Woman buys an iPhone 4. Fifteen months later the power button stops working. She calls AT&T (T). They send her to Apple (AAPL). She works her way up and down the customer service chain and gets tough love at every turn: Her warranty expired three months ago. She has two choices. Pay for repair ($149.99 plus shipping) or buy new phone.
She goes to the Internet. Finds a thread on Apple's community support site with hundreds of complaints about the same power button. It's been viewed 720,525 times. Finds YouTube video with workarounds viewed more than million times. Finds iFixit instructions for replacing the power button's faulty flex cord that includes a Step 29 rated "difficult."
Adopting the consensus view that the iPhone 4's power button problem is a known manufacturing defect, and buying into the tin-foil-hat theory that it's carefully planned obsolescence -- a part designed to go bad right after the 1-year warranty expires -- she files a class action suit under RICO (the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) for $5 million plus.
This case has resonance because we expect better of Apple. The iPhone has exactly five moving parts. Is it too much to ask that they be engineered to last the life of the device?
China started a media war with Apple to get better warranties. Apparently Debra Hilton of St. Augustine, Fla., felt she had no choice to but to start one here.
Meanwhile, Apple, what's with the customer support policy that digs its heels in on a 15-month-old iPhone with a power button gone bad? Are you trying to create unhappy customers?
PDF: Power Button Lawsuit.
Thanks to GigaOm's John Jeff Roberts for the link.
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A blogger uncovers the $2 billion dispute behind Friday's bizarre back and forth
Apple (AAPL) watchers were shocked Friday when the company, in response to a court-ordered injunction, removed the iPhone 4 and 3GS from its online Apple Store in Germany.
The injunction was suspended before the end of the day -- and the products restored -- but the bizarre incident left analysts and investors wondering what the hell was going on.
FOSS MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 4, 2012 11:25 AM ET
Apple forced to pull older iPhones off its online store, faces an injunction on push e-mail
UPDATE: Sales of Apple's iPhones resumed Friday. See here.
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It was a crazy day for Apple (AAPL) in Germany.
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Who are the 1% who are sucking up half the world's cellular bandwidth?
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Apple is selling iPhones as fast as it can make them, but that may not be fast enough
A pair of analyst reports Tuesday warn that Apple (AAPL) may be having trouble feeding the demand for iPhones in advance of the holiday selling season.
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Apple's latest gadget sets a new launch weekend record
Apple (AAPL) announced Monday that it sold more than 4 million iPhone 4S units between 8 a.m. Friday and 12 midnight Sunday.
That's 135% better than the launch of the iPhone 4 in June 2010, and better than any analyst had predicted. The average estimate among the few who had ventured a guess was a little over 3 million.
In our poll of 4,300 MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 17, 2011 10:18 AM ET
Analysts have published estimates ranging from 2 to 4 million. What's your guess?
UPDATE: We have a winner. Apple announced Monday that the correct answer was "over four million," the guess of nearly 23% of our readers.
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When the iPhone 4 went on sale 16 months ago, Apple (AAPL) sold 1.7 million in the first weekend, counting pre-orders.
The analysts who have ventured a guess seem confident that by Sunday MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 15, 2011 5:55 AM ET
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* The initial crop of iPhone 4S reviews are out, and while the smartphone's chassis might look virtually identical to its predecessor, the upgraded components -- a dual-core processor, 8-megapixel camera, among them -- and brand spanking new software (hello, Siri) are enough to make the phone another successful Apple (AAPL) MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Oct 12, 2011 3:30 AM ET
Surpassed the 600,000 record set in 2010 with the iPhone 4
Apple (AAPL) on Monday issued the following press release:
CUPERTINO, California—October 10, 2011—Apple® today announced pre-orders of its iPhone® 4S have topped one million in a single day, surpassing the previous single day pre-order record of 600,000 held by iPhone 4. iPhone 4S is the most amazing iPhone yet, packed with incredible new features including Apple's dual-core A5 chip for blazing MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 10, 2011 9:47 AM ET
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