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  1.    #1  
    I thought this article was interesting. Looks like Apple has been to keep this from becoming another public relations problem...

    With Antennagate over, is Glassgate next for the iPhone 4?


    With Antennagate over, is Glassgate next for the iPhone 4? Originally published in the... - gdgt

    Whether or not you've experienced the iPhone 4's famed death grip, or even believe it's a real phenomenon (and based on extensive personal experience I can assure you that it is), the whole Antennagate scandal undoubtedly left a deep scratch on the iPhone's squeaky-clean sheen. As we all now know, the story ended with a semi-contrite Steve explaining how all cellphones have "weak spots" and that iPhone 4 customers upset with their device's wireless performance would be entitled to a free iPhone case. The offer has since expired, but it had the desired effect: people pretty quickly shut up about the issue, and Apple got back to the business of selling a LOT of iPhones.

    But there's another issue brewing behind the scenes that's sent Apple's iPhone engineering team back into the bunker for preemptive damage control. If you've been into an Apple Store (or visited Apple's site) recently, you might have caught a hint while browsing iPhone 4 cases (or lack thereof). Although Apple has just this week reestablished a wide variety of cases for sale, as of only a couple of days ago the only iPhone 4 case Apple even so much as mentioned on its site was its own first-party Bumper -- and still conspicuously absent from its lineup are slide-on cases. As it turns out, was by no means a cynical ploy to maximize profits.

    See, the interesting thing about how Apple works is they make money on all angles of the ecosystem. Similar to how Apple acts as the gatekeeper for the software it sells in the App Store and then takes a cut of that software's revenues, Apple also officially licenses third-party companies to make accessories for its various products (which are designated MFI, as in: "Made for iPhone," "Made for iPad," "Made for iPod," etc.), often selling those accessories in its Apple Stores.

    Although the numbers have never been disclosed, Apple supposedly gets 10-15% off the top of all officially licensed MFI accessories (in recent years this has said to have changed to a flat rate per accessory). Giving Apple a cut hurts margins, but it also opens up a big opportunity: if Apple chooses to carry your officially licensed product, it will give it shelf space in one of the highest grossing retail chains (per square foot) in the world. Of course, if Apple sells your gear in the Store, that means they also get to take another hefty cut of that margin (as would any retailer); it may sting, but as it happens most companies are desperate to have their products sold in the Apple Store, and begrudgingly put up with Apple double-dipping on their margins (in no small part because competition in the accessories business is so fierce these days).

    Naturally, this is really good business for Apple. It means that the highly lucrative accessories market is even more profitable for Apple than any other individual company since they're skimming off the top of every licensed product sold -- which is part of the reason it was so bizarre to see so few iPhone accessories sold for the first time in years, and at a moment when Apple is selling more iPhones than ever before. Yes, the free case program could have had something to do with this shift, but there's a huge market for cases outside the standard fare (like, say, those with integrated battery packs). If the absence of these accessories seems as strange to you as it does to me, well, there's a reason why.

    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. 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. (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.)

    In the mean time, many third-party manufacturers with slide-on cases are all but dead in the water; accessory companies that invested heavily in developing and shipping these iPhone 4 cases now find themselves waiting indefinitely to get their products back into their top sales channel: the Apple Store. And as you might expect, Apple hasn't exactly been to clear about when -- or even if -- it's going to get back to business as usual selling the full selection of iPhone 4 cases. It should also come as no surprise that Apple representatives declined to comment on this story.

    And then there's the matter of all those iPhone 4 owners. 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.
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    Thought I'd just share that one... have to see if the media picks up on this or if Apple can keep it as a "non-issue" in the media.
  2. #2  
    I'm waiting on iPhone 5 myself. An all glass back is asking for problems. There was a post on Giz about shattered backs, it wasn't pretty. It was easy to get the front glass replaced on older models. But the back may be another matter.
    HP has officially ruined it's own platform and kicked webOS loyalists and early TouchPad adopters to the curb. You think after you drop it like a hot potato and mention it made no money and is costing you money, anyone else wants it??? Way to go HP!!

    And some people are fools to keep believing their hype. HP has shown they will throw webOS under the bus and people are still having faith in them??? News flash: if it's own company won't stand behind it, it's finished!
  3. #3  
    So much for the strength of their "Gorilla" glass. Only thing that surprises me is that they didn't notice just how bad particulate scratching can be when the iTouch chrome backs make it so glaringly obvious...
  4. #4  
    Huh? I have a 3rd party slide on case that's been fine. Then again, I don't overly care if day to day use causes little scratches that can only be seen if I look really hard. If I did, I would buy a screen protector.

    And, I do not buy this conspiracy of Apple not carrying cases in the store. There are tons of cases available over the internet for the iPhone 4. If this was a big problem (your sources or not) we would have heard of this by now.
  5. #5  
    Well, let's see... The antenna FUD didn't work. Apple is still having trouble keeping them in stock. Now, I guess its time to try something new. If the glass was scratching and shattering in significant numbers, we would have already heard the outcry a long time ago.

    If people can't find a real public outcry against Apple, they will do their best to manufacture one. Pathetic!
  6. #6  
    Don't believe the back is gorilla glass. Thought it was just the front.
    Quote Originally Posted by Orion Antares View Post
    So much for the strength of their "Gorilla" glass. Only thing that surprises me is that they didn't notice just how bad particulate scratching can be when the iTouch chrome backs make it so glaringly obvious...
    Pixi: Sold. Pre: Passed off to another rep. Touchpad: Just a toy until Cloud syncing arrives, and a better doc editor.
  7. #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by crogs571 View Post
    Don't believe the back is gorilla glass. Thought it was just the front.
    Both glasses are aluminosilicate (same substance as "gorilla glass" just not manufactured by Corning)
  8. #8  
    ahhh....kind of odd they farmed out to two different mfgs considering the control freaks they are.
    Pixi: Sold. Pre: Passed off to another rep. Touchpad: Just a toy until Cloud syncing arrives, and a better doc editor.
  9. jadiff's Avatar
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    #9  
    Sprint Palm Pre 1.4.5 @ 1G
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by crogs571 View Post
    ahhh....kind of odd they farmed out to two different mfgs considering the control freaks they are.
    Even after farming it out to multiple manufacturers, they can't keep up with demand. It's because they're control freaks that they haven't brought in even more manufacturers.
  11. #11  
    personally i don't think it will have any effect on there phones success. mostly cause it's still ridiculously in high demand but also the antenna was a design defect and it didn't hurt sales much at all. This isn't a defect. The phone works it's just fragile. In the same way hitting a pole at 10 miles an hour with a ferrari is gonna do more damage then the same impact on an Camry cause ferrari's have more fragile bumpers by design. That being said, one, there were videos mocking the "gorilla glass" on launch day. So this is not really a surprise though it may be much more publicized. But yeah i thought this stuff was like bullet proof.
  12. #12  
    Glass on both sides of the phone....i've seen enough cracked glass screens on people's iphone that i worry about those same people owning an iphone4 haha.
  13. #13  
    the side effect (intentional or not) of these so called stories (antenna, glass back/front, etc) is to drive sales of certain type of case manufacturers...
  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by dandbj13 View Post
    Well, let's see... The antenna FUD didn't work. Apple is still having trouble keeping them in stock. Now, I guess its time to try something new. If the glass was scratching and shattering in significant numbers, we would have already heard the outcry a long time ago.

    If people can't find a real public outcry against Apple, they will do their best to manufacture one. Pathetic!
    Being that this is now reported on CNN....how manufactured is it?
    Due to the cancellation of the penny, I no longer give 2 about anything. I may however, give a nickel
  15. #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by sledge007 View Post
    Being that this is now reported on CNN....how manufactured is it?
    That would depend entirely on CNN's source. Oh wait! It's the same source as everyone else on the interwebs: Ryan Block of gdgt and Engadget. So there you have it - one person posts an opinion piece about a device and suddenly it becomes a universal truth that "everyone is reporting on."

    While the report may be true, as of now Ryan's only supporting evidence is "According to my sources both inside and outside Apple" (and admittedly Ryan's contacts inside and outside of Apple are legion!), which may be sufficient for the likes of CNN, discerning individuals would rather have something a bit more concrete to base this on.

    Looks like you were soaked by this interwebs tsunami too, sledge.
  16. #16  
    guilty as charged
    Due to the cancellation of the penny, I no longer give 2 about anything. I may however, give a nickel
  17. tirk's Avatar
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    #17  
    And yet stock still sells out of Apple stores (at least here in London) within an hour or so of coming in, and there are not queues of unhappy users returning them either.

    It's a good smartphone for non-technical users, however much people hate Apple.
    PalmPilot Professional...Palm Vx...Treo 600...Treo 680...HTC Touch HD...iPhone 4S...
  18. #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by jadiff View Post
    One guy's opinion in one blog and now it's a worldwide epidemic ... or is it?
  19. #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by Kupe View Post
    One guy's opinion in one blog and now it's a worldwide epidemic ... or is it?
    since the antenna is externalized on the steel band, what justification was there to build the back with glass in the first place ??

    aesthetics over function ??
    755P Sprint SERO (upgraded from unlocked GSM 650 on T-Mobile)
  20. #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    since the antenna is externalized on the steel band, what justification was there to build the back with glass in the first place ??

    aesthetics over function ??
    Apple's motto you know that.
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