather well (after 20+ years experience) and I also like to think I have sensible and objective opinions on matters like this. Something you obviously don't.

Oh, and stop swearing, it makes you come across as borderline illiterate and definitely someone in their early teens with a lot to learn about the world.

Re:Bloody Apple fucking fanbois (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20878595)

Mod Parent Up, Please, let sensible opinions win, let fanbois be whacked.

Re:Bloody Apple fucking fanbois (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878683)

Oh, and stop swearing, it makes you come across as borderline illiterate and definitely someone in their early teens with a lot to learn about the world.
Then Lewis Black must be a teen borderline illiterate?

Lockin won't fly in Europe (4, Informative)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878587)

You believe that Apple's actions are OK, and maybe they are in the US. But that won't fly in Europe.

The GSM standard expressly provides for cross-vendor compatibility through simple SIM change, and unlocking of locked phones is entirely legal in most if not all European countries. In fact, it's a substantial business to provide unlocking services, and to sell ready-unlocked phones.

That doesn't mean that it's free (a cellphone service provider will charge you for unlocking, since it carries the risk for them that you might defect to a competitor if their service is bad). But it does mean that unlocking is supported.

If the accepted and legal position in the US is that providers are allowed to deny GSM service mobility by not offering unlocking and by bricking unlocked phones on purpose (allegedly), then those providers are about to face problems when they try to do the same thing in European jurisdictions.

Re:Lockin won't fly in Europe (1)

ciw42 (820892) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878643)

I'm actually based in Europe and am fully aware of the differences between regulations here and in the US.

The changes being made by people unlocking their iPhones are not however limited to the data on the SIM, they are actual changes to the firmware installed on the machine itself, if they were just SIM changes then it would be a different story.

Re:Bloody idiots. (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878753)

if we accept your premis
oping that before long the practice of locking phones to specific networks gets outlawed
The you conclusion
Apple haven't done anything wrong.
while true for some limited view of wrong, does not follow from the premis.

I would say if apple has done nothing wrong, then laws regulated equipment and service providers are not necessarily needed. Like so many other things, if the market will bear a practice, then obviously people find value in the practice. For instance, cheap stores often have draconian rules to keep prices cheap, and people still find value in the store.

The lesson learned here is that Apple is increasingly less end use centric and more strategic partner centered. What this means is that I can no longer trust Apple to do what is best for me as an end user, and, as the systems are closed, can no longer buy the products with the same confidence. It is not so much a misunderstanding of the process, but a misunderstanding of the shift from Apple Computer, Inc to Apple, Inc. From a company that had a policy of not putting end user products at risk, by, for example, developing anti piracy technology that could diaable a users machine, to a company that would put end users at risk by not only developing but implementing such technology.

I tell you this has had an effect on me. I was on the verge of buying another mac, but now I do not know. The switch to intel and the added 'security' that entailed. The bricking of the iphone. Who knows what is next? Pretty machines are not enough. I need certainty that Apple will not one day disable my mac because I do not have a .mac account.

Different than everyone else? (3, Informative)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878373)

Do Apple users think they're different than everyone else? I guess that question is silly - of course they do ('think different' and all that). Well, looking at it now, perhaps this is more organized by the lawyer (does he use Apple products?) than the Apple users directly. I understand their frustration, but suing to have the phone unlocked from AT&T? OK, perhaps this will be a 'fight the good fight' and perhaps they'll actually win. Perhaps this is the only group that feels this passionately about the subject. But why not sue Blackberry for only allowing the Curve 8830 on the TMobile network? I want an 8830, but on AT&T. Should I buy it, sign up for TMobile, then sue RIM? Or TMobile? Or both? I guess I don't quite understand the notion of throwing these other extraneous issues in to the suit, unless they're hoping for *something* to stick.

Could address many areas of lock-in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20878393)

A legal victory in this area would be awesome, as it could free up a bunch of other "locked" products, reaching far beyond cell phones.

Automotive diagnostic tools, printer refills, and "the exclusive jet engine provider" found on the 737 and 787 are a form of technology lock.

And so I conclude that since legal action didn't seem to address all these other areas, it would seem that "cell phone lock in" would be legal unless the law gets changed.

Why is the iPhone any different than a computer? (4, Insightful)

LwPhD (1052842) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878405)

I really see no true difference between using your iPhone (with a carrier OF YOUR CHOICE) and hooking your landline (with a carrier OF YOUR CHOICE) through your computer's modem so you can use a software phone and answering machine. Also, how is it any different from using your laptop with a cellular card (with a carrier OF YOUR CHOICE) to get internet connectivity on the go?

To my layman eyes, the law in this area seems ad hoc and gives special attention to handheld cellular devices. Fortunately, it seems likely that unlocking is legal [slate.com] . I seriously hope this case will be the first of many to push regulation of companies that maliciously sabotage their customers after they bought the product to maximize profit.

I'm currently a very satisfied Mac user (I'm writing this post from a 3 year old PowerBook G4 17" that still runs like a spotted assed ape) but these sorts of moves sour me on AAPL. I'll give them a few chances to mess up and be forgiven, but as a computer savvy person who's primary love of Apple is for how they've beautifully wrapped what's under the hood, I can just as easily go right back to Linux where I came from. After all, that's what I use on the desktop and in the server rack already. Why is it, just when Microsoft seems to have shot itself in the foot with Vista and controlling what users do with their hardware, that Apple jumps right of the cliff with them?

Apple's gonna win, as they should, if they fight (4, Interesting)

sirwired (27582) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878407)

Apple bricking the phone is not illegal, nor should it be. When Apple sold the phone, they were crystal clear that its only supported use was with AT&T and Apple-approved apps. Those that disagree with the policy should not have bought the phone.

Now, if Apple was suing folks for unlocking the phone, that would have been something else (and certainly brings to the forefront debates on shrinkwrap, reverse engineering rights, etc.) but they have not. The proper response to this bricking is another hack, not a lawsuit.

Apple is also perfectly within their rights to not give warranty service to those that modded their phone. The Magnuson-Moss Act only provides protection to those whose aftermarket bits did not cause the phone to die. If these folks had not modded their phone, the update would not have killed it. The act was meant to protect those that say, bought ordinary aftermarket headphones... automatically denying warranty service for THAT would be a blatant violation of the Act. For folks that would avail themselves of the Act, even a liberal interpretation would mean they would have to prove that Apple's update deliberately disabled the phone. Given how many things that can go wrong with code updates, I would be surprised if Apple simply just did not test on an unlocked phone, and the process just happens to brick the thing. Apple probably bricked many legit phones during their testing process until they got the bugs worked out...

SirWired

Re:Apple's gonna win, as they should, if they figh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20878489)

Apple bricking the phone is not illegal, nor should it be. When Apple sold the phone, they were crystal clear that its only supported use was with AT&T and Apple-approved apps.

Yep. And when you break the deed restrictions on your house, the homeowners association is fully within their rights to burn it down, with or without you inside of it.

Or maybe you're confused about the difference between "not supporting" and "destroying".

Re:Apple's gonna win, as they should, if they figh (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878859)

And when you break the deed restrictions on your house, the homeowners association is fully within their rights to burn it down, with or without you inside of it.

Well, if you break the deed restrictions on your house, the homeowners association usually can, and sometimes does, put a lien on your house for fines, which must be paid before you can sell it. In some states they can even force a sale.

If you mod your phone and it gets bricked, Apple makes you pay to replace it... not much difference.

SirWired

Re:Apple's gonna win, as they should, if they figh (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878773)

Apple bricking the phone is not illegal, nor should it be. When Apple sold the phone, they were crystal clear that its only supported use was with AT&T and Apple-approved apps.

To be fair they only became crystal clear about the bricking long after people have started patching their phones and several patch providers have been selling "mods" for weeks.

While I agree Apple will probably win a case that tries to prove Apple should support custom mods, still, many people would be discouraged from patching in the first place if they knew in advance.

As a proof to this is the frantic search for "unpatching" mods after Steve announced what will happen after the update.

Also let's not forget the PR effect of this lawsuit. Win or not, this, the 16-bit iMac screens, the deffective nano screens, the freezing Macs, the overheating MacBooks, and so on and so on: those pile together and may turn the tide against Apple.

Apple exists solely because of their solid cult-like fanbase. Should this fanbase turn against them, they're goners.

this COULD change alot... (1)

ItsLenny (1132387) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878411)

If they FULLY win this suit... by which I mean apple has to RELEASE their phones unlocked that would mean that the large sum of money that (I'm sure) was paid to Apple to have the phone only be on their network in the first place would have been a waste...

would they owe that money back to AT&T? or is it just lost money since it's not "Apple's Fault"...

also after seeing this trial would any other company ever waste money paying to make a phone 'only available on their network'?

just some hypothetical questions...

oh... and... what if their were no hypothetical questions?

Re:this COULD change alot... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878747)

would they owe that money back to AT&T? or is it just lost money since it's not "Apple's Fault"...

I guess that fully depends on the relative quality of Apple's and AT&T's lawyers.

iPhone in Europe (4, Interesting)

d3m0nCr4t (869332) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878441)

I wonder how Apple will sell their iPhone in Europe. It is forbidden by the European consumer laws to sell a phone where you force users to a certain provider. I'm really curious.

Did anyone else read "bickering" instead of ..... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878571)

... bricking?

Perhaps we can build a house with such bricks....

Apple is the new Microsoft (1, Flamebait)

ZoneGray (168419) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878617)

It's pretty clear, Apple is the new Microsoft. They're so freaking successful that everybody figures they must be cheating. They're starting to leverage their proprietary assets. And they're becoming the company everybody loves to hate, just like MS in the '90's.

The difference is, Apple is making some f'ing awesome products, and people are falling over each other to buy them. Compare products: iPhone or Windows 98? Ever see somebody show off their Windows upgrade to a girl at a bar?

Some people just hate success. The fuss over locked iPhones has just taken this crowd to a new low of childishness. Where were you losers the last ten years when the practice became commonplace? Clue alert: Verizon sells Verizon-branded phones that.. surprise... only work on Verizon's network!!! OMG!!! Where's the outrage? Instead, the losers wait until there's a phone they actually want and suddenly discover a heretofore unknown principle to stand on.

Apple/ATT bundling (if it's even a bad thing) is a rich country's problem, and the whining over the iPhone is truly pathetic, like a rich girl who wanted a different color BMW for her birthday. This used to be a country that valued freedom, now people go whining to Big Brother to fix every little problem in their lives. Pathetic. At the rate we're going, in 100 years Americans will all be working on assembly lines making electronic doodahs for the wealthy Chinese.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878633)

The difference is, Apple is making some f'ing awesome products, and people are falling over each other to buy them.
And it is such a HUGE difference, that I doubt Apple will ever garner as much hatred as Microsoft. It would be one thing if Apple continued the trend in their behavior AND offered crappy products, like Microsoft does, but Apple still puts awesome products first, profit and bottom-line second.

Apple was never any better. (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878733)

Apple was never any better than MS and I have no love for them, in fact, they are worse, they have always been worse, and the fact they are worse, is the reason Windows is Dominant today. Never forget, never ever forget the reason Dos prevailed, Lock in, and that lock in translated to one killer application: Doom. Doom, not Windows, created the x86 world we live in. Had Doom come out on Mac First, we would live in a Mac world.

Apple has always been the worst about lock-in. There were once some old variations of the Mac you could only plug in Mac approved speakers, microphones, printers, etc etc etc etc. EVERYTHING was proprietary. Well. This thing about Mac Computers being compatible with everything, is new. I don't trust Apple, I never have, I never will, I don't trust MS, I never have, I never will because MS is moving in the same direction Mac was in the mid 90s. "Approved" Speakers, Network cards that don't work, USB Peripherials that sit there and smile at you. The list goes on. I vote Linux.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1)

Jaxoreth (208176) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878787)

Compare products: iPhone or Windows 98? Ever see somebody show off their Windows upgrade to a girl at a bar?

That's what fucking pisses me off about this. It doesn't take any sophistication to recognize that the iPhone is a really cool device and be willing to spend $600 (or now only $400) on one. But telling someone that I won't tolerate the iPhone's built-in defects and I'm waiting for something that's cool and does what I want doesn't get me laid. Thanks for nothing, Apple.

Maybe if I compromise and get an iPod Touch I can at least get to second base.

New Twist on an Old Trick (4, Funny)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878623)

the lawyer who's been soliciting plaintiffs all week for a case against Apple.
Man, and attorneys used to just chase ambulances.

Apple could have avoided this (5, Insightful)

jdc180 (125863) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878627)

If the software in the phone is in an unknown state, then don't allow the upgrade to run.

Apple obviously wanted to brick the phones. Just about every other upgrade i've ever run checks the bits it's upgrading to make sure it's good to go.

Re:Apple could have avoided this (2, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878821)

That's all very well and good, but it's not too hard to imagine cases where an installed application (such as a firmware upgrade app) would not be capable of detecting that it had been unlocked.

Phil Schiller (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20878629)

Does any one else think of that guy as a complete moron that brings no real value to Apple but just disgust? I mean that guy goes to press warning like a school kid - you are gonna brick your iPhone, neener neener neener - without giving a fscking clue as to why they cannot prevent it from happenning.

I think this a case of Phil Schiller's (yet another) inability to deal nicely with what has been given to him by Jobs.

I bet slashdotters $100 each - Once Jobs steps back and this moron has controls he will be take Apple through yet another disaster.

Or is Jobs playing it wise - letting this idiot do the talk that no one likes? In any case this guy - not much hopes from him.

Kids today.. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878675)

I voided the warranty on dozens of 128K and 512K Macs in my day, and I knew damned well that if I broke one, I was on my own. The warranty is contingent on certain terms. If the user breaches those terms and the device breaks, it's nobody's fault but his own.

-jcr

Re:Kids today.. (1)

HuguesT (84078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878805)

Come on, this is not the same issue.

Here people have modded their iPhones, they were still working 100% fine until Apple released an "update" that bricked them. This is futile, people who do not want to party with AT&T will find a way to use their own phone the way they want.

Apple is too greedy, this lawsuit is for their own good. Plus they are stupid, the business model they currently have will not work in Europe.

Whos fault is it (1)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878719)

The software is LICENSED to you. You don't OWN it. You OWN the hardware. Without the licensed software you have an expensive paper weight, but when you start violating software license agreements your license can be terminated.

You have a license to use your car. If your license is terminated legally you can't drive. Now your car is a big hunk of metal since you can't go anywhere.

If your software license is terminated you can't use the software. Congratz you own an expensive paper weight, unless you can figure out how to run Linux on there.

It's not apples responsibility. I don't think this is good press for Apple.

I read the license agreement. Says you can't modify the software.

So does that make this lawyer.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20878751)

So does that make this lawyer a "WAAAAAmbulance chaser"?

What good does unlocking an Iphone do.... (0, Offtopic)

japhering (564929) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878781)

Given that there are at least 3 if not 4 different standards for cellphones in use in the US, and that only 2 carriers support
gsm (AT&T and T-Mobile) what good does unlocking the Iphone do. Both gsm providers have horrible customer service and in quite
a few places horrible cell service.

So unless you are planning on traveling a broad and willing to do without lots of the nifty features, what's the point ?

Re:What good does unlocking an Iphone do.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20878827)

So unless you are planning on traveling a broad and willing to do without lots of the nifty features, what's the point ?

Uh, you answered it. So that you can use it on AT&T or T-mobile when you're inside the US, and you can use your phone on any other GSM provider when you're outside of the US. Is that so hard to understand?

Wow, I must have missed the Gun To Head (0, Flamebait)

bgarland (10594) | more than 6 years ago | (#20878809)

I must have missed the crucial part where the guy described Apple putting a gun to his head and forcing him to buy an iPhone.

What is with all of these people getting pissed and suing (or bitching about) Apple over the iPhone locking? You were a dumbass and voided your warranty. Now you're paying the consequences. End of story. Nobody is forcing you to buy an iPhone. If you don't like the terms and conditions, DON'T FUCKING BUY IT!
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