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Judge tosses lawsuit over cracked iPhone 4 glass

A California judge has dismissed a case accusing Apple of breaching its iPhone 4 warranty over cracked glass.

An iPhone 4 with a cracked screen being repaired.
An iPhone 4 with a cracked screen being repaired. Bill Detwiler/CNET

A lawsuit against Apple over the durability of the iPhone 4's glass was tossed out by a federal judge in California this week.

In an order this past Tuesday (PDF), U.S. District Judge Edward Davila dismissed a case filed by Betsalel Williamson on January 2011, which sought class-action status and accused Apple of breaching its warranty by charging for broken glass.

Williamson filed the complaint after damaging his 2-day-old iPhone 4, which dropped off the arm of a chair. Williamson pointed to claims made by Apple, including its industrial design chief Sir Jonathan Ive, that the glass on the device was "'comparable in strength to sapphire crystal' and 30 times harder than plastic."

The court thought that it was a "stretch" to suggest that the "ordinary purpose" of the device was to drop it as part of normal operation.

"It is a well-known fact of life that glass can break under impact, even glass that has been reinforced," Judge Davila wrote in the order. "The shattered window of a storefront, the cracked windshield of a car, and the chipped smartphone screen are routine encounters of modern existence."

Following the release of the iPhone 4 in 2010 there was some worry about both the immediate and longterm durability of a device given its use of glass on two sides, versus just the screen as found in previous models. Apple has continued to use the glass sandwich approach with the iPhone 4S, though it could switch to a mostly metal back in its upcoming model, which the company is expected to debut at its event next week.

(Via GigaOm and Law360)