Apple sued over iPhone signal strength indicator

“A lawsuit filed in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday claims that Apple misled iPhone customers by displaying a stronger carrier signal than was actually available,” Thomas Claburn reports for InformationWeek. “The allegations arise from ‘antenna gate,’ the public relations crisis last summer precipitated by then-CEO Steve Job’s dismissal of complaints about call reception issues following the iPhone 4’s 2010 launch. Though Apple largely undid the damage and helped make the iPhone 4 a phenomenal success, its mea culpa is being used against it.”

“The company’s public letter, which acknowledged that ‘the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong,’ forms the basis of plaintiff Daniel Donohue’s lawsuit… [which] seeks recompense for the effect the faulty signal calculation method ostensibly has on the iPhone’s resale value,” Claburn reports. “‘The value of an iPhone with a fatally flawed Signal Strength Meter is less than the value of the same iPhone without the flaw,’ the complaint states.”

Claburn remarks, “Evidently, it would be too much trouble to download the iOS update that fixed the erroneous signal strength formula.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We echo the causticity of Calburn’s final quoted sentence.


  1. If this guy is saying that he would not have bought the iPhone based upon an ACCURATE representation of signal strength, that’s likely a valid basis for a complaint. Seems to me, though, that for “resale value,” the guy is going to have to prove that it did in fact affect the resale value. Good luck with that one.

    1. We don’t need so-called tort reform. We need laws against frivolous lawsuits, like this one. A stiff fine for those lawsuits deemed nuisance or frivolous would put a halt to this kind of nonsense. “Tort reform” is just another right wing slogan for screwing victims of corporate malfeasance or medical malpractice by limiting jury awards. No one has been injured due to phone signal strength, this is just somebody trying to capitalize on a poorly defined standard. Throw it out.

      1. Tort reform was meant to stop frivolous lawsuits, but ended up screwing victims. People always go back to McDonalds coffee incident. McDonalds had thousands of complaints of lids easily poping off and burns from coffee. Then an elderly woman gets 3rd degree burns between her legs. Yeah, not frivolous. Just an accident waiting to happen.

        1. How does tort reform screw actual victims? The plaintiff in the coffee incident had a legitimate case. She won the case. Tort reform would have done nothing to stop that. But it would stop someone WITHOUT a legitimate case from bringing a frivolous lawsuit.

            1. Beacuse the case was not about the coffee spilling, it was about the coffee being too hot. Look it up; McD’s was keeping their coffee at an unsafe temperature, for no good reason.

            2. One guy had the bottom melt out of the cup as he was walking to his car and he got 3rd degree burns on his foot. McD’s quietly settled something like 5000 of these cases without changing their policy of keeping their coffee at 200 degrees F before a jury finally awarded punitive damages in this case. Punitive damages can be awarded only when the defendant knows they are damaging people and disregards that fact, or knowingly breaks a law.

          1. That case started the talk of tort reform. Lobbyists in the USA have lots of power. The companies got a lot faverable decisions about employees rights, and gave victims low caps. A doctor failed to recognize a condition that made a one child in a set of twin severly retarded. The tort cap was rediculious. The kid needs 24/7 care for the rest of his life and the money could only sustain them a few years of care.

            1. You are exactly right. The artificial caps unfairly penalize true victims while doing little or nothing to reduce cost increases. But politicians and others conveniently fail to recognize or acknowledge that fact.

              Texas politicians are so full of this crap, and yet they continue to get elected. It is very sad.

      2. And who exactly determines what is “frivolous”? Tort reform would bring us in line with, oh, every other country on planet Earth. Loser pays legal fees of both parties. THAT would stop frivolous lawsuits. Not more subjective laws.

        1. I agree with your conclusion that legal fees should be paid by the loser. But there shouldn’t be arbitrary limits on damages (and “frivolous” can be legally defined, either by courts or legislation.)

          1. I agree trex on no arbitrary limits, that should be reformed also. I don’t believe that further laws should define “frivolous” though. I would hope that a loser pays system would be a deterrent from truly frivolous lawsuits. That hope may be misguided though.

      1. Breeze you are a bit uptight. You didn’t complain about: “How the hell can that case not be frivolous?” Is talk of hell ok with you, but talk about God is not? Get a life before you end up dead, all dressed up and no where to go.

  2. I would love to see the judge look at the papers, then turn to the lawyers and just say, “ok stupid, plug in the phone and update the phone like Apple told you to do. Millions have done it already, or are you just too stupid? Oh, wait, you are smart enough to talk the lawyer into bring this case on and wasting my time. I’m tossing this lawsuit to due to stupidity.”
    I’d love to see that, but most likely wont

  3. The value of an iPhone with a fatally flawed Signal Strength Meter is less than the value of the same iPhone without the flaw

    Take two iPhones, in identical physical condition, one with the old software and one with the new and improved. Sell them to one of the many outfits that buy used cell phones. If they pay the same amount for both phones, this suit is without merit.

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