Got an iPhone 6? It might have a disease. A so-called ‘touch disease.’ Unless you’ve been living in Patagonia for a week, or working for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign (whereby you’re living in a different universe), you’ve heard about the iPhone touch disease which causes certain iPhones to display a flickering gray bar at the top of the screen and renders the touchscreen unresponsive.
Based upon the number of headlines, it’s an obvious design defect. Based upon the defect itself, it’s likely that iPhone users could be partly to blame by stuffing their butt pockets with a mobile super computer made of aluminum, which causes an occasional flex in the case, which causes things to loosen which probably is the cause of the aforementioned touch disease.
Whenever such an issue happens to more than a dozen iPhone customers, the ambulance chasers come out of the woodwork like human cockroaches and descend upon the great unwashed masses of iPhone users, licking their chops, and imagining two Bentley’s parked in the garage of their new 10,000 square foot home in the Hamptons– courtesy of Apple’s tens of billions of cash stockpiled in various banks around the world.
Yes, it’s time for another episode of Class Action Lawsuit, Cupertino Edition.
What’s going on?
Apparently, some iPhone 6 models are flexed in such a way that some chips inside become dislodged and ipso facto, touch disease which renders the touchscreen mostly unusable. Did Apple design that on purpose to force customers to upgrade to new iPhone models without touch disease?
That’s what you might gather from the first class action lawsuit, this one filed in Northern California.
Apple has long been aware of the defective iPhones. Yet, notwithstanding its longstanding knowledge of this design defect, Apple routinely has refused to repair the iPhones without charge when the defect manifests. Many other iPhone owners have communicated with Apple’s employees and agents to request that Apple remedy and/or address the Touchscreen Defect and/or resultant damage at no expense. Apple has failed and/or refused to do so.
So, if you put your iPhone into a back pocket while wearing a tight pair of jeans or shorts, then sit on the phone and it bends or flexes, over time something breaks, hence touch disease.
As a result of Apple’s unfair, deceptive and/or fraudulent business practices, owners of the iPhones, including Plaintiffs, have suffered an ascertainable loss of money and/or property and/or value. The unfair and deceptive trade practices committed by Apple were conducted in a manner giving rise to substantial aggravating circumstances.
That’s ambulance chaser legalese which can be translated thusly.
Apple has the most cash reserves of any non-country in the world and we want some of it.
Is touch disease a problem? Yes. But how much of a real problem– as opposed to problems from headlines or ambulance chaser lawyers looking for a payday– remains to be seen. Some estimates online state that around 10-percent of all iPhone 6 repairs or problems are related to touch disease. But that’s not 10-percent of all iPhone 6’s sold (probably nearing 250-million); just those that need service, and most of those are outside the iPhone’s initial warranty period.
Is the touch disease problem a design defect– the case isn’t strong enough to prevent bending which causes internal components to move out of place– or is it the result of mistreatment by customers who don’t recognize that it’s still an electronic device and should be treated with more care?
I suspect the truth lies somewhere between the two perspectives, but either way, Apple will end up footing the bill; yet another good reason not to dole out money to shareholders, and another good reason to stop buying back AAPL shares.