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Apple's iPhone 4 more susceptible to damage than predecessor

post #1 of 78
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In the first four months since it hit the market, Apple's redesigned iPhone has seen a reported accident rate that's 68% higher than its predecessor, primarily the result of broken screens, according to a leading third-party warranty provider.

A report released this week by SquareTrade examined the accident claim rate reported by its customers in an effort to supply some concrete data to the discussion of whether Apple's latest handset design is more or less robust than the one it replaces.

After reviewing the accident claim rate for over 20,000 iPhone 4 warranty owners and comparing it to the iPhone 3GS claim rate from which a similar-sized data pool exists, the firm's data showed that iPhone 4 owners are reporting accidents 68% more frequently than iPhone 3GS owners.

More specifically, 4.7% of iPhone 4 owners reported an accident in the first 4 months of ownership, almost 70% higher than iPhone 3GS owners, 2.8% of whom had an accident over the same time period.

Of these iPhone 4 accidents, cracked and broken screens account for the vast majority of iPhone accidents, or more than four-fifths of reported iPhone 4 accidents, which is slightly higher than that reported for the iPhone 3GS, according to SquareTrade.

"Multiplying the accident rate with the cracked screen distribution, we find that 3.9% of iPhone 4 owners reported a cracked screen within 4 months, as opposed to just 2.1% of iPhone 3GS owners," the firm said in its report. "While our data doesn't identify which broken screens resulted from dirt trapped behind a slide case, at least a quarter of the broken glass claims involved the back screen."



With an estimated 82% more cracked screens being reported by iPhone 4 owners, SquareTrade claims it's clear that the latest iPhone is more prone to damage than its predecessor. It created a straight-line projection to estimate the accident rate after the iPhone 4 has been on the market for a full year, which shows that rate climbing to 15.5% by month 12, twice that of the iPhone 3GS:



The firm also looked at non-accident related malfunctions, to determine if the iPhone 4 was experiencing hardware problems beyond the glass screen. Fewer than 0.5% of iPhone 4 owners reported a non-accident claim, which was roughly the same as the iPhone 3GS.

With just 4 months of data, SquareTrade concluded that the iPhone 4 "is significantly more prone to physical damage than its predecessor," but noted that part of that may be due to the fact that there's now twice the amount of glass surface area to break, now that the back of the iPhone 4 is also aluminosilicate glass.



"Despite this troubling increase, it's important to take the accident rate into perspective. Overall, the iPhone is still a very well constructed device, with a non-accident malfunction rate much lower than most other consumer electronics," the firm said. "In [our] previous study comparing smart phone reliability from November 2008, we found iPhones to be far more reliable than Blackberrys and Palm Treos."

SquareTrade says it plans to update its findings with data from the latest array of Android handsets in the near future, adding that it believes it's possible that even with the double glass, the iPhone may sport an overall failure rate that is still better than the competition.
post #2 of 78
My wife's iPhone glass cracked after a couple of weeks - but it's a tiny crack in the upper right above the screen.
btw, where's the WHITE iPhone?
kinda brushed that whole thing under the table...
post #3 of 78
note to self: do not drop phone on cement.
post #4 of 78
You can add me to that list of broken glass panels. My fault though so no gripes.

Whilst i love my iP4 and think it's the best product Apple have designed, do you think Apple will stick with the principle of glass and current antenna design for the next gen iP5?

Given the negative, albeit very small, press with regards to antennagate and now glass panel breakages.

I noticed in my daily rag that the iP4 lost to the HTC Desire for phone of the year in the 2010 T3 Gadget Awards in London. Even though apple cleaned up with the iPad, MacBook Pro and best retailer.

To me the iP4 should have walked it, although it did get best commuter phone, but one just wonders\
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post #5 of 78
I had a 3G and a 3GS, neither had a crack and both I dropped plenty times on tiles, cement, rocks etc.

I had the 4 for less than a week, it's cracked, one drop. It glanced my shoe and skirted over the tiles. The crack went from the home button to the antenna gap. It's a weak point.

From a design perspective I've noticed subtle issues with the 4. Worst one is the screen is too close to the edge and it's now hard to hold and type with one hand as your palm touches and creates mis-reads.

It looks better but it isn't .
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post #6 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Underhill View Post

You can add me to that list of broken glass panels. My fault though so no gripes.

Whilst i love my iP4 and think it's the best product Apple have designed, do you think Apple will stick with the principle of glass and current antenna design for the next gen iP5?

Given the negative, albeit very small, press with regards to antennagate and now glass panel breakages.

I noticed in my daily rag that the iP4 lost to the HTC Desire for phone of the year in the 2010 T3 Gadget Awards in London. Even though apple cleaned up with the iPad, MacBook Pro and best retailer.

To me the iP4 should have walked it, although it did get best commuter phone, but one just wonders\

Ditto. Dropped mine and broke it. Took it to the local repair here in Finland and they replaced it under warranty.
post #7 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by katastroff View Post

note to self: do not drop phone on cement.

Or if you absolutely must - just don't drop it like that!
post #8 of 78
I'm not a big fan of the the way the 4G looks anyway. The form of the 3GS is more appealing than the 4G. Ever seen a 4G placed in a case? it looks like a brick!
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post #9 of 78
Is this taking into account just the from glass or the back glass as well?

Previous iPhones just had front glass so there was some less chance of breaking glass with the older models.

I cracked my back glass right at the month mark. Thankfully, Apple replaced the phone, no questions asked. Maybe they did not have too but if they ever had a list showing all the Apple stuff I have bought over the years, it warranted a free replacement.
post #10 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post

Ditto. Dropped mine and broke it. Took it to the local repair here in Finland and they replaced it under warranty.

They replaced a dropped phone under warranty? Hmmm... maybe I should get an extend warranty. Much as I hate protective rubber I might have to start forcing my little friend to wear one.
post #11 of 78
My experience has been the opposite. My iPhone 3G developed cracks in the rear casing and I BABIED that iPhone. I'm pretty sure my iPhone 4 isn't going to start cracking unless I drop it.

Also, it's a lot easier and cheaper now to change the "back screen" (I didn't even know until now that my iPhone had a back screen, but whatever).

I did notice that the iPhone 4 likes to slip off of various things really easy (without a case). I'll put my iPhone 4 on the arm of the couch and before I know it, it will fall onto my lap or between the cushion.

I've been very happy with the strength of my iPhone and if the back glass ever breaks, I'll just take it to Apple, give them $30 and get a new back replacement. Pretty good deal since you couldn't do that with any other iPhone.

How many people have broken the front of their iPhone 4? A lot of the reports I'm hearing are about the back (because it's not made out of the same glass as the front.)
post #12 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post

Ditto. Dropped mine and broke it. Took it to the local repair here in Finland and they replaced it under warranty.

That's interesting. Apple charged me £25 for a new panel which i thought was pretty good. But free is better. The other option available to me was a replacement phone for £139, although not a new one, rather a refurbished model.
A reputation is not built upon the restful domain of one's comfort zone; it is made out of stalwart exposition of your core beliefs, for all challenges to disprove them as irrelevant hubris.- Berp...
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post #13 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

I'm not a big fan of the the way the 4G looks anyway. The form of the 3GS is more appealing than the 4G. Ever seen a 4G placed in a case? it looks like a brick!


This is why opinions rock. Everyone is entitled to one.

I disagree however. The older one was rather generic but given the state of most mobile phone designs, it still rocked in comparison.
post #14 of 78
"don't drop it like that"

My thought exactly.
post #15 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

I'm not a big fan of the the way the 4G looks anyway. The form of the 3GS is more appealing than the 4G. Ever seen a 4G placed in a case? it looks like a brick!

Ever seen a working iPhone 4 that is not in a case?
post #16 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

Much as I hate protective rubber I might have to start forcing my little friend to wear one.

Hey man, if you aren't ready to have kids, then I suggest you should wear 'em.
post #17 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by thespaz View Post

Hey man, if you aren't ready to have kids, then I suggest you should wear 'em.



I know.
post #18 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by thespaz View Post


How many people have broken the front of their iPhone 4? A lot of the reports I'm hearing are about the back (because it's not made out of the same glass as the front.)

Not sure but Apple told me if it had been the front panel it would have been an entirely different story, costwise.
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post #19 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by katastroff View Post

note to self: do not drop phone on cement.

You're not dropping it right.
post #20 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by cy_starkman View Post

I had a 3G and a 3GS, neither had a crack and both I dropped plenty times on tiles, cement, rocks etc.

I had the 4 for less than a week, it's cracked, one drop. It glanced my shoe and skirted over the tiles. The crack went from the home button to the antenna gap. It's a weak point.

From a design perspective I've noticed subtle issues with the 4. Worst one is the screen is too close to the edge and it's now hard to hold and type with one hand as your palm touches and creates mis-reads.

It looks better but it isn't .

Apple really pushed the limits with the design of the iphone 4. it is a marvel. however, when you push the boundaries then you may have things that aren't optimal in everyday use. look at the architecture of Frank Loyd Wright. He pushed the limits and some of his houses had leaks, etc because he did things with glass, concrete etc that pushed boundaries and the technology.
same here.
post #21 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Underhill View Post

Whilst i love my iP4 and think it's the best product Apple have designed, do you think Apple will stick with the principle of glass and current antenna design for the next gen iP5?

Given the negative, albeit very small, press with regards to antennagate and now glass panel breakages.

My guess is that they'll do a 4GS (or something like that) a year from now, and then launch iPhone 5 another year after that. Like they did with 3G and then 3GS.

4GS will probably have the same design, but slightly improved. And iP5 will incorporate the Liquid Metal technology they licensed.

Anyway, that's all just pulling stuff out of thin air. I'm not an insider or anything.
post #22 of 78
This report seems to arrive at some extremely dubious conclusions: How can they state that the iPhone 4 is more susceptible to damage, when the two periods of time compared are the first 4 months of the two handsets' release? Upon release of the iPhone 4 there was NOT A SINGLE protective case available for that handset. Upon release of the iPhone 3GS there were hundreds, if not thousands.

This reports conclusions are based on science about as much as Sarah Palin's dinosaurs.
post #23 of 78
Pretty predictable since so many were giving them death grips to try and make the signal fail! LOL
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post #24 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by doctorwho View Post

This reports conclusions are based on science about as much as Sarah Palin's dinosaurs.

Ha ha ... Remember, they were on the Ark! They had to be right? ....
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post #25 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

I'm not a big fan of the the way the 4G looks anyway. The form of the 3GS is more appealing than the 4G. Ever seen a 4G placed in a case? it looks like a brick!

I prefer the look of the G4 - love the all glass front and back... BUT a case really spoils the look. The G3 already looks dated to me but I got to admit that it feels better in the hand and is perfect for slipping into pockets. But really, they're both delicious.
post #26 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

I'm not a big fan of the the way the 4G looks anyway. The form of the 3GS is more appealing than the 4G. Ever seen a 4G placed in a case? it looks like a brick!

True, but for me, one good thing about the shape of the iPhone 4 is it's easier to grasp when taking a landscape-oriented photo. The squared off edges are more grippy.

I have a 3GS, and I feel like it's gonna slip out of my hand every time I'm taking a photo that way. But I didn't have that problem when playing with the 4 in the Apple Store. And another plus, you can set the 4 on a flat surface to help stabilize your shot. Not possible with the 3GS' curved edges.
post #27 of 78
A (mostly) glass phone is more susceptible to damage? No way! Hard to believe.
post #28 of 78
What else you can expect, if hands are grows directly from the asshole?
post #29 of 78
I can not believe how many people break their iphones/itouch, I have seem more people walking around with broken glass. They are still using them since the obviously can not afford to fix it.

Grant it most of them were kids and you expect kids not to care about things they did not necessarily buy with their own money, but to hear how many here drop their phones, don't you care about your stuff to take better care of things that cost lots. I hate to see what your cars look like or even you computer.
post #30 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Underhill View Post

You can add me to that list of broken glass panels. My fault though so no gripes.

Whilst i love my iP4 and think it's the best product Apple have designed, do you think Apple will stick with the principle of glass and current antenna design for the next gen iP5?

Given the negative, albeit very small, press with regards to antennagate and now glass panel breakages.

I noticed in my daily rag that the iP4 lost to the HTC Desire for phone of the year in the 2010 T3 Gadget Awards in London. Even though apple cleaned up with the iPad, MacBook Pro and best retailer.

To me the iP4 should have walked it, although it did get best commuter phone, but one just wonders\

iPhone has big stigma to overcome, among geek types I think Android gets looked at through rose colored glasses a lot. We've seen several Android phones in our offices and one thing has been very common among them, all sorts of crazy software issues & cluuuunky. Not saying Android is bad, just my own real world experiences have left me extremely unimpressed. HTC makes very good phones so I'm not surprised it would be them at the top with the iPhone, but I don't pay much attention to Gadget reviews...they're really quite terrible.
post #31 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by msuberly View Post

Ever seen a working iPhone 4 that is not in a case?

Yep. All of the ones around here. The form factor is just too great to put in a case. I don't baby it, I don't have a case (my wife's also) and absolutely no problems. reception is much better than the 3G I had before and I'm in a fringe AT&T area. My father's not in a case either.

The ONLY care I take is not to put my keys in the same pocket as my phone but otherwise it lives in my pants pocket.
post #32 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

BUT a case really spoils the look.

Have you seen this case?

http://www.elementcase.com/iphone4.html
post #33 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by cy_starkman View Post

I had the 4 for less than a week, it's cracked, one drop. It glanced my shoe and skirted over the tiles. The crack went from the home button to the antenna gap. It's a weak point.

Exactly what happened to me. Mine fell from a lawn recliner barely 12-14 inches on to a concrete porch. Cracked from the home button to the antenna gap. Another $199 down the drain.
post #34 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by msuberly View Post

Ever seen a working iPhone 4 that is not in a case?

The whole antennagate/case thing is overrated. In my testing using the iPhone iOS 4.1 secret signal test feature (*3001#12345#* from the keypad screen) "Death Grip" is the difference between 90Db signal loss, and 100Db Signal loss.
post #35 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by msantti View Post

Is this taking into account just the from glass or the back glass as well?

Previous iPhones just had front glass so there was some less chance of breaking glass with the older models.

I cracked my back glass right at the month mark. Thankfully, Apple replaced the phone, no questions asked. Maybe they did not have too but if they ever had a list showing all the Apple stuff I have bought over the years, it warranted a free replacement.

I thought the same thing. The data *does* include both the back and the front glass, so shouldn't we actually expect a 100% rise in the number of cracked screens, making the 80% figure actually lower than expected? In any case I would agree at least anecdotally, both with the extremely "delicate" nature of the iPhone 4 as well as with poor quality overall in construction and very poor response from Apple when one does have issues.

I dropped mine from about knee height onto a sidewalk and it landed on edge, but the supposed "special alloy" of steel scarred up like it was literally made of cheese. A noticeable chunk of the steel band just fell out and I have three large scratches on the corner it fell on. The glass didn't break but mine was also one of those with the gap between the glass back plate and the chassis, as well as having a crooked phono jack that sometimes produces static. IMO Apple's quality control has pretty much gone straight down the toilet.

When I took it in to the Apple store (mere hours after I bought it), they wouldn't replace it unless I was going to take a "service model" (second hand refurbished), with only a 90 day warranty. Even though these are manufacturing flaws completely out of my control (I dropped it *after* this). While I was there though I tested the 12 or so phones on display, and two of them had the gap problem and one had a similarly angled headphone jack.

I find the iPhone 4 to be a shockingly low quality product that breaks *very* easily and Apple's strong-arm response to blame it on the buyer just so far beyond the pale I don't have words for it.
post #36 of 78
It's unclear from your story whether the study controlled for whether there was a case on the iPhone. Because the iPhone 4 is more attractive than the iPhone 3GS and, therefore, possibly more likely to be used without a case, I can well imagine that the absence of a case might account for part of the greater susceptibility to damage. A more reliable study, which could easily be conducted in a lab (albeit at some cost), would be to drop the various iPhone models from various heights, at various angles, onto various surfaces. In the meantime, it might make sense to ignore the results of studies like the one cited in your story.
post #37 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by thespaz View Post

... the back (because it's not made out of the same glass as the front.)

Where did you get that info from? I've never seen it stated anywhere else that the back glass is different from the front.
post #38 of 78
My experience is completely different. My iPhone 3G got scratched pretty fast, first the Apple logo at the back followed by extensive scratches on the silver lining around the phone's edge.

iPhone 4 on the other hand seems to be completely resistant to scratches. Now since it is glass on both sides I'm sure it wold probably fare worse in hard impact type of situations (even though I dropped mine from waist height to hard wood floor with not a single mark or scratch).

Overall I find iPhone4 much better as far as scratches go.

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post #39 of 78
My wife seems to have dropsey with the IP4, it was never an issue with the 3GS. I think it is the square edges that may get caught or otherwise snagged with when removing from pocket, purse etc. Of course remembering it is on her lap when she stands up might help also!

PS: No cracks or scratches yet.
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post #40 of 78
I never had a problem with the 1g or the 3gs without cases, I dropped them plenty without cracking. The 4g I drop from waist level onto tile and both sides shatter. I don't have any problem with reception, but I think it is pretty ridiculous that they expect a case. The 4g is beautiful, why would I want to cover that up, or have to. I went to the genius bar and they told me they will replace it for $217! I was going to do it but I looked online and found out that iresq will replace both sides and replace them in white to create the uber rare white 4g iphone for $265. I hate paying, but at least I feel like I'm getting an upgrade rather than just a repair.
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