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Apple facing second lawsuit over iPhone XR's 'inferior' 2x2 MIMO antennas

Apple's iPhone XR lineup

A new class action suit claims that Apple purposely misled buyers by using a 2x2 MIMO antenna array in the iPhone XR while knowing it was "inferior" and "defective" compared to the 4x4 MIMO setup in the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

Following the same argument as a previous class action lawsuit, and filed in the same court, a new suit attests that by failing to disclose the importance of key iPhone XR component details, Apple knowingly profited from selling "inferior" technology.

Filed with the US District Court for the Northern District of California, the new complaint, embedded below, says that Apple has "breached its express and implied warranties.

The suit is filed on behalf of 13 named individuals, and all other buyers similarly affected. Each of the 13 have reportedly experienced similar issues with their iPhone XR, such as those of one plaintiff, Robert Altman, whose problems are detailed.

"Plaintiff Altmann has been having reception issues since he purchased his phone," says the filing, "including frequent dropped calls, calls cutting in and out, and slow download speeds. Plaintiff Altmann is having worse reception and connectivity than he had with his prior phone, the iPhone X."

"Also, Plaintiff 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," it continues.

The case revolves around the 2x2 MIMO array in the phone. Where devices used to have a single antenna for receiving cellular data, a MIMO array lets a phone use two or more such antennae simultaneously. This lets the device can transfer more data at once, which means faster download speeds.

While the iPhone XS Max and iPhone XS Max Plus have 4x4 MIMO arrays, the iPhone XR has 2x2 one. "The 2x2 MIMO antenna array is inferior technology that causes connectivity problems such as slow download speeds and frequent dropped calls," says the lawsuit.

"Apple knew or should have know that it was selling an inferior product," it continues, "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 quotes user complaints and press reports about what it refers to as this defect. Testing in publications at the time the iPhone XR was released did show poorer connectivity speeds when compared to the iPhone XS Max and iPhone XS Max Plus.

Separately, connectivity problems were also generally reported, and Apple claimed that it would be addressing the issues.

Apple did promote the iPhone XR on an iPhone comparison page with just the information that it contained MIMO capabilities. However, the company's technical description page explicitly states that the iPhone XR uses 2x2 MIMO — and has since launch.

The suit seeks unspecified damages, plus legal fees, and "an order enjoining Apple from further deceptive and unfair business practices."