updated 06:25 pm EDT, Thu October 7, 2010
May be keeping more cases out of Apple Stores
Apple is seriously concerned about the state of the glass on the iPhone 4, sources inside and outside of the company allege. Some time after problems with the device's antenna emerged, the engineering team is said to have identified another issue related to the rear glass. If dirt or debris gets trapped in a slide-on case covering the phone's back, this may potentially cause scratching. Whereas it would only ruin the look of an older iPhone, on the iPhone 4, the damage is thought to carry the risk of eventually cracking or outright fracturing the glass.
As a response, the company is said to have blocked sales of most iPhone 4 cases from Apple Stores. Only the online storefront is believed to have reversed the policy, and then just this week. The iPhone team is currently said to be running a lab with a large, dedicated test program, although there is no indication of a solution on the horizon.
The issue may be even more critical for case makers than it is for Apple. While the latter has the reputation of the iPhone at stake, as well as income reaped from accessory licensing, case manufacturers are significantly smaller and can generate much of their revenue from the high foot traffic at Apple outlets. These companies may have have been relegated to selling at third-party stores or from their own websites.