Apple's iPhone 4 more susceptible to damage than predecessor

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 77
    desarcdesarc Posts: 642member
    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...
  • Reply 2 of 77
    note to self: do not drop phone on cement.
  • Reply 3 of 77
    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\
  • Reply 4 of 77
    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 .
  • Reply 5 of 77
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 77
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,729member
    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!
  • Reply 7 of 77
    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!
  • Reply 8 of 77
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 77
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,729member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 77
    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.)
  • Reply 11 of 77
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 77
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 77
    "don't drop it like that"



    My thought exactly.
  • Reply 14 of 77
    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?
  • Reply 14 of 77
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 77
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 77
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 77
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by katastroff View Post


    note to self: do not drop phone on cement.



    You're not dropping it right.
  • Reply 19 of 77
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 77
    am8449am8449 Posts: 387member
    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.
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