Following up on yesterday's "Glassgate" story, I wanted to clarify something a couple of publications seem to have concluded based on my report,…
First, regarding how widespread slide-on case induced cracking already is (or rather, isn't). I initially introduced the issue as something "brewing behind the scenes that's sent Apple's iPhone engineering team back into the bunker for preemptive damage control" (the key word here being "preemptive"), described Apple's extreme sensitivity to any new issues that might further tarnish the iPhone brand, and recounted the steps the company has taken to deal with this issue (i.e. internally leading a serious investigation of the matter while externally attempting to suppress sales of slide-on cases). Since I had no way of knowing precisely how severe this issue is, my assumption was that this wasn't necessarily something that a lot of people have experienced yet -- likely in large part due to Apple working to prevent it from BECOMING an issue.
However, some publications took the story to mean that there is already a massive and widespread issue with slide-on cases causing cracks in iPhone 4s, and that Apple already has a very serious situation on their hands. Apple definitely seems to be taking this matter seriously, but I am skeptical that this is an issue of epidemic proportions right now. Again, the key word here is "preemptive."
I was, however, extremely surprised to see some of the poll results related to this issue on Engadget and Cult of Mac. That's the second bit, I wanted to mention. Here are those numbers (as of a few minutes ago):
www.engadget.com/2010/10/07/apple-afraid-of-a-shat... Has your iPhone 4 back shattered?
* No. - 27147 (29.7%)
* No, but it's scratched. - 6813 (7.5%)
* Yes, and I use an Apple bumper. - 4282 (4.7%)
* Yes, and I use a third party case. - 1632 (1.8%)
* Yes, and I use a slide-on case. - 2061 (2.3%)
* Yes, and cases are for wusses. And I'm not a wuss. Get it? - 2917 (3.2%)
* I don't have an iPhone 4. - 46409 (50.9%)
www.cultofmac.com/are-slide-on-cases-cracking-your... Has a Slide-On Case Cracked Your iPhone 4?
* No. I use a slide-on case and I've had no problems at all - 640 votes (30.93%)
* Yes. Trapped dirt has scratched, cracked or broken my iPhone - 1,429 votes (69.07%)
Web polls are obviously unscientific and strongly prejudiced by the audience at hand, but given the thousands of users claiming to have had this very problem, it sounds like it might actually already be a lot more widespread than even I had expected (I would have guessed well under 1%). Cult of Mac's numbers are particularly stunning, especially considering the publication.
Still, at this point I'm not expecting to hear much more on this issue so long as Apple is working to suppress slide-on cases in the market. As far as damage control goes, they seem to have done their job so far. As I stated yesterday, I think the lesson hard learned here is that glass on the back of a phone is an unnecessarily risky design decision that I'd be surprised to see Apple make more than once.
It's also worth noting how more people responding to the Engadget poll had the back shatter with the Apple bumper or no case than with a slide-on case, which could mean that a slide on case is actually helping (or it could just mean less people use them). There's also nothing in the question about cause—it's possible most of those people dropped their phone or otherwise hit it against something.
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This story was irresponsible at best. How much do you really care that other sites have taken this and run with it? Be honest. Why don't you run an actual headlining follow up story to the first one if you really think this has gotten out of hand instead of just a follow up thread on only this website? Call it gdgt-gate if you want to. I have a feeling you won't do that. It would stop the presses. It would make people angry that they were buying this whole thing in the first place.
I don't necessarily care for Apple. I've always hated their computers, especially anything running OSX. I don't care for the iPad too much. But the iPhone 4 is a great phone and now we're on the second round of bloggers trying to tear it down with a story that isn't even a story. If you truly care that many assumptions and fabrications have been made with the "information" that you gave in the first story, you would write a true headlining follow up and make it clear that this is not even an issue yet and may never be one, rather than proclaiming it the next big Apple crisis.
Oh, and "one more thing": Internet polls are the last thing that you should care about regarding anything about the iPhone 4. Most of the people that vote negatively against Apple products don't even own one. I have always thought exclusive users of Apple products were annoying, but the Android army is obnoxious too. Keep that in mind next time.
When will the tech bloggers be fully satisfied? Will it be when people just stop buying iPhones? Is that the goal? Seems like it sometimes.
What would have been optimal is for me to not have needed to write it at all because no one made assumptions or additional conclusions beyond what I wrote, but try though I might, I just can't control how all journalists think. All I can do is write about things as crisply and effectively as I know how -- and again, I stand by my original piece.
The fact that you think there's some hidden agenda here, though, kind of says it all about the perspective you're coming at this from. If you believe there's some nefarious conspiracy here, then perhaps it's best you just find another site.
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There is a HUGE difference between critical analysis and a hit piece. Peter and Ryan have a history of excellent critical analysis, but you sound like you come from the school of thought that we should just give out "Great Job" awards to every company who releases a product. The iPhone4 is a success in the ways it is because of critical analysis of the previous iterations, by users and journalists alike.
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