back to article Remember when Apple's FaceTime stopped working years ago? Yeah, that was deliberate

Apple is accused of deliberately shafting people who didn't upgrade their iPhones and iOS, in a class action lawsuit over its FaceTime video-conferencing software. This week, US district judge Lucy Koh allowed [PDF] a class-action lawsuit against the tech giant to move forward after she rejected Apple's argument that it can do …

  1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

    What if I have an iPhone 3GS? IOS 6 is as far as I can go.

    1. O RLY

      Probably wouldn’t be eligible to be party to the suit. FaceTime was never supported or enabled on the 3G S. The first iPhone with a front facing camera was the 4.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        or the iPod Touch n

        8 years ago I and my siblings all bought iPod Touches (none of us had any interest in an iPhone back then -- I still don't!) to keep in touch via facetime with our terminally ill mother when we weren't there looking after her (there was always one or two of us there at any one time). It worked well and I'm grateful for that, especially over her last Christmas. She died before the certificate expiry so it wasn't a real problem for us but those iPods never had an iOS 7 release. Apple completely screwed over the main selling point of those devices with no route to fix or workaround it. Trying to use facetime it would pop up a warning saying you had to upgrade to iOS 7 with a button... which took you to another warning saying iOS 7 wasn't available for that device.

    2. ThomH Silver badge

      If you have a 3GS then you don't have a front-facing camera. So FaceTime has never, ever been available to you.

      It's really only iPhone 4 customers who have been artificially deprived.

  2. Jay Lenovo Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Give and Take

    ...let a digital certificate expire prematurely which broke the video-conferencing service for anyone using version 6 or lower of iOS.

    Wow, a built-in Apple controlled self-destruct.

    What exactly did your purchase buy? Apparently not any fixed function.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Give and Take

      Apple are still way better than Google in that department. Your Android might get one or two updates if you are lucky, and Google regularly discontinue producta, even ones that people pay for.

      1. expreg

        Re: Give and Take

        Likely to change now with Project Treble and Android One. Although if you had a Nexus (or now, I suppose, a Pixel) you would get updates every month.

      2. Unicornpiss Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Give and Take

        "Apple are still way better than Google in that department. Your Android might get one or two updates if you are lucky, and Google regularly discontinue products, even ones that people pay for."

        In what way is this actually better? While nothing lasts forever, at least if you have an Android phone, you're not getting actively screwed by having to choose between either doing without a key feature or having your device run much slower. At least you can count on the features you had when you got the thing still working, even if no updates are being made after a certain point. If your Android device gets 'orphaned', at least you're not being "encouraged" to buy another phone by strong-arm tactics and then lied to about it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Give and Take

          "Apple are still way better than Google in that department. Your Android might get one or two updates if you are lucky, and Google regularly discontinue products, even ones that people pay for."

          In what way is this actually better? While nothing lasts forever, at least if you have an Android phone, you're not getting actively screwed by having to choose between either doing without a key feature or having your device run much slower...

          Neither are really better. Software wise, android is slightly better because the user has the highest opportunity to do stuff it themselves (custom homescreen/ launcher, sideloading, rooting, custom rom, lineageOS). So technical android users can get their stuff working for a very long time, and developers can get their app tested faster. However hardware wise, apple limited phone variation and apple store support will be far better to get a device fixed. Not to mention, the guarantee security patches from Apple.

          So if I have to recommend to a casual, it would be an iPhone, even if I use an android, solely because of the ease to get an iPhone hardware fixed at a price (at a very high price).

          On topic, even though I don't like it apple force iOS upgrade, it's just the reality of casual not doing their own fixes, so Apple has the control to do it. If they can do their own fixes, they should get their lineageOS android.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Stop

            Re: Give and Take

            "Not to mention, the guarantee security patches from Apple."

            weirdly, most half decent Android devices get security patches just fine. It's that idiot users don't understand the difference between a full OS upgrade, and a security patch.

            Most vendors are pretty good these days at supplying security patches for shipping OS. (and most of them are on Google's Enterprise programme that guarantees max 90 day lag). Notably, Samsung aren't on that list...

            I really DON'T want a full Android OS that slows my device like iOS updates do. I'm perfectly happy with the Android, way, as I don't need full OS updates, as all my system apps are always updated by Google Play store... Full OS really doesn't matter on Android, as long as you get security updates (which as I said, most do). Sadly, none of this fits with the stories that Apple created to allow it's owners to have a warm fuzzy feeling inside that their £1000 purchase was worth it, and none of this fits with the clickbait stories that are pushed by the media who's only income is from adverts on sensational stories.

        2. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: Give and Take

          How many chat services have Google launched and discontinued now? I’ve lost count. So the one that came with your phone probably doesn’t work any more.

          Yes, you can install WhatsApp and most people do. You can do that on an iPhone as well.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Give and Take

            They did chat about 15 years ago, but they had already retired the tech and merged that into Hangouts by the time it even made it onto Android (admittedly they were still running under the Talk name). Since then they've relaunched Hangouts as Google Meet, but it's still exactly the same product under the brand name.

            So, in summary, one

        3. Spazturtle Silver badge

          Re: Give and Take

          " At least you can count on the features you had when you got the thing still working"

          What are you talking about? I have an Android device right here where the YouTube app is saying I need to upgrade the app in order to watch videos, but the new app doesn't run on this device.

          1. David Nash Silver badge

            Youtube App

            That's a third-party App so I wouldn't count that as the "features you got when you bought the phone".

            1. Shooter

              Re: Youtube App, @ David Nash

              I humbly disagree. At least on my phone, the YouTube app (by Google, the maker of Android) is baked into the OS. At least to the extent that while it can be disabled, it cannot be uninstalled by the user. I think that qualifies it as a "feature you got when you bought the phone", rather than a third-party app.

              1. David Nash Silver badge

                Re: Youtube App, @ David Nash

                Maybe my phone is a couple of years older or maybe it depends on your phone brand. Mine has an "uninstall" option.

      3. TheUnknown

        Re: Give and Take

        Give and take? WTF?

        Your comment is incredibly inaccurate.

        Android phones are easy to root so you can upgrade & even downgrade any version you wish.

        At least with Android, you actually OWN the device you pay for.

        Additionally, Android phones receive support for up to 3 years. NOT one or two updates as you claim.

        I am not even a fanboy. I use an iPhone myself only because my work pays for it.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: Give and Take

          "Additionally, Android phones receive support for up to 3 years. NOT one or two updates as you claim."

          Unless something has changed remarkably in the last year or so, the level of support offered clearly depends upon the phone type (cheap vs flagship) and the phone manufacturer. I've been an Android user for a long time, and my Samsung phones are the only ones I've ever had that have received any updates at all.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Give and Take

            Samsung phones are the only ones I've ever had that have received any updates at all.

            ---

            I have had updates for my HTC, Motorola, and Huawei phones and my Nexus and Asus tablets, and keep getting them for any currently used products.

          2. Unicornpiss Silver badge

            Re: Give and Take

            Both my ancient Samsung phone and my Asus tablet, which is about 4 years old, got updates about a year ago. Not as frequent as Apple, but not abandoned either. And lately it seems like the next iOS update is to fix bugs introduced in the last iOS update..

          3. Soruk

            Re: Give and Take

            > my Samsung phones are the only ones I've ever had that have received any updates at all.

            Not in my experience. My HTC Wildfire, Huawei G300 and Y300, and my current phone, the Moto G5, have all received updates (okay, only the Moto has had any in the past year).

            My Samsung Galaxy S5 and Tab Pro have never so much as received a single update. Thankfully most apps still run on KitKat, as that tablet is, in itself, quite a nice bit of kit

            1. heyrick Silver badge

              Re: Give and Take

              "My Samsung Galaxy S5 [...] never so much as received a single update."

              Hmm, clearly there are still differences in support, maybe as a carrier or by country? I thought the updates these days came directly from Samsung?

              My S5 Mini received a small update when I got it, shortly after a full OS update to bring it to Android 6. Then it had two more security updates.

              This is about the same story as my S7 which I think started with Android 6, updated to 7, and is now on 8 (I believe the last major update this phone will get) with various patches and fixes along the way; though I've noticed that my older phones (the ones still stuck on Android 2.something) seem to require full OS reflash to update, while the newer phones can perform incremental patches, plus a number of the usual apps can be updated via "an app store".

              This last point is perhaps the biggest change from my experience with Apple. Safari cannot be updated, email cannot be updated, etc. But on my S7, Samsung might have stuck their branding all over the bundled apps, but there are updates available in the Galaxy Store for a number of them. Right now the email client, file explorer, and stock browser have updates pending. The browser I'll update soon (I use Firefox so it's not important) and the others... I'll update if I notice any bugs. Given updates often take away as many features as they add, I'm not of the mindset of updating just because there's an update. And certainly not without making a copy of the previous app's APK so I can rollback if necessary.

      4. Dave K Silver badge

        Re: Give and Take

        Not everyone likes updates. I've had too many phones that have been super speedy when new, yet have become slower and more stuttery with every update. Nowerdays, I often avoid major OS updates on my phone and have a 3 year phone which feels as speedy as when I bought it as a result. Seriously, what does Oreo (for example) do so wonderfully that I'm missing out on with Marshmallow except (inevitably) run slower?

        Back with iOS, when I had an iPhone 3G, I deliberately kept it on iOS 3.1.2 as it ran like an absolute turd with 4.0.

        And anyway, this is about Apple taking functionality that worked under iOS 6 and disabling it not long after iOS 7 came along. I don't recall Google disabling features on earlier Android phones the moment they release a new version?

        1. adam 40
          Megaphone

          How do I get my money back?

          I have an Iphone 4 that is stuck in "upgrade jail", since the iOS 7 upgrade the thing pretty much stopped working.

          If I find a friendly Californian can they claim back the money and send the phone back to Apple for a refund, when the court case comes to fruition?

          Incidentally when I complained about the phone's problems a couple of years ago on Apple public forums, I was told it "couldn't happen" and sent packing with a flea in my ear. FUCKING LIARS THE LOT OF THEM.

          I feel a bit better now.... nurse, the screens!

      5. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Re: Give and Take

        "Apple are still way better than Google in that department. Your Android might get one or two updates if you are lucky"

        Nope, Android and iPhone are serviced totally differently, and Google are light years ahead of the system image model that Apple uses, where you load a system image, and all your apple apps get updated in the process.

        In Google's world, this would never have happened. Duo, Allo and Hangouts all ship with the phone (or call be installed if not), and are updated REGARDLESS of how old your Android device is. Hangouts works all the way back to Android 2.2

        Perhaps actually look at a premium Android device before deciding what Apple told you was the truth

      6. Avatar of They
        Stop

        Re: Give and Take

        But google are honest like that. They are openly telling you that some phones won't upgrade and the latest may get a couple of updates if you are lucky. They have said in that past some flavours will not jump upgrades and some phones won't even touch some upgrades.So you basically know what you enter into when you get one.

        Also the argument is and always has been the manufacturers that are the problem of bringing updates in a timely fashion, not google. They are the ones that are slow to bring to market any updates.

        They don't lie about it to customers.

        Caveat - I think Google is appalling for a whole heap of other reasons.

  3. Mark 85 Silver badge

    So there's fanbois who don't run out when a new iphone is introduced and buy it? I'm shocked. Shocked I tell you.

    1. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

      I'm not sure I'd call myself a fanboi, but I have a "three year" policy. I bought an iPhone 4, and upgraded to a 5S about three years later. That in turn got upgraded to a 7 two years ago, so the next upgrade won't be before this time next year. Well, unless they do something daft like raising the minimum size. A 7 is just small enough to fit in my front pocket.

      And the Watch probably won't get upgraded. If it breaks or otherwise stops working, I'll go back to dumbwatches.

  4. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    ”Cupertino idiot-tax operation“

    Grow the f*ck up, Kieren.

    1. Keef

      I must admit I was getting a tad weary of the 'Cupertino idiot-tax' line a while back.

      But given recent product releases and associated pricing I say:

      Keep it the f*uck up, Kieren.

      The phrase seems more relevant now than ever.

      And judge Lucy Koh seems to be handling a lot of major cases quite sensibly from what I read on El Reg.

      1. MyffyW Silver badge

        I for one...

        Welcome the red-top-rag click-bait merchant's witty one liners - biting not just the hand that feeds it but often taking the upper arm too.

        Keep it the f*ck up good people.

    2. Martin-73 Silver badge

      It's a legitimate description of their business.

    3. Dave K Silver badge

      Sorry, they deserve it this time for trying to throw out the lawsuit with their "We can do what we want because you accepted the T&Cs" argument.

      Idiots.

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        "Sorry, they deserve it this time for trying to throw out the lawsuit with their "We can do what we want because you accepted the T&Cs" argument."

        Not disagreeing that's a twattish move and deserved to be kicked out, and I also sincerely hope they lose this lawsuit. My (well documented and long running) gripe with 'Idiot-tax corporation' is that it's an insult to their customers, not the company itself - and given that people have a perfect right to buy whatever the f*ck they like, including shiny beads if they so wish, I believe it's out of line to call them idiots.

        And if you do call them idiots, then everybody who buys a BMW, a Nespresso, a bottle of single malt, a piece of branded clothing, anything from Coca-Cola, Lindt chocolate, a Samsung phone or TV, any celebrity chef-branded meals, posh furniture, Philips Hue, Bose headphones, Microsoft Surface, Bauknecht or Miele white goods, a Dyson or BASICALLY ANYTHING THAT'S SOLD THROUGH ADVERTISING, is also an idiot. Because for 90% of our purchases it's possible to buy something cheaper that more-or-less does the same job, but you know what? It's none of your, my or anybody elses' business whether people buy the cheaper version or the more expensive one, and it doesn't make them an idiot for doing it.

        So I say again, this time with feeling; El Reg can f*ck right off with their 'idiot-tax' bollocks.

        1. gotes

          Um. Calm the f*ck down....

          1. Shooter

            re: Um. Calm the f*ck down....

            ... Francis.

            1. onefang Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: re: Um. Calm the f*ck down....

              Do none of you know how to properly spell "fuck"?

              1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                Re: re: Um. Calm the f*ck down....

                "Do none of you know how to properly spell "fuck"?"

                Course we do, but we didn't want to overreact.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ANGRY ANGRY ANGRY!

    ROAR ROAR ROAR!

    That's the problem with a constant drumbeat of outrage. Once the emotional powder is expended on the trivial, now that something truly outrageous is reported all I can do is shrug.

    Apple apples. Meh.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: ANGRY ANGRY ANGRY!

      Well, you can always post on twitter to keep the flame alive.

  6. redpawn Silver badge

    You get what you pay for

    That’s how free markets work. You bought a combination phone/paper weight and it still is. Reading the EULA tells you your gadget is practically guaranteed not to work as advertised so take heart these two primary functions probably still work.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Really?

    In April 2014, the Cupertino idiot-tax operation

    The people who buy Apple kit are all idiots then?

    I buy and use Apple kit for many reasons but hardly ever new unless I'm in places that have no VAT/Sales Tax.

    Over almost two decades I have had far fewer issues with it than with anything running software from Microsoft that I had to use for work.

    But I given your all embracing description I really am an idiot and my PhD in Non-linear Control Engineering means nothing. Time to retire the idiot tax banner?

    I much preferred Foxconn-reseller as a derogatory term myself.

    1. m0rt Silver badge

      Re: Really?

      "But I given your all embracing description I really am an idiot and my PhD in Non-linear Control Engineering means nothing."

      PhD or no, that sentence wants commas.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Punctuation

        They have obviously been to lawschool as well where using punctuation is beaten out of you because of possible misinterpretation.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      I much preferred Foxconn-reseller as a derogatory term myself.

      Cute.

    3. E_Nigma

      Re: Really?

      Another proof that all the academic titles in the world aren't enough to protect a frail ego, which will still be hurt even by things such as a tongue in cheek jab primarily aimed at the frail ego's preferred gadget maker.

      BTW, I'm not sure if mentioning Microsoft is at all relevant in this context, unless your work (presumably) in the field of non-linear control engineering limits your personal phone options to either Apple or Microsoft.

      1. Skribblez

        Re: Really?

        “Another proof that all the academic titles in the world aren't enough to protect a frail ego, which will still be hurt even by things such as a tongue in cheek jab primarily aimed at the frail ego's preferred gadget maker.“

        Bingo! I met a lot of these doing my doctorate. They were all “very important people doing very important things” too.

        Getting the PhD just means you and I were stupid enough to keep showing up and doing the work while our supervisors piled the shit higher and deeper on us. :-)

        As someone supporting an almost exclusively Apple household of iPhones, MacBook Airs and Pros, iMacs and even a Mac Pro, I like the use of Cupertino Idiot-tax Operation to describe Apple. But Foxconn Reseller is cute too. :-)

        It’s the Reg! It’s supposed to both bite the hand that feeds Information Technology and the hand that feeds itself: its own readers.

    4. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Re: Really?

      Ahem... I also have a PhD and I'm totally cool with the sobriquet as given by the author, and as it is widely used amongst other journos on board the good ship El Reg.

      In fact, it's these cutting little sarcasms that in my opinion make the site all the more fun to read.

      1. m0rt Silver badge

        Re: Really?

        I only got an A in GCSE physics. Obviously this means my opinion is not as important as those who have a PhD.

        So, I too, will add my .02% of value to this and state that as an Apple user, I think idiot tax is perfectly acceptable nomenclature for the price of Apple shiny.

    5. Tango130

      Re: Really?

      Bravo Kieren, you've got a bite!

    6. Conall O

      Re: Really?

      the amount of PhD's that argued against the monty hall problem really put into perspective how little touting having a PhD means to me.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Really?

        "the amount of PhD's that argued against the monty hall problem really put into perspective how little touting having a PhD means to me."

        The Littlewood-Richardson rule is an important combinatorial rule in the theory of symmetric functions. In the original article by the authors, the rule was correct but the proof was wrong. Not only that, but the example they gave illustrating the rule was also wrong.

        The Monty Hall problem is subtle, and if you aren't comfortable with prior and posterior probabilities you are likely to make a mistake.

    7. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Really?

      "But I given your all embracing description I really am an idiot and my PhD in Non-linear Control Engineering means nothing. Time to retire the idiot tax banner?"

      I have a D.Phil. in really difficult mathematics. That doesn't stop me being an idiot sometimes. Although not as much of an idiot as to buy an iPhone (or, indeed, any flagship phone. Or a brand new car on a lease).

      I cannot fathom how utterly amazing the latest feature would have to be for me to move 1000 notes from my wallet to the Cayman Islands to receive a phone.

  8. DougS Silver badge
    Mushroom

    The real crime

    Was that a court actually upheld a patent for peer to peer networking of video conferencing between phones written in such a general way that the only choice Apple had to avoid ultimately paying billions in royalties was to route the communication through an intermediary!

    They handled the transition in a crappy way, and should have been honest that the reason they were making the change was because of a patent troll - not a bug. Then some of that anger would have been directed in the right place.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: The real crime

      "the reason they were making the change was because of a patent troll - not a bug."

      I feel I have to disagree here. For me a patent troll is a company that uses crap patents to extort money out of companies who can't afford to fight the case in court. If *Apple's* lawyer's couldn't get the patent thrown out (and indeed had their penalty payout *increased* on appeal), that's a strong indication that the patents were actually worth something, and that Apple WAS in fact using someone else's invention without paying.

      The reason Apple made the change wasn't because of a patent troll, it's because they didn't want to pay to license a technology that provided a key selling point to millions of their customers, and (once they had developed their own peer-to-peer technology) they didn't want to pay a 3rd party supplier to continue to provide their customers with a service that the customers had already paid for.

      1. The First Dave

        Re: The real crime

        As has been widely noted, something that is an obvious solution to a problem is not _supposed_ to be patentable, and if a particular technique is the only sensible way of doing something, then it clearly fails that test. How this patent failed to get thrown out is a mystery, and has nothing to do with the size of the award.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The real crime

          By what definition of "obvious", because it seems no one thought of the idea until someone did, and ONLY after the fact did it become noticeable. By my standard, that's not obvious (obvious should be that the average Joe should be able to think it up spontaneously, which apparently didn't happen here).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Walkie

            Talkie.

            That is all.

          2. DougS Silver badge

            Re: The real crime

            Of course it is obvious. This had been done by more than one communication product that communicated via text or voice rather than video - VOIP phones in a VOIP to VOIP call for instance. The only difference between that older technology and what Apple was doing with Facetime was that Facetime was passing video instead of text/voice, and the endpoints were smartphones instead of PCs/desk phones.

            I mean, are you seriously going to argue that if you were designing a video conferencing system where two people could see/talk to each other on their smartphones, that your first instinct wouldn't be "have phone A send IP packets directly to phone B, and vice versa". That such an innovation is worthy of a patent? If you do believe that, are you currently a patent attorney or patent examiner?

            1. LeahroyNake Bronze badge

              Re: The real crime

              Depends if you work for some gov agency that would like an easy way to have a peek I suppose.

              1. DougS Silver badge

                @LeahroyNake

                The encryption is still peer to peer, so even going through an intermediary it isn't going to be any easier to snoop. They WOULD however, be able to tell which pairs of IP addresses are talking, which would otherwise be impossible - i.e. if I Facetime someone who lives in the same town and uses the same ISP, if I had true peer to peer communication it would stay pretty local and the spooks would need taps pretty much everywhere.

                Going through Akamai's servers as an intermediary the way Apple is forced to do by the bogus patent, the spooks only need taps for the traffic going to/from them and they could tell who I'm talking to. That's not the same as listening in, but if they were trying to prove criminal conspiracy and had other evidence against us, just proving we talked would be worth almost as much as proving what we said.

        2. jmch Silver badge

          Re: The real crime

          " if a particular technique is the only sensible way of doing something, then it clearly fails that test. "

          Apple reworked iOS 7 to have their 'own-brand' peer-to-peer facetiming that didn't violate the patent. Ergo the patent was not the only sensible way of doing something, and specific enough that Apple fell foul of it with their 1st implementation but not with their second

          1. DougS Silver badge

            @jmch

            That "reworking" involves going through an intermediary - it is no longer directly peer to peer. So apparently the trolls do have a patent that prevents all true peer to peer communication for video conferencing. Hopefully the courts will eventually see reason and overturn it.

            1. jmch Silver badge

              Re: @jmch

              @DougS - "That "reworking" involves going through an intermediary - it is no longer directly peer to peer. "

              That's not how I read the article. The reworking for iOS 6 had to go through an intermediary so as not to violate the patent. iOS 7 had an Apple-brand (non-patent-infringing) peer-to-peer reworking. Apple first tried to force its users to upgrade to iOS 7 so they could use the new Apple peer-to-peer feature rather than the intermediary (which Apple had to pay for). When many Apple users stuck to iOS 6, Apple didn't want to keep paying the intermediary and so pulled the plug on Facetime for iOS 6.

              So the patent clearly does not cover all instances of peer-to-peer videocalling since iOS 7 version is non-infringing

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: @jmch

                So why couldn't the feature be added to the FaceTime on iOS 6? That doesn't make sense, as even if FaceTime uses parts of iOS itself, can't the FaceTime app or part of it have the new code added on somehow? I mean, that's how Android system apps are updated (by being downloaded as user apps), why can't Apple?

    2. Shooter

      Re: The real crime @DougS

      According to the last link in the original article (about the increase in the judgement amount), Apple was attempting to have the VirnetX patent invalidated. Don't know if they were successful, I assume it's still ongoing. That would make any judgement moot, but would probably not affect this particular case.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It was a free feature.

    So just upgrade. Jesus, it’s not difficult.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It was a free feature.

      Sorry, that's not the american way. It is far easier to sue than to upgrade.

      They'll eventually become a runt of a nation with all of them lawyers who will just sue each other for the hell of it...

      Then it will explode.

    2. Wincerind

      Re: It was a free feature.

      No.

      It was a feature that was paid for when they bought the phone.

      1. Mongrel

        Re: It was a free feature.

        Or rather, it was a feature that may well have influenced your purchasing decision

    3. jmch Silver badge

      Re: It was a free feature.

      "So just upgrade. Jesus, it’s not difficult."

      So you missed the bit that said that "upgrading" the iOS version actually *downgraded* the phone's performance?

    4. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: It was a free feature.

      "So just upgrade. Jesus, it’s not difficult."

      I think you meant "Change your phone. Not that big of a deal."

  10. jmch Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Don't hold your breath

    "Of course, this being Apple, if it does lose, it will appeal the decision to the ends of the earth so don't expect that money any time soon"

    Also, this being a class action suit in California, I quite expect that if Apple lose, the lawyers will argue that it's too expensive to locate and pay a tiny amount to each of the individual class action members, so let's instead pay the whole sum to some advocacy groups / think thanks that promote better corporate social responsibility to avoid this sort of thing in the future.

    Coincidentally, said advocacy groups / think thanks will be linked to the alma maters of the lawyers on either or both sides and/or the judge

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Don't hold your breath

      Usually it isn't the defendant that makes that argument, but rather the plaintiffs - or more to the point the plaintiff's attorneys. The lawyers representing plaintiffs in a class action don't want to spend a lot of money and more importantly time trying to figure out who the class members are, contacting them, cutting them each a tiny check or whatever. That means waiting to buy your new Ferrari.

      They want something quick and cheap, so the case can be closed and they can get tens of millions of dollars for doing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of work, and move on to the next class action suit.

  11. DoctorPaul

    iOS7 was when I jumped ship

    Like to think I was an early adopter of Apple kit - £1300 at educational discount for a Mac SE with twin floppies in 1987 on which to write my PhD thesis - but the forced iOS7 upgrade to my iPad was the last straw.

    To be told in the Apple Store that I had no right to roll back to iOS6 despite having "bought" the hardware did things to my blood pressure that I really don't want to recall :-)

    So now it's Android all the way - which means Google's own kit basically. I love to pick up last year's model on eBay just after the latest bit of bleeding edge tech is released. Nexus 6P phone does me very well thank you, even with Oreo.

    Sorry to all the script kiddies out there, but I'm not willing to give up the last few decades of UI design for something that could be rendered on a 256 colour VGA adapter and looks like a 5 year old with a set of crayons designed it.

    Which is one factor in why I'll be jumping from Windows 7 to Mint - don't even get me started on the abomination that is the Windows 10 UI!

    (Lights blue touchpaper and retires)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: iOS7 was when I jumped ship

      "Which is one factor in why I'll be jumping from Windows 7 to Mint"

      And then you find out one of your key pieces of software is Windows-ONLY and WINE-unfriendly?

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: iOS7 was when I jumped ship

        You might want to look up virtual machines some day.

        1. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

          Re: iOS7 was when I jumped ship

          You might want to look up virtual machines some day.

          The point of jumping *from* Windows is surely so that you avoid all future contact with it. Running Windows in a VM so you can get away from running Windows doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.

          Disclaimer. I have an unnecessarily large pile of computers at home, and they mostly run Windows, except the pair of RPis that run Raspbian. (Getting Win10 IoT Core running seemed like way more work than I wanted to expend, but even then one of them would be running Raspbian anyway.)

          1. DropBear Silver badge

            Re: iOS7 was when I jumped ship

            Yes, indeed, it's a "last refuge". But it _will_ allow you to stay windows-free 99.x% of the time, except when that specific recalcitrant piece of software is involved. If truly nothing else can run it, there's no other way after all. But it's still better than staying 100% under Windows for just this one annoying exception, is it not?

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: iOS7 was when I jumped ship

              Unless that Windows-ONLY software ALSO runs custom (read: unable to be virtualized) hardware, too. Read the notes about the computer-controlled lathe forced to stay on XP because it runs a custom proprietary card on an ISA bus (ISA dropped with Vista, and custom card can't be virtualized) yet MUST be accessible from a network AND the computer can't be replaced without replacing the entire six-figure machine (which was still shortly into its amortization).

  12. Downside

    Who's her lawyer, Saul Goodman?

    Can't fault apple redesigning Face Time to avoid stepping on someones tech.

    If the complainant wins, I hope she gets awarded an iPhone 5c rather than a gazillion bucks for her discomfort, upset and ruined life. What a waste of time and effort to even resort to litigation - someone needs their priorities realigning.

    IMHO, natch

  13. Disk0
    Meh

    I blame Skeuomorphic design...

    ...and Joni Ive’s obsession/insistance that all iPhones be subjected to it because he loves users so much he wants them to get crosseyed or get seizures from the animations and parallax effects.

    Of course older phones couldn’t cope with the imagined amount of eye-candy, and Timmy “The Beancounter” Cook was of course more than happy with the concept of forced update/upgrade cycles, so it was made so.

    Where normally Apple licenses all kinds of tech from all kinds of companies, and/or buys the company that supplies it, and/or cerates a new version of a piece of software that includes a workaround, this time around they decided to stick it out, because of sweet sweet upgrades. And don’t tell me an entire operating system has to be rewritten just to ping an app off a server - that's just PHB talk. A quiet payoff and an update to Facetime would have been enough.

    Bitten because I made the mistake of installing iOS 7 on my iPhone, turning what once was a nicely usable piece of kit became someone else’s toy for me to look at and wait for stuff to happen.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Irony

    The irony is I have an iPhone, and I am an idiot.

  15. BillPStudios

    May be why Microsoft disabled my Skype

    I ran into a similar problem with a 1st edition Microsoft Surface. It was something I purchased for development testing but soon became useless. Having a new granddaughter on the west coast I started using it as a dedicated Skype device. One day Skype was no longer supported and even the web version failed. I now use it as a dedicated photo frame. Ani is so cute. :)

    Interestingly, it wasn't long before someone gave me an iPhone 4(ios 9.3.5) which wasn't supported by their new carrier. I didn't need it for a phone but I've been able to use Facetime via my home wifi. It works great.

  16. RonWheeler

    I'm with Apple (and I hate iphones)

    Legal bods can't say it is illegal to use a patented method Apple someone to change it, then allow someone to sue them because they did exactly what the original case told them to stop doing.

    1. Orv Silver badge

      Re: I'm with Apple (and I hate iphones)

      That's not quite what happened here. Apple stopped using the infringing tech, and updated Facetime to work via an intermediary server. At the time it worked on iOS 6. Everyone was reasonably happy (except Apple, who had to pay for the server farm.)

      Later, Apple came up with a non-infringing version of the peer-to-peer tech that didn't require a server, and updated Facetime to use it. iOS 6 was now out of support, so it didn't get the update.

      Now Apple was in a situation where they were running a chat server ONLY for iOS 6 users. The courts didn't force them to shut that down; they decided to themselves, in order to save money. In hindsight they probably should have fessed up to this instead of trying to make excuses, but this is a frequent Apple problem. (Their update that slowed down devices with crap batteries to stop them from spontaneously rebooting was similarly well-meaning, but poorly communicated.)

      I'm not sure how I feel about this. I'm generally anti-planned-obsolescence, but I don't think it's realistic to expect a company to keep running a service in perpetuity just because they sold a device that used it. If this is upheld I expect future suits against IoT companies who end-of-life products, and game developers that shut down multiplayer servers for old games.

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