It was one of the biggest tech stories of 2010: performance problems with the then-new iPhone 4. Now finally comes the payout from the inevitable class action lawsuits.
The clamor that surrounded Apple's iPhone "antennagate" episode has long since subsided, but there's now a faint echo to be heard.
Some iPhone owners in the last day or so have received a $15 check that was the result of Apple's February 2012 settlement of a class action lawsuit over problems with the iPhone 4 antenna, according to reports at 9to5Mac and the TUAW blog.
When the iPhone 4 debuted in June 2010, an uproar quickly ensued from a very vocal array of users who complained of dropped calls and poor reception, and who put the blame on Apple's hardware design.
Apple strenuously defended the performance of the iPhone 4. At a July 2010 press conference, CEO Steve Jobs said that sometimes saggy signal strength was simply a matter of "life in the smartphone world" and that "every phone has weak spots." But Apple also said at the time that disgruntled iPhone 4 buyers could return the device within 30 days for a full refund, or those holding onto the phone could get free cases to help keep their grip from interfering with the signal.
But that wasn't enough to fend off the lawsuits -- 18 of which were consolidated into one class action suit focused on the claim that Apple was "misrepresenting and concealing material information in the marketing, advertising, sale, and servicing of its iPhone 4 -- particularly as it relates to the quality of the mobile phone antenna and reception and related software."
It was the settlement of that consolidated class action lawsuit that led to the issuance of the $15 checks. (Alternatively, affected iPhone 4 customers had the option to choose a bumper for their phones.) Ira Rothken, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said that the class comprises 25 million members.
According to the official settlement Web site, iPhone4settlement.com, iPhone 4 owners had to file their claim for the cash by the end of August 2012. Recipients of the check apparently have until July 16 of this year to cash it.