Apple faces another lawsuit over iPhone XR’s ‘inferior’ Wi-Fi antennas


The iPhone XR will feature Haptic Touch. But just what is that?
Some iPhone XR owners really aren't happy with their purchase.
Photo: Apple

Apple on Monday was hit with a second class-action lawsuit over iPhone XR’s “inferior” Wi-Fi antennas.

The company is accused of hiding the fact that its more affordable handset, released in 2018, shipped with a 2×2 MIMO antenna array, while the pricier iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max packed a 4×4 MIMO array.

This isn’t the first time unhappy iPhone XR owners have lodged a complaint about this particular issue. A similar suit was filed in the same court, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, just one month ago.

The latest, filed on behalf of 13 plaintiffs and all other iPhone XR owners who are affected, accuses Apple of using “inferior” and “defective” technology that has allegedly caused countless users to suffer connectivity issues.

Apple slapped with second suit over iPhone XR’s antennas

One plaintiff, Robert Altmann, claims to have “been having reception issues since he purchased his phone,” reads the filing, spotted by AppleInsider.

Those issues are said to include “frequent dropped calls, calls cutting in and out, and slow download speeds.” The filing goes on to say that “Altmann’s family members, who cohabitate with him and do not use or own the iPhone XR, report that they do not have connectivity issues with their phones.”

The lawsuit takes aim at iPhone XR’s 2×2 MIMO antenna array, which uses two antennas to establish two streams of data. It’s a big upgrade over traditional, single-antenna setups, offering up to double the throughput … but it’s not as advanced as the 4×4 MIMO antenna array found in iPhone XS and XS Max.

“The 2×2 MIMO antenna array is inferior technology that causes connectivity problems such as slow download speeds and frequent dropped calls,” the lawsuit reads. Plaintiffs say Apple knew this and shipped it anyway — without telling customers that there was any difference.

An ‘inferior product’

“Apple knew or should have know that it was selling an inferior product, yet Apple failed to disclose the iPhone XR’s defect to consumers who reasonably expected the latest Apple product to have the most advanced technology.”

The suit is backed up by user complaints and reports that supposedly prove iPhone XR offers slower connectivity than its siblings. Connectivity issues did surface soon after the handset’s release, with tests showing that iPhone XR was only around half as fast as iPhone XS.

“Our results show that the XS/Max performs significantly better than the XR even when the cellular base station is only running at 2×2 MIMO, demonstrating that the XS/Max is a better choice in all circumstances,” reported PC Magazine in November 2018.

‘Deceptive’ business practices

Whether Apple really failed to disclose this is another matter. Although the antenna differences weren’t highlighted on many iPhone XR or iPhone XS pages on Apple’s website at the time, Apple does make it clear in iPhone XR’s technical description that it includes a 2×2 MIMO antenna.

The class-action suit calls for unspecified damages, plus legal fees. It also demands that an order is placed against Apple, preventing it from using “further deceptive and unfair business practices.”


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