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Brouhaha over water-sniffing warranty tech 'settled for $53m'

iPhone in the Lake

Apple has reportedly agreed to shake $53m (£35m) in change out of its pockets to settle a lawsuit accusing it of wriggling out of gadget warranties using a water-detecting tool.

Fanbois who brought their busted iPhones and iPods into Apple Stores for repair watched employees check the status of a Liquid Contact Indicator - which is hidden on the device and reveals whether or not the electronics were exposed to water.

The secret strip of tape, tucked in the iThing's headphone jack and charging port, reacts to moisture and the status of the luckless user's warranty depended on its colour: if the strip was still white, the fruity firm would fix up the iDevice, but if it was turned pink by water getting into the thing, the warranty was void - and the punter would have to pay.

It was feared moisture in the air, or similar innocuous contamination, could turn the colour of the tape, causing the owner to be unfairly denied a repair under warranty. The tape's maker reportedly said humidity could trigger the change.

Irate fanbois thus brought a class-action suit in the US, which Cupertino has now reportedly agreed to settle to the tune of $53m; that's not a bad haul, but hardly an amount to dent the company's moneybags too severely. Apple has admitted no wrongdoing.

Part of that sum will go towards paying the no doubt eye-watering legal cost of taking on a corporate giant. The rest will be stuck in a pot for refunding users, who paid, on average, $200 per repair. A settlement offer, seen by WiReD, is awaiting approval by the presiding judge. ®

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