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Apple Facing Class Actions Over iPhone 7 Loop Disease

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 29: An Apple logo is displayed in an Apple retail store in Grand Central Terminal, January 29, 2019 in New York City. Apple is set to report first-quarter earnings results after U.S. markets close on Tuesday. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
By George Khoury, Esq. on May 10, 2019

Owners of iPhone 7 devices may be pleased to hear that Apple is being sued due to its lack of response to the complaints over what has been dubbed "loop disease." And it's not just one lawsuit, there are now at least two class action cases over the loop disease issue, one out of Illinois and another in California.

While affected users experience a variety of audio problems, some rendering the device useless, the flaw has been known for sometime, and can be simply repaired by a technician. Basically, over time, and conveniently after the warranty ends, the connection of a particular audio chip to the device’s motherboard loosens due to the way the device's case flexes. Although technicians can repair the problem by soldering in a stronger connection, Apple's limited warranty extension for this service was never announced and has ended.

Defective Design

The problem, dubbed loop disease by the device repair industry, is believed to be the result of Apple not designing the connection for the audio chip to be strong enough, or alternatively, that the case of device was not designed to be strong enough to prevent that connection from loosening due to the case flexing. The repair simply involves opening the device's case, and re-soldering the chip into place with a thicker copper wire.

Apple hasn't responded as the lawsuits were just recently filed. But it is not uncommon for the company to provide device owners with extended warranty coverage when a defect has a widespread impact. Although the complaints online seem to have accumulated, Apple has stood by its decision to not reopen the extended warranty program it created to address these problems.

Apple Design Tolerance for Lawsuits

While Apple is known for using stringent design tolerances and precision manufacturing, those designs can get the company in some trouble every now and again. It is not uncommon for Apple to face class action lawsuits alleging a common defect has gone un-remedied by the device maker.

Not too long ago, it was sued because of the known problem with Apple Watch screens (and backs) popping off.

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