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iPhone 4 'Glassgate' class-action lawsuit is a new headache for Apple

A California resident has filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple, after the glass casing on his iPhone 4 broke after being dropped by his daughter.

Antennagate? So 2010, dahlings -- this year's must-have iPhone scandal is Glassgate! Apple is facing a class-action lawsuit in California, brought by a man who says the glass casing for his iPhone 4 broke when it was dropped by his daughter from a height of just 1 metre.

Donald LeBuhn wants Apple to refund the price of the iPhone 4, plus any repair fees, and also to stump up extra damages for "overpayment" by people for the devices. The lawsuit pulls no punches: "Months after selling millions of iPhone 4s, Apple has failed to warn, and continues to sell this product with no warning to customers, that the glass housing is defective."

The lawsuit has been categorised with previous complaints about the iPhone's glass casing, lumped together under the term 'Glassgate'.

We're dubious about how strong that link is: when GDGT blogger Ryan Block coined the term last year, he was referring to a specific problem with iPhone 4 and third-party cases, and it's not clear whether LeBuhn's handset had a non-Apple case or not.

It's true that on its website, Apple says the engineered glass used in the iPhone 4 is "chemically strengthened to be 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic" -- a claim that inevitably crops up whenever there's a complaint about the glass breaking.

Last year, electronics warranties firm SquareTrade made headlines with a survey of 20,000 iPhone-related accidents, reporting that the number of calls it had from iPhone 4 owners with damaged screens in the first four months was 82 per cent higher than for the iPhone 3GS. At the time, however, Computerworld pointed out that this meant 3.9 per cent of iPhone 4 owners overall, versus 2.1 per cent of iPhone 3GS owners.

LeBuhn is pressing ahead with his class-action lawsuit now. We have to admit to having dropped our iPhone 4 on to hard floors way too many times for our comfort, yet we haven't managed to smash it yet. Perhaps we need to borrow somebody's daughter to help out...