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Two lawsuits take aim at Apple, AT&T over iPhone MMS

Two new class-action lawsuits were filed this week over the lack of multimedia messaging capabilities on the iPhone, and the apparent inability of Apple and AT&T to provide the service to U.S. customers.

One complaint was filed in a U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Illinois on behalf of Tim Meeker and other unnamed complainants, while the other, in the Eastern District of Louisiana, is on behalf of Christopher Carbine, Ryan Casey, Lisa Mauer, and others unnamed. Both lawsuits include identical language to describe the lack of MMS on the iPhone.

"Apple advertised heavily that the new version of iPhone, the 3G, as well as the even newer version, the 3GS, would allow MMS," the suits read. "Apple's print and video advertisements in and on television, the Internet, radio, newspapers, and direct mailers all touted the availability of MMS."

The attorneys in the New Orleans complaint are the Penton Law Firm, while representing the Illinois case is Rosenblum, Schwartz, Rogers, Glass, P.C. Both suits allege that the impact of the "controversy" is in excess of $5 million.

The complainants allege that they were mislead about MMS when they purchased their iPhones. The suits claim that both AT&T and Apple store representatives "misrepresented and/or concealed, suppressed, or omitted material facts as to the iPhone having MMS functionality."

All of the individuals claim that they downloaded the 3.0 software upgrade for the iPhone expecting MMS functionality to be included with the update. When Apple unveiled iPhone OS 3.0 at this June's WWDC conference, it noted that MMS capability was coming to AT&T later in the summer.

The Louisiana suit alleges that at least 10,000 individuals are to be included in their class-action suit, while the Illinois complaint states ten times that, suggesting the class will be composed of at least 100,000 people.

"Each plaintiff will be claiming damages for the 3G or 3GS iPhone he or she purchased," the suit states. "A 3G iPhone was selling for anywhere between $100 and $500."

The suit aims to find out if AT&T and Apple willingly concealed information from its customers so they did not know MMS capabilities weren't coming with iPhone OS 3.0. The suit alleges that the companies practiced in "deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation and unfair practices."

Though this summer's iPhone software update brought MMS capability to the iPhone, it is not yet offered to U.S. customers. Since stating that the feature would become available late this summer, neither company has provided any further information.