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Apple looking into iPhone 4 glass-breaking third-party cases - report

post #1 of 60
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In an effort to avoid another public relations debacle, Apple is investigating scratching and cracking of the iPhone 4's glass panel back caused by third-party cases, a new report claims.

Sources inside and outside of Apple told Ryan Block of gdgt that the iPhone engineering team is in "quiet lockdown" as it works to solve the issue of potentially damaging third-party cases. Slide-on cases in particular may cause damage by trapping particulate matter between the phone and the case, eventually scratching, cracking, or even fracturing the glass back of the iPhone 4, Block wrote in his report.

"The iPhone team has grown to be very concerned by this issue with slide-on cases, and has created a lab and large new test program specifically to investigate this further," Block said.

Apple is anxious to prevent any further damage to the iPhone brand, especially now that coverage of the iPhone 4 antenna problem has finally quieted down. After reports of the iPhone 4 losing bars and dropping calls when gripped were picked up by the media, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs held a press conference in July to announce that the company would give away free bumper cases for every iPhone 4 through Sept. 30. The free case program may have cost the iPhone maker as much as $175 million in revenue.

After the free case program ended, Apple resumed selling its bumper cases and a select few third-party cases. However, Block points to a lack of variety in third-party cases, including a complete absence of slide-on cases, offered at Apple Stores as evidence that Apple is blocking sales while it solves the scratching problem.

In the meantime, third-party case manufacturers with slide-on case designs are reportedly "dead in the water" as they wait to get their cases into the Apple Store.

Apple representatives declined to comment on the story when contacted by Block.

In June, Engadget reported that an early review unit of the iPhone 4 had collected "incredibly minor" scratches after a few days of heavy use.
post #2 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple is frantically investigating scratching and cracking of the iPhone 4's glass panel back caused by third-party cases, a new report claims.

"frantically"?!

Really... Says who? A "journalist"?...
post #3 of 60
I never liked the thought of carrying a two sided piece of glass in my pocket. With older models I place the glass on the inside, plastic on the outside. Is it just me?
post #4 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In an effort to avoid another public relations debacle, Apple is frantically investigating scratching and cracking of the iPhone 4's glass panel back caused by third-party cases, a new report claims.

*Groans*

According to a journalist.

Was it too much trouble to separate some of the bullshit? \

I'll wager it (I'll give the benefit of the doubt and assume some of this is really even happening) boiled down to some users getting some truly nasty scratches on the back of their phone, and then applying considerable pressure. You'd need to get a good scratch in to create enough of a weakness in the glass for a crack to find its way across, and the angling/distance would have to be appropriate too. And Apple tests any regular report in their lab. I doubt they do so frantically.
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post #5 of 60
I like my free bumper. Didn't have a problem with the antenna. I just gave it a shot and it works. Thanks Apple.
post #6 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by JackAubrey2006 View Post

I never liked the thought of carrying a two sided piece of glass in my pocket. With older models I place the glass on the inside, plastic on the outside. Is it just me?

Doesn't bother me at all.
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post #7 of 60
How is it even Apple's problem that third party cases might have something to do with cracked glass?

I also wanted to add that scratching issue? What scratching issue? I mean I was one of those idiots that had to have a stupid sticker on their phone for ages. It just looks ugly and impedes the touch screen. without it I'm much happier and low and behold the glass doesn't scratch. hmmmm.
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post #8 of 60
This had to be expected when they made the thing encased in glass. It's obviously going to result in significantly more of them breaking. What were they thinking?
post #9 of 60
I guess it is time to make a big deal of non existing issue now since the antenna thing didn't slow down sales of iPhone 4 and was shown to be overblown by the media.
post #10 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by JackAubrey2006 View Post

I never liked the thought of carrying a two sided piece of glass in my pocket. With older models I place the glass on the inside, plastic on the outside. Is it just me?

Yep , I do that too.
post #11 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

I guess it is time to make a big deal of non existing issue now since the antenna thing didn't slow down sales of iPhone 4 and was shown to be overblown by the media.

Non existing? iPhone 4s are not made of glass? When did they change them?
post #12 of 60
This is all utter nonsense. Please look at the the first frame on this site http://www.apple.com/iphone/design/. This was suppose to be a very strong engineered glass. If I recall they even showed a video segment during the announcement that demonstrated the strength.
post #13 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsenka View Post

Non existing? iPhone 4s are not made of glass? When did they change them?

Where did I say the iPhone 4s back and front not made of glass?

Glass can get scratch and breaks and so does plastic. I have two friends who have iPhone 3G and 3GS with broken and cracked back.
post #14 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by radster360 View Post

This is all utter nonsense. Please look at the the first frame on this site http://www.apple.com/iphone/design/. This was suppose to be a very strong engineered glass. If I recall they even showed a video segment during the announcement that demonstrated the strength.

No kidding. The video had it doing some crazy bending without breaking. When I read this the first thing that came to mind was that part of the initial video.
post #15 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by iancass79 View Post

No kidding. The video had it doing some crazy bending without breaking. When I read this the first thing that came to mind was that part of the initial video.

You mean this:

post #16 of 60
I use my iPhone 4 without a case and the front glass is pristine, but the back glass is littered with hairline scratches. It doesn't bother me though, because it's a f**king phone and phones are meant to take some abuse.
post #17 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by iancass79 View Post

No kidding. The video had it doing some crazy bending without breaking. When I read this the first thing that came to mind was that part of the initial video.

You know, materials are funny things, particularly glass. It might do that bendy thing great, but then be sensitive to some other force moment. And since Apple is using glass in unusual ways (both on the phones and in their stores) unexpected results are to be expected.
post #18 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

...

Sources inside and outside of Apple told Ryan Block of gdgt that the iPhone engineering team is in "quiet lockdown" as it works to solve the issue of potentially damaging third-party cases. Slide-on cases in particular may cause damage by trapping particulate matter between the phone and the case, eventually scratching, cracking, or even fracturing the glass back of the iPhone 4, Block wrote in his report.

Apple is anxious to prevent any further damage to the iPhone brand, especially now that coverage of the iPhone 4 antenna problem has finally quieted down.
In the meantime, third-party case manufacturers with slide-on case designs are reportedly "dead in the water" as they wait to get their cases into the Apple Store.

See this is the kind of speculative BS that doesn't below in an article. The writer has no clue what Apple is or is not anxious about - this is either attribution or transference. Further damage? With one of the hottest selling products out there? Wow. Josh - seriously if you have a source inside Apple that has stated this - fine - even use the whole "an anonymous source inside Apple" attribution. Or conversely show statistically where the "antenna issue" actually resulted in fewer sales of iPhones. I think several articles here in AI have discussed Apple's inability to, until recently, keep up with demand for the iPhone 4.

Don't hate me because I expect more from you. Just deliver. And make me proud.
post #19 of 60
My third party case broke the back of my iphone. They gave me a free replacement.
post #20 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by radster360 View Post

This is all utter nonsense. Please look at the the first frame on this site http://www.apple.com/iphone/design/. This was suppose to be a very strong engineered glass. If I recall they even showed a video segment during the announcement that demonstrated the strength.

If I recall, the tempered optical glass they use, which has further been treated - Owens Corning style with the Gorilla glass treatment - is still only 6.8 on the Mohs scale - just under quartz in hardness. So anything 6.9 or above is going to scratch it. Most keys are made out of brass - so no your keys are not going to scratch it, as I demonstrate to my friends from time to time. a hardened steel anything will, depending on the hardness. An emery board will. if you don't clear out the lint and debris in your pockets, you pockets can trap particles of all kinds of minerals just walking around - which can include sand, which is general quartz or a similar mineral - which will scratch it. Gravel in your pocket will as will diamonds, sapphires and rubies, topaz, but NOT pearls or opals. SO for example some keyrings use stainless hardened split rings which you pry open and wind your keys on - this may scratch your glass surface. Next time you toss your pants in the washer - turn your pockets out, but don't, DON'T send your iPhone thru the washer - it could get scratched.

What DO they teach in the schools these days?? How about remedial Materials 101 for everyone?
post #21 of 60
I think the phone gets pinched and cracks because it can't flex i.e. it's in the case. When a case closes it pinches the phone and causes a crack? I'm a huge iphone fan and shareholder and this happened to me. Apple store service was great .
post #22 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by SCProfessor View Post

Given the lack of any substance or actual substance in antennaegate and now the back glass, how will the iPhone 5 (or next version) be different from the iPhone 4? Will design changes in these areas, if made, indirectly admit to a problem or simply a different direction in technology? Do you think Apple will change either in the next version?

BTW, I'm an iPad lover and a Samsung Captivate lover... the big screens are necessary for old eyes.

I think all Apple need to do is rearrange the location of the seams that separate the antennas away from where the phone is usually held. This way people will not be bridging the two antennas and freak out when they see a bar drop in reception. Another option is to shield the antenna/frame with a thin layer of durable material (not coating).
post #23 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanLand View Post

My third party case broke the back of my iphone. They gave me a free replacement.

Be prepared to be ignored or called a liar. Or blamed for using it wrong.
post #24 of 60
too glass is too much of a good thing


I think some people saw this coming: http://www.ankleskater.com/pagemaker...20100811071100
post #25 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple is anxious to prevent any further damage to the iPhone brand, especially now that coverage of the iPhone 4 antenna problem has finally quieted down.

What antenna problem?
Did I miss something?
post #26 of 60
This is why I replaced the back glass panel on my iPhone 4 with brushed aluminum, not only does it look sexy by my back is safe forever.
post #27 of 60
The problem they really should be doing something about is with their bumpers destroying the finish on the iPhone 4's bezel. The antenna problems combined with what the bumper has done to it make for a phone that is going to have a significantly reduced resale value come next year when I'm looking to upgrade. Given all the issues with the iPhone 4, I think it would go a long way if Apple were to give loyal customers a break on the next model, perhaps even doing a free exchange up when renewing your contract. Otherwise the iPhone 4 will always be remembered as the worst value.
post #28 of 60
Apple is moving on this early. Make an example out of these leech journalists and bury this Ryan block good n proper. Bankrupt him, stop him leaving the country, or better yet jail the mongrel.
post #29 of 60
The sliders made by "incase" do just that. They trap particulate matter between the phone and the case and when you remove it you scratch up the back of the phone.......
post #30 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsenka View Post

This had to be expected when they made the thing encased in glass. It's obviously going to result in significantly more of them breaking. What were they thinking?

Well, they were probably thinking that the incidence of breakage would still be fairly low, and guess what? It is.

Thompson
post #31 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

I... Slide-on cases in particular may cause damage by trapping particulate matter between the phone and the case, eventually scratching, cracking, or even fracturing the glass back of the iPhone 4...

I like how all the stories use this "particulate matter" line when we all know we are talking about sand. Quartz and silica (sand) are almost the only "particulate matter" that is hard enough to scratch the glass. IMO anyone who uses a slide-on case and doesn't check for dirt or sand before they slide it on is just a fool. How is this Apple's fault?

All the articles I've read so far also mistakenly go on about how this "particulate matter" will sometimes shatter the glass (as above), when in fact the glass only shatters after an impact of some kind.

The issue is that glass (being, you know glass), has a tendency to shatter along fault lines. Even gorilla glass (which this is pretty much the same as) will shatter if it has a flaw and then subsequently receives an impact. If you scratch the glass and then drop the phone, it's very likely to shatter. This is just how glass, (even really strong glass) is.

So if you are careless, and get sand in between the case and the phone, which causes scratches, and then you are further careless enough to drop the phone, yes, it will shatter. This is not because of any flaw in the phone, but because the owner was a careless git that didn't pay attention or take reasonable care of the multi-hundred dollar phone in their pocket.

I think this is just darwinism at work. Stupid careless people will have a problem and might eventually stop buying iPhone's. Others will not.
post #32 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterz1337 View Post

This is why I replaced the back glass panel on my iPhone 4 with brushed aluminum, not only does it look sexy by my back is safe forever.

You truly are the Masterz. Was getting the size difficult or is someone stamping them out?
post #33 of 60
I carry mine around in a silk purse lined with kitten fur. Actually I put mine in my pocket. No bumper. Not a scratch. You'd have to be pretty abusive to damage one of these phones.

Unless of course it lands on marble, which mine did. Shattered the back panel. £25 supplied and fItted at the Apple store for any of you folks in the UK.
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post #34 of 60
You guys use the most biased terms to garnish your articles at times. Was there any real need to infer a sense of panic with apple's handling of the situation?
post #35 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by JackAubrey2006 View Post

I never liked the thought of carrying a two sided piece of glass in my pocket. With older models I place the glass on the inside, plastic on the outside. Is it just me?

I have never even given it a thought. I don't use any cases as I love the look and feel of an iPhone as designed by the best design team in the World. I don't see why I'd want to cover it with some junk designed by a bag company. It would be like having my Mercedes always wrapped in a bin liner so as to keep dust of it! I'd rather see it! BTW my car also has glass in many places too!
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post #36 of 60
another anti-apple bs blog posting which gets picked up by all the blog reposting "news" sites and posted as fact. Amazing how everyday the anti-apple sites come up with some new bs stuff. It is almost like they are being fed stories by Microsoft or Google or Adobe or something.
post #37 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

You guys use the most biased terms to garnish your articles at times. Was there any real need to infer a sense of panic with apple's handling of the situation?

This just in. Famous Blog contributor hmm;1729133 over reacts to attention grabbing headline and accuses journalist of hate mongering and intent to cause a riot.
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post #38 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I like how all the stories use this "particulate matter" line when we all know we are talking about sand. Quartz and silica (sand) are almost the only "particulate matter" that is hard enough to scratch the glass. IMO anyone who uses a slide-on case and doesn't check for dirt or sand before they slide it on is just a fool. How is this Apple's fault?

All the articles I've read so far also mistakenly go on about how this "particulate matter" will sometimes shatter the glass (as above), when in fact the glass only shatters after an impact of some kind.

The issue is that glass (being, you know glass), has a tendency to shatter along fault lines. Even gorilla glass (which this is pretty much the same as) will shatter if it has a flaw and then subsequently receives an impact. If you scratch the glass and then drop the phone, it's very likely to shatter. This is just how glass, (even really strong glass) is.

So if you are careless, and get sand in between the case and the phone, which causes scratches, and then you are further careless enough to drop the phone, yes, it will shatter. This is not because of any flaw in the phone, but because the owner was a careless git that didn't pay attention or take reasonable care of the multi-hundred dollar phone in their pocket.

I think this is just darwinism at work. Stupid careless people will have a problem and might eventually stop buying iPhone's. Others will not.

Ha ha good post. As I said just above, I think an iPhone is better without a case!
What we need is clear liquid metal.
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post #39 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by spliff monkey View Post

How is it even Apple's problem that third party cases might have something to do with cracked glass?

I

If the glass cracks due to normal use, it is Apple's problem to solve.

Can you imagine the damage that would be done to the brand with a meme that "without a case, it drops calls, but with a case, the glass cracks"?

Look - the new design has problems. First the detuning problem with the innovative touch-exposed antenna, and now the innovative glass exterior is cracking in normal use.

Methinks that Apple needs new test regimens.
post #40 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by JackAubrey2006 View Post

I never liked the thought of carrying a two sided piece of glass in my pocket. With older models I place the glass on the inside, plastic on the outside. Is it just me?

You're not the only one.
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