Apple's latest iPhone 4 problem - Glassgate

Apple's had its fair share of issues with the company's latest and greatest iPhone device. We've had antennagate, proximity sensor issues, yellow display problems and even camera white balance issues. Are you ready for the latest? Glassgate.

If Apple's death grip antenna issue isn't enough for you then there's a new worry amongst iPhone 4 owners today. Named "glassgate", Gdgt reports that there's an issue brewing behind the scenes of Apple's engineering team. Gdgt claims that the iPhone engineering team have been on a quiet lockdown after identifying another potential design flaw following the antenna issues:

"Apple has apparently found that non-bumper style cases -- specifically those that slide onto the iPhone 4, which are occasionally prone to particulate matter getting caught between the rear of the phone and the case -- can cause unexpected scratching that could quickly develop into full-on cracking or even much larger fracturing of the entire rear pane of glass."

Apple reportedly blocked sales of nearly all third-party iPhone 4 cases from its stores, which it has recently reversed for the online stores but not retail ones. Third-party case manufacturers with slide-on cases are waiting to hear if and when Apple plans to stock a full selection of iPhone 4 cases once again. Unfortunately there will still be a large number of cases available to iPhone 4 users whether licensed officially by Apple (before the lockdown) or not. Ironically, iPhone 4 users could do more damage to their phones trying to protect them from scratches and cracks by using a slide-on case.

Image Credit: Modmyi.com

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And yet people will still get it, no matter how many faults it will have. People just don't think anymore these days. And then they will wonder why things are how they are, because no one shows that they want anything otherwise lol.

Hmm very well, i never had any of the other "widespread" problems and i wont be having this...
There isn't any need for a case, i just use an invisibleshield on he back so i don't have to worry when putting it down somewhere but other than that there is no kind of protection on mine and it's still good as new

it's called daily usage - have you seen the adverts for autoglass? maybe they will come and fix your iphone scratches for a small fee! nice design, just care for it. is there anything that doesn't break (cant think of anything atm)?

Also, how do you cut glass usually? By scoring it first, so there is no surprise that these are fracturing after being scratched.

Ignoring on how good the iphone4 hardware is (inside) ignoring iOS entirely.... even ignoring being an hardcore Apple fanboy (other people , not me) ...

What kind of stupid consumer you have to be to pay so much for something so fragile?! especially a product is prone to damage and is always carried with you.

To be honest, this is fairly old news. When 4 was released, drop tests were done and the glass smashed on the 3rd drop, so from the get go we knew the glass wasn't all it was cracked up to be (no pun intended ;D) iPhone 4 user myself and mines is still fine for the time being.

To the ppl think its not design flaw,
I'll ask you to choose between 2 iPHONE4. One is using current glass and another is using same material as iphone 3gs.
i dropped my iphone 3gs at train station, office and class room. not even small cracked.

tay tay said,
To the ppl think its not design flaw,
I'll ask you to choose between 2 iPHONE4. One is using current glass and another is using same material as iphone 3gs.
i dropped my iphone 3gs at train station, office and class room. not even small cracked.

As a former iPhone 3G user, while I don't know whether the glass itself was any different, the impact-protection of the design certainly was. I had to fling mine (wet hands, don't ask) through the air before landing on a concrete floor in order to get that screen to shatter. It also took plenty of other drops and knocks without any problems.

If Apple had real engineers they wouldn't have confused "30 times harder than plastic" to mean "it's shatter-proof" when their supplier said "Buy our sh*t! It's 30 times harder than plastic!".

wow. ill be more cautious. i drop it quite a lot. but i have a speck case that covers the back. Its pretty thick as well. so hopefully doesnt happen to me.

My only gripe about my bumper is that the stuff from my pockets got caught between the bumper and the steel band and has scratched it a lot (already have a deep scratch on the back glass but that'll be due to the bumper not protecting the glass obviously)

Not that it matters to me. Front glass of my iPhone 4 cracked falling on keys from a distance of 3 inches on my desk.

How many iPhones have been sold? How many people are reporting a broken outer shell (glass, plastic, whatever generation phone you have)? I've seen more people with busted Blackberries than any other phone. I only know one person with an HTC, but I know dozens of people with iPhones. I've known 2 of those iPhone 3G(s) owners with cracked screens and they admitted that their iPhones were dropped AND kicked right after. My own protected 3G was dropped and then bounced down 14 steps and was completely fine. I've seen that video of the iPhone 4 in the blender and it took a little while to finally break apart, but I'm sure that if it were hit on it's sweet spot early enough it would have broken earlier.

I see people dropping their phones all the time and the thing breaks apart with battery cover, battery, sim card, etc flying everywhere. Those people don't care if their phone is in bad shape because as long as it works they don't care.

And I'm pretty sure that if I went to the beach or someplace else with sand or other particulate matter that I'd be checking my phone as soon as I was able to make sure that it was clear of debris.

I've had Palm Treo for five years. It's always been encased in something [leather, hard plastic, polycarbonate etc] and it's been dropped few times. Given it's screen is tiny by today's phone's standards but so far the screen's remained intact. It looks and feel more robust than current phones/PDAs. I've replaced the stubby aerial after a drop but that's an advantage I have over iPhones in particular. I don't know if other suppliers' units are DIY repairable.
I won't be rushing to buy an iPhone or any other just yet as my Treo still functions well and the iPod does the music thing

What about Gate-gate? This stupid compulsion to add the -gate suffix to the end of any minor issue must be bordering on scandal

osm0sis said,
What about Gate-gate? This stupid compulsion to add the -gate suffix to the end of any minor issue must be bordering on scandal

Lol...it is the most irritating thing! And it is lazy journalism!

What a waist of time ...
Even if it's a design issue, Apple will never
admit it. It's just like the antenna issue ..
They will just say your holding it wrong or
you are gripping the phone too hard ....

I work for an AASP, I see this every day, press the customer a bit and they will admit they dropped it. I'm yet to see any Apple product that broke, shattered or fell to bits of its own free will.

Hugs my HTC it doesn't need a stupid annoying bumper. Already dropped it on the ground and picked it back up and not even a single mark try doing that with a iPhone.

saasn said,
Hugs my HTC it doesn't need a stupid annoying bumper. Already dropped it on the ground and picked it back up and not even a single mark try doing that with a iPhone.

I dropped my iPhone 3GS, not protected by any case, around 40 times. Not a scratch, perhaps if you put it in strong light with the right matrix.

This isn't entirely surprising. Most people know that if you put a tight case around something there is a possibility that dust or dirt will get between the case and the object. Once this happens scratching will occur. The only question in this situation is how substantial or unsubstantial does the dust or dirt need to be to cause fracturing.

IMO - If you put a sliding case or tight fitting case on a phone, you also need to invest in the screen protecting films that go over the glass.

SharpGreen said,
I have always thought that making a freakin cell phone enclosed in glass was the stupidest idea ever.

Yeah. The iPhone 4 is probably the most breakable phone I've ever seen. And I think some would consider me an "Apple fan."

That's why I clean both my phone and my case with a microfiber before I put the phone in. Not so much as a scratch so far, using an Otterbox Defender.

Wow... what we learned? If you drop your phone, it can break! Big deal..

I'm not a Steve Jobs nut-hugger but please... it's not a design flaw, it's a reality that exists for ANY phone. It can break if dropped on the ground!

Poor journalism...

myxomatosis said,
Wow... what we learned? If you drop your phone, it can break! Big deal..

I'm not a Steve Jobs nut-hugger but please... it's not a design flaw, it's a reality that exists for ANY phone. It can break if dropped on the ground!

Poor journalism...

Poor reading skills...

These cracks aren't coming from people dropping their phone, they are coming from people using certain cases that slide on the phone.

myxomatosis said,
Wow... what we learned? If you drop your phone, it can break! Big deal..

I'm not a Steve Jobs nut-hugger but please... it's not a design flaw, it's a reality that exists for ANY phone. It can break if dropped on the ground!

Poor journalism...

REally? I used to drop my blackberry from 5-6 feet sometime, same with my old nokias, hell i even drop my Evo once in a while.. anything happen? nope. Don't confuse crappy construction techniques with good quality. Shi*ty bridges fail, as do buildings. Phone is no different. Good, well constructed phones can stand a lot of abuse...

myxomatosis said,
Wow... what we learned? If you drop your phone, it can break! Big deal..

. it's not a design flaw, it's a reality that exists for ANY phone. It can break if dropped on the ground!

Dude you need to read the full story before you comment.....

But as for dropping phones and they break....not all phones do. I must have dropped my LG a couple of dozen time and its never gotten more than a scratch on the corner.

Apple have cut corners in R&D and QA in the bid to rush this new phone out the door and keep making $$$$$$$$

And why did they do it ? Because they know all the little iSheep would rush out and buy it no matter how flawed the product is lol

Shadrack said,

Poor reading skills...

These cracks aren't coming from people dropping their phone, they are coming from people using certain cases that slide on the phone.

Look at the point of impact on the picture

myxomatosis said,
Wow... what we learned? If you drop your phone, it can break! Big deal..

I'm not a Steve Jobs nut-hugger but please... it's not a design flaw, it's a reality that exists for ANY phone. It can break if dropped on the ground!

Poor journalism...


Seriously. People who sit around my table are just used to hearing my phone smacking into the ground, since my table is too small. It's an N97, no bumper, no case, and it has no scratches whatsoever. Granted, Symbian is trash, but as far as durability goes, Nokia rules it.

myxomatosis said,
Wow... what we learned? If you drop your phone, it can break! Big deal..

I'm not a Steve Jobs nut-hugger but please... it's not a design flaw, it's a reality that exists for ANY phone. It can break if dropped on the ground!

Poor journalism...

Epic fail...Try to read before you comment and try not to come to any conclusions just by looking at a picture...

myxomatosis said,
Wow... what we learned? If you drop your phone, it can break! Big deal..

I'm not a Steve Jobs nut-hugger but please... it's not a design flaw, it's a reality that exists for ANY phone. It can break if dropped on the ground!

Poor journalism...


*special claps*

The glass on both back and front looks amazing! But, yeah, glass is very brittle. Sounds to me like the glass on the back isn't supported very well if a little pressure from a mere case can cause it to crack.

No problems with my iPhone 4 yet... (haven't had a drop call due to this antenna hoop-la). But I also friggen baby the thing (as I do with all my electronics). I don't even lift a table without first taking my phone out of my pocket and setting it somewhere safe.

If you are looking for a rugged phone that can take a serious beating: the iPhone is not for you.

Shadrack said,
The glass on both back and front looks amazing! But, yeah, glass is very brittle. Sounds to me like the glass on the back isn't supported very well if a little pressure from a mere case can cause it to crack.

No problems with my iPhone 4 yet... (haven't had a drop call due to this antenna hoop-la). But I also friggen baby the thing (as I do with all my electronics). I don't even lift a table without first taking my phone out of my pocket and setting it somewhere safe.

If you are looking for a rugged phone that can take a serious beating: the iPhone is not for you.

I know right? Once I bought my first iPhone at launch, I never dropped my smartphone(s) again. Ever. Okay I dropped the iPhone ONCE, onto a carpeted floor, from about knee-level as I was sitting.

Isn't this what device protection insurance is for?

I've got a Griffin Case which has a back and I have noticed quite a few deep chips in the back of the phone whenever I take the Case off. These chips do scare me a bit, I'm sure it's only a matter of time before those chips turn into cracks.

Never understood the double sided glass aesthetic. Twice as much to break-as plenty have noted before me. Nice materiality sure is costly. Especially when it's detailed poorly and doesn't last. Hopefully the iPhone 5 won't have hard brick edges and will be comfortable to the touch. What's even better is the bumper is the only case that isn't suspect to this flaw, but it leaves the glass exposed and susceptible to cracking.

I actually meet someone whose entire iphone "shattered" when he dropped it, the day after it came out, he dropped it and the back pane and front pane where completely spiderweb. being the good isheep he was, he went and paid full price for a new one the day after that.

murkurie said,
I actually meet someone whose entire iphone "shattered" when he dropped it, the day after it came out, he dropped it and the back pane and front pane where completely spiderweb. being the good isheep he was, he went and paid full price for a new one the day after that.
For one thing it's freaking glass it WILL shatter if dropped.

murkurie said,
I actually meet someone whose entire iphone "shattered" when he dropped it, the day after it came out, he dropped it and the back pane and front pane where completely spiderweb. being the good isheep he was, he went and paid full price for a new one the day after that.

Drop something, that your fault not mine. How a bout this:
Buy a new car and drive it into a wall. Would you expect the manufacturer to give you a new car even if it was a ferrari? I think not

murkurie said,
I actually meet someone whose entire iphone "shattered" when he dropped it, the day after it came out, he dropped it and the back pane and front pane where completely spiderweb. being the good isheep he was, he went and paid full price for a new one the day after that.

Of coarse... we learn this early in life (apparently not apple??) glass does break when dropped. Especially when dropped on hard surfaces. Just not a good idea to drop your phone (though it happens to everyone) and an even worse idea to make a phone (that they know people will drop) out of glass.

KickassAMD said,

Of coarse... we learn this early in life (apparently not apple??) glass does break when dropped. Especially when dropped on hard surfaces. Just not a good idea to drop your phone (though it happens to everyone) and an even worse idea to make a phone (that they know people will drop) out of glass.

More of, genius that they can take advantage of many people like the guy mentioned above who will go out and buy another, not realizing the foolishness of buying a piece of glass to carry with you everywhere

TogaForComfort said,

Drop something, that your fault not mine. How a bout this:
Buy a new car and drive it into a wall. Would you expect the manufacturer to give you a new car even if it was a ferrari? I think not

How about I sell you a car with no driver protection whatsoever. No air-bags, no compressible metal structure, etc. And as **** happens, another car bumps into you, frontal collision. It can happen, it's not your fault.

Dropping a phone is expectable in the mobile device world, and accidents like this should be prevented by the device structure itself - round corners, shock absorbent, etc. Moreover, when the device fails to provide this protection, it shouldn't break when the user itself tries to provide it.

Of course, if you throw your iPhone with all your might on the ground, enjoy your 7 years or bad luck.
God, I hate poor analogies.

TogaForComfort said,

Drop something, that your fault not mine. How a bout this:
Buy a new car and drive it into a wall. Would you expect the manufacturer to give you a new car even if it was a ferrari? I think not
They're supposed to take 'some' impact. Cars are designed that way - hence bumpers. When I worked for Motorola many years ago we drop tested our phones and batteries on concrete to make sure they could take some impact before failing. I can't remember what the protocol was but I think it was one drop test for every 250 units. Sound like Apple doesn't even attempt anything like that. I'm very careful with my tech toys and I've dropped my BB Storm a few times. No problems though - it keeps working. Fact of the matter is that perhaps they should've considered something other than glass or put glass for the front and clear poly for the back. We're talking about a device that people carry with them everywhere all the time. People drop things. It happens. It shouldn't break the first time.

Xenomorph said,
Ugh. Well, there's always the iPhone 5!
LOL. Yeah I guess so but with the way things have been happening I wouldn't bet if the iPhone 5 suffered from sporadic unexplained explosions. Jobs will be quoted as saying, "you're using it wrong...it's supposed to explode".

Bleh. I don't see it happening too much

But looking at the history of mess-ups with the phone, apple should just do a major redesign for next years model.

Quick Shot said,
Bleh. I don't see it happening too much

But looking at the history of mess-ups with the phone, apple should just do a major redesign for next years model.


Ive heard from different sources, that a new Revision was expecting to hit shops in Jan.
My lil sis bought her first iPhone (4) today. And I waited till it was all updated so on. And Death gripped it. The Bars went from max down to 1, but it wouldnt drop that last bar.
And it was a fresh batch of phones delivered today at the store.
I tried to get her to wait till after jan but she would'nt.
How true this info is i dont know.

The antenna problem was blown out of proportion largely by the media and of course somewhat by Apple haters (is there any point, really?). You had to be in an already poor signal area in order to drop calls when gripping the phone.

I own an iPhone 4 an experience exactly as you describe, I can get it to drop about 3 bars but unless I'm in a poor signal area I can't get it to drop signal completely.

Your sister won't have one of the new revisions, she is experiencing the exact same issue every iPhone has and now you know first hand that it's not the massive (omg a phone which can't keep a signal when I hold it!) issue that it was made out to be...

evo_spook said,
Strange not once seen or heard a single thing about this till this wild new story. Sounds like a aim to gain clicks.

And you fell for it, your mother must be so proud.

evo_spook said,
Strange not once seen or heard a single thing about this till this wild new story. Sounds like a aim to gain clicks.

How pessimistic. Ryan Block, former editor-in-chief of Engadget, isn't the type to just make up stories for "clicks".

Tom W said,

How pessimistic. Ryan Block, former editor-in-chief of Engadget, isn't the type to just make up stories for "clicks".

Got any evidence of that or just your personal opinion?

evo_spook said,
Strange not once seen or heard a single thing about this till this wild new story. Sounds like a aim to gain clicks.

I've seen at least four people with cracked iPhones in my daily commute to work. However, only two were the iP4

evo_spook said,
Strange not once seen or heard a single thing about this till this wild new story. Sounds like a aim to gain clicks.

yea i say the same, this is the first time i hear about this and i check several iphone forums and news pages regularly strange