Memo to iPhone users: You still have to be careful about using your iPhone around bodies of water. They’re not completely impervious to liquids, after all.
But it’s easy for people to accidentally drop their iPhone, such as while listening to music or talking on the phone while brushing their teeth in the bathroom, standing over the sink.
Or a person is out and about and slips, dropping the iPhone into a puddle of water on the sidewalk. If the iPhone could survive such brief dips in the water, it would be more valuable to customers, to be sure. And Apple has been marketing its iPhone with the promise of water resistance.
Just because a popular electronics device is labeled as being “water resistant,” it doesn’t necessarily mean it will work properly in real-world conditions. That sobering truth came to light because of a recent brush with antitrust authorities, with Apple defending its product claims against Italian regulators.
Apple was in front of L’Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato or AGCM (the name translates to “the guarantee authority for competition and the market,” according to 9to5Mac.)
The AGCM is in charge of protecting consumers against companies treating them unfairly. Two complaints were leveled against Apple.
First, the AGCM declared that when Apple made claims about the iPhone’s ability to resist water, it failed to explain that the results of their tests came out of unrealistic laboratory conditions and wouldn’t apply in the real world. Lab water was still and pure and therefore determined to be far less damaging to iPhones than an ocean, for example, or a gutter overflowing in a rainstorm.
Second, the AGCM noted that even though Apple advertised its claims for water resistant iPhones, it would not honor warranty protection to consumers when their iPhones actually became damaged.
How Does Apple Analyze iPhones Suspected of Being Water-Damaged?
Apple started building special indicators into each iPhone that change appearance when water has made its way into the iPhone. So, it’s now easy for technicians to detect this when you bring your phone into an Apple Store for a consultation at the Genius Bar.
Since Apple has a policy about not offering warranty repairs or replacement service when its technicians notice the water indicator has been triggered, the AGCM concluded that the company was telling customers one thing when they bought the iPhone, and then gave them contradictory information when it came time to get the iPhone repaired for water damage.
9to5Mac pointed out that the AGCM ruling referred to three advertisements made by Apple mentioning the claims of water resistance. Apple periodically deletes older ads from its channel on YouTube.
But Apple had archived old commercials on its own site, which let the AGCM find copies and use them to support the claims it brought against the technology giant for these misleading references to supposed water resistance.