Fifty-three million dollars is the price Apple will likely have to pay to settle a class action lawsuit over its US iPhone and iPod touch warranty practices. A leaked settlement document (PDF) was uncovered by Wired, which describes payouts to customers who were unable to obtain iPhone or iPod touch repairs from Apple under the standard one-year (or extended two-year) warranty due to alleged liquid damage. The settlement has not yet been approved, though—it's set to be filed with the San Francisco federal court "in the coming weeks."
The customers covered in the class are those who were denied warranty repairs or replacements on certain iOS devices because of Apple's liquid damage policy; if a white liquid contact indicator (LCI) tape near the headphone jack or dock connector had turned pink or red due to moisture, Apple would refuse service. But, as noted by Wired, the maker of the tape (3M) has stated that the indicator is meant to detect humidity, not necessarily water itself, meaning the tape could potentially turn pink without contact with the liquid form of H20.
Affected devices include the original iPhone through the iPhone 3GS, as well as the first three generations of iPod touch (any iPhone sold on or before December 31, 2009, or any iPod touch sold on or before June 30, 2010). The proposed $53 million settlement will be used to make payments of up to $200 to affected customers, though the settlement document indicates that users might receive more depending on the number of claims.