Apple Class Action Challenges iPhone X, XS, XS Max Pixel Resolution & Size

Apple is accused of cutting corners when it comes to both the size and pixel resolution representations of its iPhone X, XS, and XS Max smartphones.

Plaintiffs Christian Sponchiado and Courtney Davis filed this consumer class action lawsuit Friday in California federal court, challenging two types of claims Apple makes regarding its screens: first, that the screens have specific high resolutions, meaning they have a high pixel count; and secondly, that the phones’ surface area is large. However, the Apple iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max do not have the advertised screen resolution because the advertised number of screen pixels (2436 x 1125 in the iPhone X and XS and 2688 x 1242 on the iPhone XS Max). Furthermore, the phones do not have the advertised screen size as measured in inches.

“The pixel deception is rooted in the misrepresentation of the Products’ screens, which do not use true screen pixels,” the Apple class action lawsuit states. “Defendant’s nominal screen pixel resolution counts misleadingly count false pixels as if they were true pixels. This is in contrast to every other iPhone — phones whose screens Defendant directly compares to the iPhone X screen in its effort to mislead consumers into believing that the iPhone X has more pixels (and better screen resolution) than it really does.”

For example, Apple represents its iPhone X screen supposed pixel count as 2436 pixels in height by 1125 pixels in width, but these numbers are purportedly inaccurate because of the use of fake pixels and the corner and top areas of the phone that are not screen. Essentially, Apple fails to include the notch and rounded corners in its phones. In regard to the false pixels, the Apple class action lawsuit alleges that the company hides the missing pixels by using a color image of a planet in its advertising so that the black space left by missing pixels will blend in with the black background of the image.

Smartphones are devices that rely on their digital display to communicate information to the user. Tiny units on the display screen (pixels) individually display a full range of colors, brightness, and shades, and these pixels combine to make up an image. Screen display size and image quality are determined by the number of pixels available in the display. For any screen size, an increased density of pixels, with more pixels in the same amount of space, results in a higher quality image.

Screen resolution is an important factor to many consumers when evaluating smartphones. But, according to the complaint, Apple’s capitalizes on this and purposely inflates their screens’ supposed pixel counts, resolutions, and sizes in order to make their smartphones seem more appealing. Plaintiff Sponchiado says he was one of millions of consumers who was duped by Apple’s false advertising when he purchased the 256 GB iPhone X at an AT&T store in San Francisco for $1,149.00. He believed that the Apple iPhone would provide the advertised screen quality, that it would have the advertised pixel resolution, and that it would be the advertised size. Davis’ claims echo Sponchiado’s in that she based her purchase of an iPhone XS because she desired a larger, better screen but did not receive what she promised.

The proposed Apple class action lawsuit is seeking to represent a nationwide Class of retail consumers who “purchased or financed the Product in the United States, including all 50 states and the District of Columbia, during the applicable statute of limitations period and/or such subclasses as the Court may deem appropriate, until the date of notice is disseminated,” as well as a California subclass and a New York subclass.

Sponchiado and Davis are represented by CK Lee of Lee Litigation Group, PLLC and David Makman of Law Offices of David A. Makman.

Law Offices of David A. Makman.

The Apple iPhone Pixel Resolution Class Action Lawsuit is Sponchiado et al. v. Apple Inc., Case No. 5:18-cv-07533 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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