Class action lawsuit claims iPhone 4 has defective power button nearly three years after its launch

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Nearly three years after the device first launched, GigaOm points us to a recently filed class action lawsuit that claims Apple’s iPhone 4 has a defective power button. The lawsuit claims that a defective flex cable typically causes the on/off switch to fail shortly after the device’s one year warranty has expired. It also claimsApple is aware of the problem, which is costing users around $149 to fix off of warranty.

Apple of course still sells the iPhone 4 through a number of carrier partners as its low end, $0 down iPhone option.

According to the lawsuit, “thousands of iPhone 4 users have suffered” from the issue that Apple allegedly knew existed before manufacturing and selling the device. The problem has never received a lot of mainstream media coverage or a response from Apple, but the lawsuit notes that a support forum on Apple’s website boasts over 800K views since first popping up in January 2011.                                                                                                        
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AT&T launches AIO Wireless MVNO with iPhone 5 plans at $55 to $70/month

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As we reported last week, AT&T today launched its new pre-paid wireless MVNO called Aio Wireless with the iPhone 5 on offer, front and center. Currently, the service is only available in Houston, Orlando and Tampa but it is expected to roll out nationally over the coming months.

The company will offer 4 plans: Aio Basic, Smart and Pro phone plans at $35-40 for 250MB, $55 for 2GB and $70/month for 7GB data respectively. Each plan will shift to lower speed data after data is used up and also offers unlimited calls and text on AT&T’s network. They will also offer a tablet plan that starts at $15/month for 250MB.

The MVNO will carry Android, Windows and Apple smartphones including iPhone 4S for $499 and iPhone 5 for $649 without subsidy. They also cap 4G data at 4Mb/s so LTE speeds shouldn’t be expected.

Clearly this, as well as Verizon’s upcoming MVNO-like service, will address the competition from T-Mobile and other pre-paid carriers.

Press release and rate plans follow: Read more

Job postings suggest Apple to begin chip development in Orlando, Florida, near chip partners AMD and Qualcomm

Several job postings looking for both hardware and software engineers reveal that Apple is looking to begin its own chip development in Orlando, Florida.

Last week we learned that Apple is hiring software engineers to work on fingerprint technology at Authentec in Melbourne, Florida, which is about one hour south of the future site of the company’s development labs.

The job posting are interesting as Samsung, which works with Apple to develop the custom chips used in iPhones and iPads, continues to compete with Apple in the smartphone and tablet space.

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Apple hiring software engineers to work on fingerprint tech at Authentec’s Melbourne Design Center?

Fingerprint-scannerA new job listing on Apple.com could add fire to the rumors that Apple is considering including fingerprint technology in upcoming devices.

The job posting seeking a software engineer to write “low-level code to configure and control hardware” is the only listing on Apple’s site located at the “Melbourne Design Center” in Melbourne, Florida. Not only is the position looking for someone familiar with testing various sensors with LabTool and FA software, but Melbourne is also the home base of Authentec, the company Apple acquired fingerprint technology from last year for around $365 million.  Read more

iPhone 4S lands on C Spire network in the U.S. on November 11th

C Spire confirmed via press release today after announcing it last month, that Apple’s iPhone 4S will be available on their network on November 11th in the Southeastern United States. C Spire will keep with Apple’s pricing, offering the 16GB version for $199, 32GB version for $299, and the 64GB version for $399. The carrier will be offering 4 plans with the iPhone 4S, outlined below. For those who don’t want to go with a data plan they can pay for it as they go for one penny per five kilobytes.

Plans 1 and 2 above, while they have unlimited data, somehow only allow 30 minutes of streaming video per month. Having the iPhone 4S available on CDMA C Spire is part of Apple’s plan to expand availability of the iPhone to almost everyone. C Spire currently has almost a million customers in Mississippi, Florida, and parts of Alabama and Georgia and Tennessee and boasts “the highest level of smartphone penetration among carriers in the US”.

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Florida company sues Apple over LG “fast boot” patent

More patent fun today as a small Florida company that may or may not be an LG spinoff called OSS systems sues Apple according to Patently Apple.  The Patent was originally filed by LG in 1999 and describes…

“A method for fast booting a computer system, comprising the steps of: A. performing a power on self test (POST) of basic input output system (BIOS) when the system is powered on or reset is requested; B. checking whether a boot configuration information including a system booting state which was created while executing a previous normal booting process exists or not; C. storing the boot configuration information from execution of the POST operation before loading a graphic interface (GUI) program, based on the checking result; and D. loading the graphic user interface (GUI) program.”

As far as Android competitors go, LG and Apple have a pretty cordial relationship  having signed a $500 million display deal a few years ago.  Displays in Apple’s popular devices, from 27-inch iMacs to retina iPhones are made by LG. LG could have spun the patent off as its own company, in an attempt to avoid locking horns with Apple in the courts.  Apple has been suing what seems like every other Android manufacturer over patent disputes. Read more