“According to my sources both inside and outside Apple, after Antennagate the iPhone engineering team identified another potential design flaw that appears to have sent them into a quiet lockdown, and has them working behind the scenes in what’s been described to me as something of a quiet panic to preempt any further tarnishing the iPhone brand,” Ryan Block reports for gdgt. “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. To put it another way: Apple is afraid you might buy a standard slide-on iPhone case, put it on your phone, and then discover the next time you take it off that the entire back of your device has been shattered by no fault of your own.”
“So before things escalated out of control and they had ‘Glassgate’ on their hands, Apple swiftly moved to block sales of nearly all third-party iPhone 4 cases from its stores (which it just this week reversed, but only online — physical retail stores still aren’t yet stocking cases). Internally, I’ve heard 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 reports. “(If the bumper seemed like kind of an odd concept for a case when it was announced, now its design, which doesn’t come in direct medial contact with either of the iPhone 4’s glass surfaces, seems to make a lot more sense.)”
Block continues, “Whether Apple likes it or not, slide-on cases iPhone 4 cases will continue to be sold, and many even bear the ‘Made for iPhone’ mark, presumably licensed before it went into Glassgate-lockdown. Apple surely can’t ignore any iPhone 4s cracked — with a certain dash of irony — by those users going out of their way to protect their phone from undue damage, but whether they will (or can) find a resolution to what the what the company is treating as another design flaw is yet to be seen. Either way, something tells me there’s a pretty good chance next year’s iPhone probably won’t have any glass on its back.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: If you are using a case that covers the rear glass on your iPhone 4, examine it now. Do you see fine dust inside? Do you see iPhone scratches? When we use cases on our iPhones 4s (a lot of the time we just go without a case as it’s thinner and lighter and easier to slip in and out of pockets), we use bumper-style cases, so we have no idea. We don’t see any scratches on our iPhone 4s’ rear glass, even after months of riding in pockets and bags with and without bumper cases. In fact, the rear glass on our iPhone 4 units, which is very tough glass, all look as good as new. Seems specious to us.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “ChrissyOne” for the heads up.]