Judge tosses iPad overheating lawsuit

'Allegations are insufficient,' says federal judge; plaintiffs have 30 days to file amended complaint

A federal judge has tossed a class-action lawsuit that claimed Apple's iPad overheats when used outdoors in warm weather or in direct sunlight, according to court documents.

In an order dated last Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel dismissed a lawsuit submitted in July 2010 that accused Apple of fraud, deceptive advertising and violating California's consumer protection and unfair business practices laws by making, marketing and selling defective tablets.

The three plaintiffs -- Jacob Balthazar, Claudia Keller and John Browning -- said last year that they were duped into buying a defective device by Apple's marketing claims that "reading on iPad is just like reading a book."

Balthazar, Keller and Browning alleged that, unlike a book, the iPad unexpectedly shuts down in warm weather or when it's in direct sunlight.

But on Thursday, Fogel said that the trio's original charges were inadequate.

"The Court concludes that these allegations are insufficient," Fogel wrote in his order. "At the least, Plaintiffs must identify the particular commercial or advertisement upon which they relied and must describe with the requisite specificity the content of that particular commercial or advertisement."

Fogel gave Balthazar, Keller and Browning 30 days to file an amended complaint that must add the specifics he cited.

Reports of iPads overheating preceded their threesome's lawsuit. Within hours of its April 3, 2010, launch, for example, users complained that the iPad shut down after being in direct sunlight.

"After about 10 minutes in the sun, my iPad overheated!," said Elliot Kroo in an April 3 message on Twitter. Kroo also posted a screenshot of the ensuing warning that read, "iPad needs to cool down before you can use it."

Apple sold 14.8 million iPads in 2010, and is expected to launch the next-generation tablet in April.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

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