Apple sued (again) over iPhone lock-in

The Apple iPhone is the subject of yet another lawsuit - this time over monopolistic practices

A California man has become the latest person to sue Apple over its iPhone lock-in to the AT&T's mobile network - and, of course, for 'bricking' his mobile phone.

The class action lawsuit, being brought by US attorney Damian Fernandez, alleges that Apple has created a monopoly that stops other mobile phone networks from offering the iPhone for sale in the US. The same thing, of course, applies here: O2 is the UK's only iPhone provider.

The lawsuit also takes Apple to task for a software update that 'bricked' (broke) thousands of iPhones which had been hacked to work on other mobile networks and allow the installation of third-party applications.

The lawsuit conveniently forgets however that every iPhone owner has effectively signed an End User Licence Agreement (EULA). This expressly says that by modifying or using third-party software on the device you will invalidate its warranty. Apple has widely and very publicly made this limitation known. It's also something that's not out of keeping with the rest of the consumer electronics or computing industries.

iPhones 'bricked': hacked or not

It also fails to mention the fact that some owners of unhacked iPhones also had their devices 'bricked' with the software update. This is something that points to bugs in the software rather than a deliberate act of sabotage by Apple.

However the tie-in to a single network abroad and in the UK will be the source of consternation among some would-be iPhone buyers. O2 may be the biggest mobile network in the UK, but it also has indifferent mobile coverage in parts, while its EDGE coverage (just 30 per cent) is lamentable.

Still, what the California man, New York woman and every other hacker seems to forget is that nobody forces you to buy an iPhone - you take on the risks and limitations when you buy the device.

If you want a smartphone you can hack with third-party apps and use on any network, go buy something else.

The UK version of the iPhone goes on sale here on Friday 9 November.