updated 11:30 pm EDT, Thu April 11, 2013
False positive moisture sensor reading prevented warranty repair
According to a settlement set to be filed in San Francisco federal court soon, Apple has agreed to pay $53 million to settle a class action suit accusing Apple of not honoring warranty repair terms. While not yet filed, and as such, not finalized, Apple chief litigation counsel Noreen Krall signed the agreement agreeing to the terms on April 10.
As recently as June 2010, Apple had carefully worded its water damage terms, claiming that liquid submersion indicators located inside the phone are designed not to be triggered by humidity and temperature changes that are "within the product's environmental requirements." Specifications for the iPhone indicate an acceptable range of relative humidity between 5 percent and 95 percent, although the conditions must be "noncondensing."
For residents of many frequently humid areas, the relative humidity can hover in the upper part of the iPhone's tolerance range for a large portion of the year. Most areas of the United States easily reach above 90 percent humidity during or after a period of rain. Although the generally high humidity and outdoor temperatures may not trigger the indicating tape, leaving an air-conditioned building into a humid environment can potentially cause condensation on devices, particularly those with metal or glass cases that retain previous thermal conditions better than plastic.
The document, acquired by Wired, lists the original iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and iPod Touch units up to and including the third generation as affected by the payout. Payouts are expected to be around $200 per claimant but may be more or less depending on the number of applicants who needed repairs to devices that Apple refused due to the indicator's color change.