Prediction: Apple Makes Over $100 Million a Year Replacing Cracked iPhones

iPhone Cracked

iPhone Glass Shattered

Today TechCrunch posted an article with a video entitled “Watch An iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S II Take Three Nasty Drops Onto Concrete.”

There have been plenty of iPhone drop tests posted online, but what intrigued me about this particular post was the author’s claim that the results were “surprising.” If the results are surprising, I thought, then certainly the iPhone 4S glass would not shatter.

So I watched the video, and guess what: the iPhone 4S completely shattered after several drops, whereas the Samsung Galaxy remained virtually unscathed. This is not surprising.

If you do any research on the iPhone glass, you will find that cracked iPhone glass is extremely common. My two original posts on the subject are among the top 5 most trafficked posts on this website. Combined, these two posts have received over 40,000 unique visitors in the last month alone. That is approximately half a million iPhone users a year who discover my posts on cracked iPhone glass. And there are plenty of users who crack their glass and do not land on my posts.

Here’s the shocking part: If my half-million visitors who crack their iPhone glass each pay Apple’s $200 iPhone replacement fee, that is $100,000,000 (i.e. 100 million dollars!) per year that Apple generates simply replacing iPhones with cracked glass (500-thousand multiplied by 200). Designing crack-prone iPhones is certainly a profitable business! Especially because repairing an iPhone’s cracked glass probably costs Apple far less than 200 dollars.

Now, the question is, if Samsung’s Galaxy phone can endure drops without cracking, why can’t Apple’s iPhone? For a technology company that is so brilliant at product design, I have a hard time believing that Apple cannot design the iPhone to be more crack-proof.

But evidently there is BIG money in designing breakable products. In fact, the issue is so common that I have had lawyers contact me saying they believe the cracked iPhone glass problem is worthy of a class-action lawsuit.

What do you think? Is Apple jipping its customers by purposely designing iPhones that break easily?

How to Fix Your iPhone Home Button… With a Vacuum Cleaner

iPhone Home Button Vacuum Cleaner

Last year, I complained about my iPhone 3GS home button losing sensitivity and becoming increasingly difficult to press. A year later, my iPhone 4 home button has the same issue, and worse.

A faulty home button could be the result of several things. It could have water damage, it could have dust clogged beneath it, or it could be intentionally planned by Apple to become obsolete.

If your home button is hard to press, your best bet is to take it to the Apple Store and see if they can replace your phone at the Genius Bar under warranty.

But if, like me, you live far away from the nearest Apple Store, or if your warranty is void for whatever reason, then I advise you to try this unconventional, but somewhat-effective fix for a faulty iPhone home button: suck the dust out of your iPhone charging port with a vacuum cleaner.

I read about vacuuming your iPhone in an Apple Support forum and was skeptical, but I tried it and, although it did not solve the problem completely, it worked to an extent. Pressing my home button no longer stresses my finger as much as it used to after trying the vacuum fix.

Just connect the hose attachment to your vacuum cleaner, turn on the vacuum and put the hose up to the charging port at the bottom of your iPhone.

You may want to use a pair of tweezers or a needle to take out dust particles as they are pulled into the charging port.

Do this a few times, and if you are lucky like me, then your home button will be at least slightly easier to press.

iPhone Issue: Home Button Hard to Press, Losing Sensitivity Over Time

iPhone Home Button Not Working

I have noticed in the last couple months that my iPhone 3GS home button is growing gradually unresponsive. Whereas a light click used to activate my home button without fail, the same amount of pressure now goes unnoticed by the iPhone. I now have to press harder for the home button to respond to my touch, and the constant double-tapping required to bring up iOS4’s app switcher places noticeable stress on my thumbs.

The home button issue was raised by a user in the MacRumors forum in November 2007, and the thread contains 4 pages of related complaints from iPhone customers with faulty home buttons. The complaints range from first-gen iPhone to 3G to 3GS users, though I have found no reports about an iPhone 4 home button issue as of this writing. It may be too early to tell.

Although the weaker home button on my iPhone 3GS has been apparent for a couple of months, it was never a huge inconvenience since I normally only tapped the home button once at any given time. Now that the iOS4 update has brought multitasking to the iPhone, the double-clicking required to activate the feature makes the home button problem that much more aggravating.

Pushing towards the bottom of the home button seems to work better, though not reliably.

These days, using my iPhone for a long period of time reminds me of the sore thumbs I had as a kid after playing too many video games. This is not a good sign, given the hand health risks associated with video gaming. No one deserves to get carpal tunnel syndrome from their iPhone, yet the possibility is a real one if Apple has not improved this issue with the iPhone 4.

I have not yet attempted to take my iPhone to the Apple Store, since there is no store in my town and my expired warranty has discouraged me from driving to a distant Apple Store only to be turned away. Although I will soon switch to an iPhone 4 (still awaiting delivery), I would like to sort this issue out if possible so that I can get a good price for my iPhone 3GS when I sell it on eBay.

Is Your iPhone Home Button Faulty, Too?

Is your iPhone home button less responsive than when you originally got the phone? If you were able to solve the home button issue, I would love to know your advice for fixing it.

Will iPhone 4 Be Less Prone to Cracked Glass?

Cracked iPhone Screen

A few years ago I dropped my iPhone on the ground, cracked the glass, and paid a whopping $250 to get it replaced.

I wrote a couple posts about the cracked iPhone screen incident and have since received hundreds upon hundreds of comments on them from readers who also had bad experiences damaging their iPhone screens. A couple of lawyers even claimed Apple deserved to be sued over the issue.

Now, Steve Jobs has announced that Apple has developed a new “glass that’s 30 times harder than plastic” for iPhone 4.

Did Apple develop a stronger iPhone glass in response to the thousands of iPhone users who have made the expensive mistake of cracking their iPhone screens?

Hopefully fewer people will be victims of cracked iPhone screens once the new iPhone is released. Has this ever happened to you?

Cracked iPhone Screen a Problem for Many Users

A post I wrote on my cracked iPhone screen over two years ago has received over 200+ comments from readers who had similar experiences damaging the glass on their iPhones.

Cracked iPhone Screen

In January of 2008, I shattered my iPhone screen and took a trip to the Apple Store to get it repaired. I paid $250 to exchange my broken phone with a refurbished iPhone. Apple does not repair cracked iPhone screens. Instead they classify your iPhone as damaged, give you a replacement iPhone, and ship your broken one off to be refurbished for the next poor sucker who drops his iPhone.

There are now third-party iPhone glass repair companies that will fix your iPhone for far less than the Apple Store. Of course, Apple might void your warranty if you use a third-party iPhone repair service, but that may be worth the savings, considering the high cost to replace your iPhone at the Apple Store.

Various accounts from commenters on my original post raise the question of whether Apple is being fair to its iPhone customers:

Apple will not even consider for a moment that this very serious and apparently common issue is worth investigating, it is far easier to class it as abuse while reaching their hands out and expecting me to fork over $300 for something that would cost them no more than $20-$30 to fix. So now here I am, with 3 iphones, 2 of which are broken.

My daughter tripped while hers was in her pocket the phone did not hit the ground but the screen shatter. (I saw it happen) The apple store wanted 200 for a new phone. She is 17 and bought it with her babysitting money, after doing quite a bit of online research chose the iphone over the blackberry. No where was it disclosed that the screen is so fragile.

My mother’s iPhone screen cracked not too long ago as well. We documented our experience with Apple’s service department.

In brief, Apple refuses to do repairs on broken iPhone screens because they fall under the category of “accidental damage” and therefore are not covered under warranty. Instead, the only option they give customers is to buy a replacement for $199, the same price as the new iPhone 3G coming out on July 11th.

Is Apple being unfair to iPhone users by not offering a reasonably-priced glass repair service? Readers report Apple’s replacement iPhones are now $199, down from the $250 I paid two years ago, but nevertheless an inflated price to pay for a relatively simple repair.

Given the high risk of cracking your iPhone screen, the lack of available insurance, and the high cost of replacing an iPhone, Apple must be making a killing off of iPhone users who have cracked their iPhone screens.

A couple of attorneys even left comments on my original post, speculating that the iPhone’s commonly cracking screen could be worthy of a class-action lawsuit.

Hopefully Apple’s upcoming iPhone will be more injury-proof.

What do you think?

Are cracked iPhone screens worth a legal battle? Do you think the iPhone screen is too prone to cracking, or is a touchscreen phone naturally more likely to crack because of its glass surface? Please share your opinion in the comments.

iPhone Glass Repair: My Visit to the Apple Store

I went to the Apple Store in Miami today to get a replacement iPhone after my iPhone glass cracked when I dropped it on my wood floor.

Apple Store

Read about my iPhone glass repair experience below:

Since I read on the iPhone warranty that “service may not be available if your iPhone has been damaged due to accident or abuse,” I was expecting that the iPhone glass repair would cost me and that I would not get a free replacement.

iPhone Glass Repair Cost

I was right. Despite my pleas, both the tech support rep and a manager insisted that the warranty would not cover any physical damage and that I would have to cover the cost of the iPhone glass repair myself.

So I reluctantly handed over $250 big ones — an act I’m hoping to soon forget — to get myself a replacement iPhone.

iPhone Broken Glass

Apple’s repair fee for the iPhone is much too high, in my opinion. I feel that charging $250 for something that probably costs far less to fix is taking advantage of customers.

Apple knows that once I’ve paid the hefty price for an iPhone, I’m not likely to leave it damaged and buy a competitor’s phone, especially when there are few phones out there that can offer the same user experience. They could probably charge an iPhone glass repair fee of $400, the price of a new iPhone, and people would still pay up.

So I went home and tried to forget about the arm and the leg I’d just given to Apple in exchange for a new iPhone. Then, as I was importing my backed up contacts from iTunes and upgrading to firmware version 1.1.3, I noticed a significant discoloration on the chrome that I had missed before.

Had the iPhone replacement cost me $50, I would have disregarded the smudge, but for $250 I refused to settle for a new iPhone that was anything less than perfect. So, irritated, I drove back to the Apple Store and explained this to a manager.

Although he was nice, he tried to explain to me that certain defects are “within spec,” and that I might be out of luck.

He said, “for example, if a pixel on the screen is out, that would be within spec and we wouldn’t be required to replace it.” In other words, “if we give you a damaged product, it’s not our fault.”

I refused to accept such a nonsense policy, so the manager agreed to put me on standby so that I could talk to a tech support rep at the Genius bar. Once I was called up, the tech support employee replaced my phone without hesitation.

Now I’ve finally got a clean, functioning iPhone. Next week, I’m ordering myself a case so that this doesn’t happen again. Have you ever had to deal with a cracked iPhone screen? Did you have any luck with an iPhone glass repair service other than Apple’s?

In my panic, I probably spent more than I had to on fixing my broken iPhone. After doing research and hearing about other people’s experience cracking their iPhone glass, I decided to put together this guide, “iPhone Fixes,” that summarizes the options available to fix your broken iPhone. You can download it below:

iPhone Fixes: An iPhone Repair Guide

iPhone Fixes: A Summary of Options to Fix Your Broken iPhone
… and How to Ensure That it Never Happens Again!

Messed-Up iPhone? Don’t Panic…

This free guide tells you what you can do to get your iPhone fixed quickly, cheaply, and professionally.

  • How to avoid Apple’s high replacement and repair fees
  • How to fix it yourself and save $$$
  • How to hire a third-party repair professional
  • The best cases and covers to prevent future damage

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