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Iphone Apple Hardware

iPhone 4 Screens Break 82% More Than 3GS 348

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the not-that-kind-of-crack dept.
A surprising number of readers have submitted linkage to a story discussing a recently released study that proclaims that iPhone 4 glass breaks way more often than the 3GS's. Although the chart that I found more surprising was the one that said almost 9% of iPhone 3GS screens crack after a year.
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iPhone 4 Screens Break 82% More Than 3GS

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  • Re:9% after a year? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @06:28PM (#33877036)

    9% annual accident rate implies one accident requiring an insurance claim in 11 years. Doesn't sound particularly high for an item that is so easily dropped.

    (Actually CmdrTaco can't read charts. That chart is nearly 8%, not nearly 9%. Which implies 13 years between claims.)

  • Re:That's funny (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Trip6 (1184883) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @06:30PM (#33877062)

    Mod parent up. They're just trying to peddle warranties. Surprised nobody followed the money on this submission.

  • by Thagg (9904) <thadbeier@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @06:43PM (#33877200) Journal

    Glass is really remarkably strong when it comes out of the furnace. The tensile strength is amazing, it can bend enough to absorb some shocks. It's a great material before it gets to the real world.

    But, once it does, it immediately develops microcracks in the surface, and each of these could be the beginning of a fracture that goes through the bulk of the glass. So, what to do?

    I don't know if they've taken the hint from the semiconductor industry (look up 'strained silicon' [wikipedia.org]) but they did a similar thing with glass. By bombarding the surface of the glass with larger atoms, they create significant stress in the surface, so that any microcracks are immediately pushed shut. But, this is only true down to the level that these atoms diffuse into the surface...not far at all!

    So, if you create a significant scratch (and this might just be 100 microns) you are through this surface, and have a potentially catastrophic failure waiting to happen.

    A screen-protecting film of plastic would be a good investment.

  • Re:9% after a year? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @06:57PM (#33877338)

    Could it have something to do with the fact your nicad-powered monster only had a screen ~1 sq. inch, coupled with the fact that it was (probably) some kind of impact-resistant plastic?

    iPhones - how I hate typing that - and newer phones have, big glass screens. Toughened or not it's a lot easier to crack a piece of glass than it is plastic that's 1/10th the size.

    For my two-penneth I'd say it's because we're used to them now; the novelty has worn off and we just aren't taking as much care of them as we used to.

    I tend to think that Apple just doesn't care about durability as much as some other makers. HTC, for one, seems to do a damn fine job of making phones that are very hard to kill, especially when compared to the likes of an iPhone. Jobs & Co., on the other hand, know that their clientele will buy iPhones no matter what. That's mainly, I believe, because they are so shiny.

  • Re:Gimme a break! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by afidel (530433) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @06:58PM (#33877360)
    Yep, it was insurance adjusters that linked the location of waterworks inlet pipes to cholera epidemics in London.
  • by gagol (583737) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @07:31PM (#33877660)
    I guess you also add a second pair of bumpers to your cars and wrap it in saranwrap to avoid damage to the painting and glasses... seriously, I only buy durable stuff and it pays off. If the devide I buy need care and attention, I prefer to give that time/effort/attention to my children.
  • Re:Causality? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anubis IV (1279820) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @07:39PM (#33877746)
    Actually, while unrelated to what you said, causality has me curious as well after reading these statistics. I just upgraded from an iPhone 3G (not 3GS) to an iPhone 4, and one of the first things I noticed was that the iPhone 4 is significantly more slippery in my hand than the older model. Whether that's a factor of it having a flat back compared to a curved one that contours to the hand better, or because of the use of glass as compared to plastic, I don't know, but it seems to me like I'm a lot more likely to drop this one than the previous one.
  • by Facegarden (967477) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @08:05PM (#33877964)

    Glass is really remarkably strong when it comes out of the furnace. The tensile strength is amazing, it can bend enough to absorb some shocks. It's a great material before it gets to the real world.

    But, once it does, it immediately develops microcracks in the surface, and each of these could be the beginning of a fracture that goes through the bulk of the glass. So, what to do?

    I don't know if they've taken the hint from the semiconductor industry (look up 'strained silicon' [wikipedia.org]) but they did a similar thing with glass. By bombarding the surface of the glass with larger atoms, they create significant stress in the surface, so that any microcracks are immediately pushed shut. But, this is only true down to the level that these atoms diffuse into the surface...not far at all!

    So, if you create a significant scratch (and this might just be 100 microns) you are through this surface, and have a potentially catastrophic failure waiting to happen.

    A screen-protecting film of plastic would be a good investment.

    I worked at a glass shop for a summer installing windows and doors in peoples houses when I was younger. If it wasn't a brand new house, we'd have to take out the old windows. Often those windows had tempered glass. We took all the old windows back to our shop and threw them in a big trailer for the dump (sadly, window glass isn't as high quality as bottle glass, so it wasn't worth recycling. or thats what they told me).

    Anyway, we loved to break the tempered glass. Normal glass breaks in big sheets, but tempered glass is made for safety, so it is both stronger, and won't break into sheets - it shatters into 1000's of tiny pieces when it breaks, so you can't get stabbed.

    The fun comes with how it breaks. You can hit a 1/4" thick tempered glass window head on with a sledge hammer and it won't break. BUT, tempered glass gets its strength from really high surface tension, which is unbalanced on the edge of the glass. So, after we hit the thing with the sledgehammer and it didn't break, we'd take a regular hammer and lightly tap an exposed edge of the glass, and BOOM, it instantly shattered!

    I don't know how gorilla glass compares to regular tempered glass, but it seems like a bit of a bad design to have the edges exposed like that.

    But then, we knew it was a bad design...
    -Taylor

  • Re:Statistics FAIL (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rilister (316428) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @08:30PM (#33878148)

    "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."
    "Back screen"? "At least a quarter"?
    I'm with Mr Anonymous Coward on this, even if he did use the word "fucktard"

  • Re:Water damage too (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @08:38PM (#33878186)

    I have an iPhone 4, upgraded from 3GS. I can honestly say that the 4 'feels' much more slippery. I always feel like it's going to fall out of my hand. I think that it's the shape: it lacks the rounded back that the 2G/3G/3GS all had, which helped the phone sit comfortably in one's hand. When I hold the 4, it feels like I'm gripping it by two (very) thin edges, instead of the entire phone.

  • Re:Gimme a break! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by icebike (68054) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @11:02PM (#33879106)

    There have been reports that when a grain of sand gets trapped under a case (sliding case), that it can scratch the back glass, and be compressed enough to cause a tiny crack to form which spreads, and the whole back shatters.

    Of course who knows if these reports are true.
    http://www.iphonehacks.com/2010/10/apple-investigating-potential-issue-with-slide-on-cases-and-iphone-4-causing-cracked-glass-back-panel.html [iphonehacks.com]

  • Re:Gimme a break! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @02:45AM (#33879914)

    Nobody is keeping statistics EXCEPT the third party insurance providers. This is largely true in medicine as well. Unless there is a contagious factor, the only nationwide stats you will find on injuries (broken arms) is from insurance carriers. Why you choose to denigrate that fact when Apple is involved but not for heart attacks is sort of, well, suspicious.

    I am quite sure Apple keep very precise statistics of all breakages reported to them, whether they agree to fix them or not, though of course they won't share them. As to consumer reports (for example), they could easily do a survey of iPhone owners, and I'd trust them a hell of a lot more than someone whose interest is in inflating figures like this to sell insurance.

    As to medicine, the fact that insurance providers hold all the power in the US is an anomaly. In most other first world countries, insurers don't run the health system, and proper statistics on all types of injuries are compiled by a central body and doctors themselves, not by a party with a monetary interest. Just because it is done that way in the US doesn't mean it is normal or efficient. Here's an example:

    http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/overall/hssh0405.pdf [hse.gov.uk]

    The only source less likely to provide reliable statistics on breakages is Apple, and I wouldn't trust these statistics from anyone with a monetary interest in the results - it's too easy to lie by tweaking the figures you choose to present.

  • Re:Gimme a break! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GauteL (29207) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @08:24AM (#33881232)

    Disclaimer: I'm a happy iPhone owner without insurance.

    "Square Trade loses money for every screen break."

    I'm sure this is not how they look at it. As an insurance company (in other words a bookmaker) they make or lose money based on whether they have set the right or wrong odds on screen breaks and other problems. They would certainly not count single screen breaks and go "damn, we lost money on this one".

    Instead they would simply raise their premiums if screen breaks occurred more regularly than they had initially thought. As someone with what I would call a healthy distrust in insurance companies, I don't think they'd release this information unless they had something to gain by releasing it.

    My guess is that it is one of the following two options:
    1. They are getting stick for increasing insurance premiums and they feel the need to justify themselves so as not to lose customers.
    2. They want to convince people that they really should get insurance, since the iPhone screen is so very likely to break.

    Either way, I'm sceptical.

    Oh.. btw, why do you think the parent makes a difference for Apple over heart attacks? Strawman?

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