Apple bricked iPhone 3G on purpose, lawsuit claims

A disgruntled user is suing Apple, accusing it of deliberately ruining the iPhone 3G’s performance through the launch of iOS4, in an attempt to persuade users to upgrade to the iPhone 4.

iOS4 was ‘represented as a significant advance and triumph in software’, says the suit, but ‘in reality directly interfered with functionality of the device and unbreakable data plan contracts with AT&T’.

To add insult to injury, the company made it impossible for dissatisfied users to revert to the older version of the operating system.

The suit has been filed in a San Diego court by class action specialist law firm Cohelan Khoury & Singer on behalf of lead plaintiff Bianca Wofford. Her claim needs approval from the judge to be categorized as a class action suit.

“In essence, Apple knowingly and intentionally released what it called a system software ‘upgrade’ that, in fact, made hundreds of thousands of third generation iPhones that were exclusively tethered to AT&T data plans ‘useless’ for their intended purpose,” it says.

The result is a phone ‘with little more use than that of a paperweight’, according to the suit.

Apple acknowledged that many users found their phones slower and more unreliable after the upgrade, with apps prone to crashing. Some users also reported a decreased battery life and problems with overheating.

In September, Steve Jobs promised that the problems would be fixed with the launch of iOS 4.1. But most users reckoned that it offered only a small performance improvement.