From the "it was bound to happen" files - a class-action lawsuit against Apple is brewing over the "death grip" problem that some iPhone 4 owners claim is plaguing their shiny new toy.
This from Gawker:
Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff, LLP is looking for people who "recently purchased the new iPhone and have experienced poor reception quality, dropped calls and weak signals." That's the same firm that filed a federal class action suit over deceptive "offer" ads in games like Mafia Wars and Farmville. In the case of the fourth-generation iPhone, released last week, the phone shows fewer reception bars if you hold it wrong; Apple has suggested gripping it different.
OK, I know that other handsets suffer a similar (albeit not as serious) a problem, and some have equated covering the antenna and getting a bad signal with covering the screen and not being able to see it, and many hold out hope that this issue is linked to the way the handset switches frequency and that the problem will be solved by a software update, but none of that was going to ward off a lawsuit. Why? Well, there are plenty of reasons:
- Apple is a big fish with deep pockets.
- This was a high-profile issue, with videos hitting the web the day before the official release.
- Crappy reception is a pretty big downside to a phone.
- The BS response from Apple/Steve Jobs that people were holding the phone the wrong way was boneheaded.
- Apple's overall silence on this matter leaves people with little to do other than turn to the law.
- Apple decided to boast about sales before addressing this matter ... adding fuel to the idea that this issue could be widespread.
It's hard to know what Apple's response might be. If this issue is fixable with a software update then I expect that Jobs is cracking the whip and that the programmers are burning the midnight oil to get a fix coded and out as soon as possible to minimize the blow out from this. However, if a fix isn't that easy, then my guess is that Apple will start handing out those $30 rubber bumpers for free (a "$30 value!") to those affected. I have a sneaking suspicion that Apple was aware of this antenna issue prior to launch and that those rubber bumpers (along with their ridiculous price tag) exist as a way for the company to solve this problem. What I suspect that Apple didn't anticipate was that the issue would blow up as soon and as quickly as it did.