Apple Is Being Sued Over the iPhone ‘Touch Disease’
Apple might have its hands full with Ireland and taxes, but another lawsuit has cropped up that it’ll now need to face.
Three iPhone owners have filed a lawsuit against Apple in the U.S. District Court for Northern California, alleging that Apple had kept a defect with its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models a secret and subsequently declined to fix it. The problem relates to the recently revealed “Touch Disease,” a term coined by hardware-repair firm iFixit to describe the bug plaguing both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Last week, the company said in a blog post that it only appears to affect the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but not Apple’s newer iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. According to the company, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have chips that sit inside the device that allow the screen to interact with touch inputs. However, those “Touch IC chips” connect to the device’s main board with small soldered balls that, over time, can crack and start to lose contact between the display and the board.
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The issue is caused by regular use and eventually, iFixit explained, the iPhone 6 line’s touchscreen functionality will be lost, leaving users with a device that’s practically unusable.
While it’s impossible to know for sure how widespread the problem is, many Apple forum sites are displaying comments from iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users who say they’re experiencing the problem. The folks over at iFixit say they, too, have come across the problem on several occasions.
For its part, Apple
has largely remained silent about the possible problem, leading to the lawsuit filed in the California court on Monday.
According to the plaintiffs, who all own iPhone 6 models, they are hoping to turn the so-called Touch Disease in the iPhone 6 into a nationwide class-action lawsuit against Apple. They added that after seeking repairs from Apple, the company would only offer to replace their phones for a cost of more than $300 rather than fix the issue.
The plaintiffs said Apple was engaging in “unfair, deceptive, and/or fraudulent business practices,” according to MacRumors, which obtained a copy of the entire lawsuit. The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages from Apple and want the company to either repair, recall, or replace the iPhone at no cost to customers. They’re seeking a jury trial to decide the case.
For its part, Apple hasn’t responded to Fortune’s request for comment on the lawsuit.
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Ironically, the lawsuit on the iPhone 6 line, which launched in 2014, came on the same day Apple announced a special press event for September 7, when the company is expected to unveil a new iPhone, likely known as the iPhone 7. It also came just before Apple was slapped with a $14.5 billion tax bill by the European Union.