"Twice as fast for half the price" could be the statement that gets Apple in a heap of trouble. William Gillis of San Diego is suing Apple for its claims that the new iPhone 3G is indeed "Twice as fast for half the price". While it could be quick to write this off as another lawsuit get rich quick scheme, Apple's rebuttal is quite interesting.
Wired are reporting that Apple's lawyers have crafted a nine page response [PDF] to Gillis's complaint. While most of the rebuttal is standard lawyer gibberish about how Apple would never do such a thing; they do write "claims, and those of the purported class, are barred by the fact that the alleged deceptive statements were such that no reasonable person in Plaintiff's position could have reasonably relied on or misunderstood Apple's statements as claims of fact". A quick translation says that the complaint about the "twice as fast for half the price" should not be taken at face value and the statement is not a fact.
The lawsuit has more ground than one might think; with other iPhone lawsuits Apple has moved to have them dismissed and the courts agreed, but not so in Gillis case. Is Apple going to admit that its advertisements were misleading? Apple will be able to prove that the phone is indeed faster but only under ideal conditions. Unfortunately for Apple you can't advertise non real world conditions. It would be as if Ford said their cars got 100 MPG but only going down hill with your foot off the accelerator.
The lawsuit accuses Apple of unsatisfactory performance from the iPhone 3G; claiming "frequently dropped calls to sluggish broadband speeds and the inability to stay on 3G before it switches to the slower EDGE network". Apple has promised to remedy the issues but users are still complaining about the issues since launch.
Apple, for the time being, has been able to protect itself in US courts. This statement can't be said though in the UK where the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority banned two iPhone 3G advertisements, deeming them misleading for exaggerating the speeds and internet capabilities of the handset.
The question remains if Apple is producing advertisements that are truly misleading; advertisements claiming the "full internet" even though it lacked flash and "twice the speed" while dropping 3G connections. Did Apple truly mislead customers? That's for the courts to decide.