The design of Apple'shas come under renewed scrutiny, following claims that slide-on cases may cause the device's glass back to crack. The allegations come only months after were first reported.
According to an article by Ryan Block, co-founder of gdgt, the problem is that slide-on cases, as opposed to cases that pop on, can trap material between the case and the glass back of the handset, causing scratches that could develop into fractures and cracks. Block reports that Apple became aware of the issue after the antenna debacle, and has created a lab and test programme to investigate the problem.
Block also claims the problem is the reason behind the current absence of slide-on cases for the iPhone 4 in both Apple's online store and physical outlets. We rang an Apple shop to check whether we could buy any slide-on cases for the iPhone 4 and were told we couldn't, even though these types of cases have been available in the past.
A sales representative told us that slide-on cases had been available for free as part of the company's response to, but that they had now been taken off general sale.
We asked case manufacturers Griffin and Proporta why Apple has stopped selling their slide-on cases in its store. While Griffin wouldn't make a comment, Mike Coombes, managing director of Proporta, had this to say:
"Proporta is not aware of any problems with cases. We still firmly believe that using a case is the best way to protect your mobile phone. Proporta customers get extra security as we offer a lifetime guarantee on all cases. If customers have any problems with products we encourage them to come forward as we take their experience with us very seriously."
There are still plenty of places to buy slide-on cases for the iPhone 4 besides Apple's outlets, however. As such, whether the cracked-glass issue is a genuine problem or not will undoubtedly soon become clear.
We haven't seen any evidence of cracked glass due to this issue so far. Let us know in the comments section below if you have.