Ryan Block of gdgt is reporting that Apple’s iPhone engineering team are currently investigating a potential issue with third party slide-on cases and iPhone 4.
It looks like the slide-on cases that are prone to dirt getting caught between glass back panel of the iPhone and the case can cause scratches and in some cases can also result in shattering the rear pane of glass.
Ryan Block reports:
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.
According to Ryan’s sources, Apple engineers are actively investigating the potential design flaw in iPhone 4 to avoid things going out of control like the Antennagate and turning into ‘Glassgate’.
Ryan also claims that Apple had until this week blocked nearly all third-party iPhone 4 cases from its retail stores.
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.
Apple claims that the glass used in iPhone 4 is the same type of glass used in the windshields of helicopters and high-speed trains, which has been chemically strengthened to be 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic that makes it ultradurable and more scratch resistant than ever. So this report definitely comes as a surprise.
It remains to be seen if this issue turns into a major problem for Apple.
Based on this report it looks like the simplistic design of bumpers that Apple has just started selling again is the best case for iPhone 4.
If you are using a slide-on case for iPhone 4 then please tell us if you had any problems in the comments section below.[via gdgt]