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Apple Sued Over 'Overheating' iPads

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By Admin on July 29, 2010 1:53 PM

It seems that Apple has found itself in a little game of hot potato.

The company is the subject of yet another class action lawsuit, this time filed in Oakland, California in federal court. The lawsuit claims that the iPad quickly overheats under common weather conditions, and even overheats indoors. The suit states that the iPad "does not live up to the reasonable consumer's expectations created by Apple."

Apple is the world's most valuable technology company, but has recently been under a swarm of lawsuits over its devices and company practices. This case is Baltazar v. Apple Inc., 10-03231, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland) and alleges that in direct sunlight the tablet quickly turns off, often after only a few minutes of use, according to appleinsider.com.

Like the iPhone and iPod, the iPad is designed to shut down and display a warning message when it overheats. However the lawsuit alleges that the shutdown happens so frequently that the device cannot be used in the manner in which it was advertised. In light of this, the lawsuit alleges unfair business practices, fraud, deceptive advertising, breach of express or implied warranty, negligent misrepresentation, intentional misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment. There are too many claims to dig into all of them, but let's take a quick stab at deceptive advertising.

Deceptive or false advertising is "any advertising or promotion that misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities or geographic origin of goods, services or commercial activities." A successful plaintiff has to prove five elements:

  1. a false statement of fact has been made about the advertiser's own or another person's goods, services, or commercial activity;
  2. the statement either deceives or has the potential to deceive a substantial portion of its targeted audience;
  3. the deception is also likely to affect the purchasing decisions of its audience;
  4. the advertising involves goods or services in interstate commerce; and
  5. the deception has either resulted in or is likely to result in injury to the plaintiff.

In this case, the plaintiffs claim that Apple advertised that the iPad can be used just like a book and is capable of being used outdoors. However, they contend that the device does not in fact work as advertised. For example, users have complained that they cannot take it to places like the beach or other outdoor locations on a warm day. By contrast, Ars Technica reports anecdotal evidence that the iPad works even in the heat; after testing it for four hours at about 82°. Ultimately, it will end up being a question for a judge or jury, if it ever makes it that far. Most lawsuits settle before ever reaching trial.

Apple has not returned calls seeking comment over the class action lawsuit.

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