Apple weathered that Antennagate storm surprisingly well, but now there's another potential cloudburst on the horizon, and it's been pre-named for your convenience: "Glassgate." Or maybe "Glass-That-Shatters-If-Scratched-By-A-Casegate." Ryan Block has just posted a story on gdgt citing sources "inside and outside Apple" claiming that Apple has discovered a different flaw -- or weakness, shall we say -- in its iPhone 4 design. The basic problem seems to be with non-bumper cases, specifically ones that slide on to the phone, and the danger of trapped particles scratching the back of the phone while taking the case on and off. Case-caused scratches are nothing new (though still annoying), but the big problem seems to be that these scratches can lead to cracking and even full-on shattering of the back panel. Apparently this lead to Apple severely limiting its reselling efforts of third party cases for a time (which you might have noticed), and while Apple currently has some third party cases online and in its stores, none of the hard cases are of the slide-on variety. Apple also purportedly has a new test program set up to understand this specific issue.
Of course, plenty of questions are raised by all this: is this a widespread problem with folks that have managed to acquire a slide-on case? We haven't really heard of such a correlation so far. Do the snap-on folks, many of whom received their cases free of charge from Apple, have anything to worry about? And does Apple have any intention of warning its consumers about this potential danger? Apple didn't respond to Ryan's request for comment, and we doubt they'll respond to our own until they're good and ready to talk -- let's just hope there's not another faux hat-in-hand press conference in our future!
Has your iPhone 4 back shattered?
No, but it's scratched.
Yes, and I use an Apple bumper.
Yes, and I use a third party case.
Yes, and I use a slide-on case.
Yes, and cases are for wusses. And I'm not a wuss. Get it?