Apple has reached a preliminary settlement to put to bed class action litigation that claimed the consumer electronics giant misrepresented and concealed information in connection with an iPhone that was plagued by reception issues due to a defective antenna design.
Ira Rothken, one of the attorneys who is involved in the settlement, announced last week via Twitter that the settlement over Apple's iPhone 4 received preliminary approval.
Class members will be to obtain $15 in cash or a bumper for their phone, Rothken told CNET. The class is comprised of more than 21 million individuals.
Multiple lawsuits were filed in 2010 after consumers started experiencing dropped calls and other reception problems on their iPhone 4 when they held the device in a certain way. The consequence of holding the phone in the so-called "death grip" created hassles for Apple and its iPhone partner at the time, AT&T, and was later attributed to a badly designed antenna.
The class-action settlement steps from 18 lawsuits that were consolidated into one, and all of those suits claimed 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," CNET reported.
A website (www.iPhone4Settlement.com) reportedly has been set up to assist class members, but it hasn't been activated yet.
Apple downplayed the settlement: "This settlement relates to a small number of customers who indicated that they experienced antenna or reception issues with their iPhone 4, and didn't want to take advantage of a free case from Apple when it was being offered in 2010," the company told CNET.
In October 2011, Apple released a new version of the iPhone: the iPhone 4S. This smartphone isn't believed to suffer the same antenna problems. That's at least what Consumer Reports found last year after testing the iPhone 4S in its labs.