Image: iPhone 3.0 features on Apple Web site
Apple
Apple's Web site shows many of the features of its iPhone 3.0 software, made available in June. Among the features: multimedia messaging, with footnote noting it is coming in late summer.
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msnbc.com
updated 8/14/2009 5:02:47 PM ET 2009-08-14T21:02:47

The ability to send photos and audio files along with text messages was touted as one of the new features of the iPhone's new software, released in June, but Apple and AT&T have not delivered on that promise, allege two class-action lawsuits.

The suits, one filed in a U.S. District Court in Louisiana, the other in a federal district court in Illinois, contend that consumers were misled about the popular phone's new feature, known as multimedia messaging, which was billed as something that would be available later this summer to those who have the new iPhone 3GS, as well as the iPhone 3G, released in 2008. So far, MMS is not available.

"We have no comment on the lawsuits," said AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel. "We have said since the launch of iPhone 3GS that we plan to offer MMS on the iPhone by the end of the summer." AT&T is the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the United States.

An Apple spokeswoman said the company does not comment on pending litigation. But when the iPhone 3.0 operating system software became available two months ago, Apple noted that "MMS may not be available in all areas. MMS support from AT&T will be available in late summer."

In announcing the 3.0 software last spring, Apple also said that MMS will not work on first-generation iPhones, those released in 2007 because of the phone's hardware. Photos can be sent as e-mail attachments using the iPhone. But the ability to attach photos to text messages is something iPhone users have wanted.

It's the kind of program that many mobile users now think of as a given when they get a cell phone. Nearly 15 billion MMS messages were sent in 2008 in the United States compared to 6.1 billion in 2007, according to CTIA, the wireless trade industry association.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs could not be reached for comment. According to TG Daily, in the Louisiana suit, plaintiffs contend that Apple "advertised heavily that the ... iPhone, the 3G, as well as the even newer version the 3G-S would allow MMS. Apple's print and video advertisements in and on television, the Internet, the radio, newspapers and direct mailers all touted the availability of MMS."

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