Friday, March 30, 2018

reasonable consumers might not know just how big Apple iOS 8 is

Orshan v. Apple Inc. 2018 WL 1510202, No. 14-cv-05659-EJD (N.D. Cal. Mar. 27, 2018)

The plaintiffs bought iPhones and iPads with 16 GB capacity running earlier versions of iOS, which they later upgraded to iOS 8, which used anywhere from 18.1%-23.1% (2.9-3.7 GB) of the capacity and made it unavailable for personal storage. They alleged that, had they known this, they “would not have upgraded to iOS 8,” “would not have purchased the 16 GB of storage capacity or would not have been willing to pay the same price for it.” Further, Apple allegedly exploits this discrepancy between represented and available capacity by selling iCloud storage subscriptions and not allowing users to use cloud storage from other vendors. They brought the usual statutory California claims.

The court found plaintiffs failed to state a claim, though one theory might be repleadable.  First, it wasn’t reasonable to think that all advertised storage capacity would be available for personal use.  In all its materials, Apple clarified that the “actual formatted capacity” of these devices would be “less” than the full 16 GB. Also,

iPhones and iPads are not hard drives; they are fully functional devices that come pre-installed with an operating system and applications. Consumers know and expect this. No reasonable consumer would buy an iPhone or iPad and not expect that it would not already include this software. Although an average consumer is not an engineer, software and computers are pervasive enough in the modern world that a reasonable consumer would at least expect that software would require some storage space.

Second, a reasonable consumer might not have thought that iOS 8 would be so bulky.  Apple didn’t make specific statements about its size either absolutely or in comparison to iOS 7.  “In addition, a reasonable consumer is not a software engineer and would not be expected to know, as a matter of common knowledge, how much space iOS consumes or the relative size differences between iOS 7 and iOS 8.” However, plaintiffs didn’t sufficiently plead their claims with particularity. Their general statements about deceptiveness didn’t let Apple pinpoint which of its statements, or its materials containing omissions, gave rise to plaintiffs’ alleged expectations.

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