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Apple sued for 'bricking' iPhone 3G and 3GS with iOS 4

A lawsuit has been filed against Apple over its treatment of iPhone 3G owners when iOS 4 came out, accusing the company of lying and bad business practices.

A Californian woman has accused Apple of purposely turning the iPhone 3G and 3GS into "iBricks" with its iOS 4 software update, resulting in frustrated owners having to upgrade to the iPhone 4.

In a lawsuit filed in San Diego last week (a copy of which was uploaded by Wired), Bianca Wofford accused Apple of "unsavoury, dishonest and deceptive business practices", resulting in the iPhone 3G suffering "significant and extended lost of functionality, application loss, loss of use and substantially degraded performance".

With every new iPhone, there is an upgrade to its operating system. This year came the release of iOS4, shipped with the iPhone 4 and offering a bunch of new features, including multi-tasking. It was also made available for two of the older models, the iPhone 3G and 3GS. Soon afterwards though, there were complaints about its poor performance on both phones, which weren't addressed until the iOS 4.1 update a couple of months later. Even now users of older iPhones complain of frequent crashes.

In the complaint, Wofford accuses Apple of lying about the benefits of the iOS4 update to iPhone 3G owners, knowing that it would make the phone useless. As the complaint puts it, the iOS4 update left the phone "with little more use than that of a paperweight".

It continued, "Rather than improve anything, it has rendered the iPhone 3G devices virtually unuseable, constantly slowed, crashed or frozen, and less versatile than the device consumers purchased and the earlier, iOS 3.x version firmware.

"What's worse is that Apple's own test engineers and its tech support site are acutely aware of the thousands of complaints lodged, and still waited for nearly three months to take any corrective action."

It alleges that iOS4 ended up as a downgrade for earlier iPhone models that owners were misled into downloading, who wouldn't have if Apple told them the truth. Apple hasn't commented on the allegations yet.

The complaint is being filed as a class-action suit, which means other Californians are welcome to join, if a judge approves it. Wofford is after about $5,000 to compensate her "harm and economic loss", due to her being unable to play with her apps, though she was paying for a network connection.