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Thursday, September 04, 2008, 03:05 pm PT (06:05 pm ET)

Third lawsuit joins into complaints about iPhone 3G speeds, bugs

Now seemingly popping out of the woodwork, a spate of lawsuits accusing Apple and AT&T of misleading over iPhone 3G's data speeds have been joined by a New Jersey class action filing that also questions app reliability.

The 32-page complaint by state resident Eulardi Tanseco was filed the same day as a San Diego-based suit with similar ambitions.

Like that plaintiff, Tanseco asserts that he and many other buyers were deceived into buying an iPhone 3G expecting the "twice as fast" Internet performance advertised by Apple and AT&T, only to find himself rarely connecting to the 3G network and often experiencing service drops. Many of these followed the same pseudo-random behavior that occurs no matter how strong AT&T's 3G coverage might be.

"Unfortunately, even when [he] was able to connect via the 3G protocol... even while remaining in the same physical location, [his] call or data transmission was dropped from the 3G protocol to the much slower EDGE protocol," the lawsuit explains.

Relying in part on "online blogs'" reports on the drops as proof, Tanseco and his legal team believe Apple and AT&T violated New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act, its Uniform Commercial Code and the terms of its contract by advertising service they at some point knew they couldn't maintain.

He also accuses Apple in particular of failing to disclose the existence of numerous "defective" third-party apps on the App Store, many of which refuse to load, and of a less frequent problem where music purchased from the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store on the iPhone itself would refuse to play until he first synced it back to the iPhone's host computer, deleted it from the phone, and then resynchronized to copy it back.

Tanseco also doesn't believe Apple statements that the recent iPhone 2.0.2 update would resolve 3G issues and other flaws, insisting that the new firmware has had no effect on his experience.

The plaintiff demands that Apple and AT&T pay both compensation and punitive damages in addition to halting its allegedly misleading marketing practices. Since as many as three million iPhone 3G devices have been sold since July, according to the claims, the suit necessitates a class action status to address problems by a group that would be far too large to satisfy one-by-one.

Apple in its historical form has declined to comment on the lawsuit and has so far only made unofficial pledges to fix both the connection and software bugs in a more permanent fashion with a September iPhone update.

It's clear that Tanseco and his lawyers are aware of the mounting pressure on Apple to resolve its problems, however: as part of the New Jersey filing, the party acknowledges the existence of the original Alabama lawsuit from Jessica Smith that first drew legal attention to the newer iPhone's performance problems.