Brazil lawsuit claims iPad 3 made intentionally obsolete

APTOPIX Apple iPad

Did Apple withhold features from the third-generation iPad, then make the tablet obsolete just six months afterwards by unveiling the iPad 4 – with the missing items? That’s the accusation being made against Apple in a class-action lawsuit filed Thursday in Brazil. At the heart of the lawsuit brought by the Brazilian Institute of Politics and Law Software (IBDI) is the charge Apple released the “new iPad” in May 2012, then in October introduced the iPad 4 alongside the iPad mini. By updating the processor and other features Apple has produced planned obsolescence…

The lawsuit, first reported by Brazil’s Jornal do Comércio (thanks, Mark R.), alleges Apple conducted unfair business practices, as well as “planned obsolescence” by introducing the iPad 4 features so soon after the third-gen iPad. Among the features introduced in the iPad 4: a peppier A6X processor, speedier Wi-Fi, broader 4G LTE support, Apple’s new Lightning connectors and an HD FaceTime camera.

“Consumers thought they were buying high-end equipment, not knowing it was already an obsolete version,” the reports quote IBDI attorney Segio Palomares. At the time of the iPad 4’s release, there was much talk of its incremental nature, enough that some Apple Stores allowed iPad 3 customers to exchange their devices for the update, according to AppleInsider.

While talk of planned obsolescence is what’s grabbing headlines, the charge likely making Apple more nervous is allegations of unfair business practices. If the Brazilian court finds Apple guilty, the company could be on the hook for replacing all iPad 3s purchased by Brazilian consumers.

This makes the second product which has drawn Apple into Brazil’s legal system. The smartphone maker is already appealing a decision by a court in Brazil, stripping the iPhone name from Apple.

Although Apple bought the iPhone name from Cisco in 2007, a Brazilian firm now is claiming the “iPhone” label for its Android-based handset sold in the country. According to reports, the firm IGB in 2008 received the trademark in Brazil for its G-Gradiente iPhone, which has been selling in Brazil since 2000.

Although it’s unclear how Apple’s appeal will be answered, the company may extricate itself via a hefty licensing payment to use the iPhone trademark in the South American nation.