Apple Faces Class-Action Lawsuit Over iPhone ‘Touch Disease’

It's been a tough week for Apple. On the heels of the European Commission's ruling that the company must pay a record-breaking $14.5 billion in back taxes to Ireland, the Cupertino tech giant is being sued by users claiming a design flaw dubbed "touch disease" renders their iPhones unusable.

"The iPhones are not fit for the purpose of use as smartphones because of the touch-screen defect," according to the complaint filed last week in U.S. District Court in San Jose, but reported Tuesday on multiple tech blogs.

The federal class-action lawsuit was filed by three Apple customers using the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The suit says Apple has known about the flaw, which creates a flickering gray bar on the home screen, but has refused to fix it. The plaintiffs linked the problem to Apple's decision not to use a metal "shield" or "underfill" to protect key components, as it did on versions of the iPhone 5.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

"Apple has seen these class-action suits come up every once in a while, and if there's a legitimate flaw, Apple will very quickly correct it," said Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies. "To be honest, the only winners in these things are the lawyers."

Bajarin said he's seen "these kinds of lawsuits dozens of times over the years. As one of the most profitable companies in the world, Apple is always going to be a target."

Investors also seemed blasé about the lawsuit. Apple shares dipped less than 1 percent during Tuesday's trading, and after-hours shares were up.

Regardless of the lawsuit's outcome, "touch disease" hits close to the heart of Apple's product design -- the touch screen. A problem with that part of the phone could render many of the device's capabilities inoperable because it enables owners...

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