Apple settles iPhone water damage suit

The iPhone 5, pictured here, goes for as much as $600 on SellCell.com. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

WASHINGTON — Apple has reached a $53 million settlement that could mean money in the pockets of frustrated consumers.

The suit revolves around a tiny piece of plastic most iPhone and iPod owners never knew existed.

“Inside the earpiece of the iPhone, there’s a little indicator,” says Ken Colburn, of the Data Doctors.

It’s a white piece of plastic that turns pink if it senses water damage, he says.

According to the federal lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California, Apple had a “liquid damage policy,” which required Apple employees to deny warranty coverage for any device if the liquid indicator had been triggered, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The maker of the indicator, 3M, has also said heat and humidity can trigger the change of color from white to pink. Apple disagreed, according to court documents.

“If you keep your phone in your back pocket, it gets hot, especially in humid climates like Washington, D.C.,” Colburn says. “You have the potential for a water damaged, warranty denied phone when it’s really never been dropped in water.”

The settlement, which still requires the court’s approval, will be held in a fund to be distributed among the 153,000 members of the class action suit.

Wired reports each person denied warranty coverage under the lawsuit would receive approximately $200.


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