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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 61
    macnycmacnyc Posts: 342member
    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"?...
  • Reply 2 of 61
    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?
  • Reply 3 of 61
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 61
    I like my free bumper. Didn't have a problem with the antenna. I just gave it a shot and it works. Thanks Apple.
  • Reply 5 of 61
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 61
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 61
    bsenkabsenka Posts: 799member
    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?
  • Reply 8 of 61
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,152member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 61
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,595member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 61
    bsenkabsenka Posts: 799member
    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?
  • Reply 11 of 61
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 61
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,152member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 61
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 61
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,152member
    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:



  • Reply 15 of 61
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,523member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 61
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,595member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 61
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 61
    My third party case broke the back of my iphone. They gave me a free replacement.
  • Reply 19 of 61
    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?

  • Reply 20 of 61
    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.
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