TECH
10/08/2010 11:22 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

More iPhone 4 Problems: Another Design Flaw Uncovered?

Apple's "revolutionary" iPhone 4 came under intense scrutiny earlier this year over the device's "death grip" reception issues. According to a report from gdgt, the phone may have yet another design flaw.

Gdgt's Ryan Block speculates that Apple may have to face "glassgate" in the wake of its "antennagate" problems:

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. To put it another way: Apple is afraid you might buy a standard slide-on iPhone case, put it on your phone, and then discover the next time you take it off that the entire back of your device has been shattered by no fault of your own.

According to Block, Apple has responded by limiting the sales of non-bumper, third-party iPhone 4 cases (which can cause scratches that can lead to cracking and even fractures), and has launched tests, within Apple, that are focused on investigating these issues further.

Gizmodo opines that Block's report is credible as it helps to explain a number of recent developments, including, "Why, in part, the bumper cases are designed the way they are. (There's no contact with the glass back, and it covers the iPhone 4's antenna.) Why there's been a relative dearth of iPhone 4 accessories on shelves. And why the WSJ reports that the next iPhone will have an entirely different form factor-- to solve the problems inherent to the iPhone 4's design."

CNN notes that previous Apple products, including its iPhone, have suffered from cracking: "Both the Mac G4 Cube, which was introduced in 2000, and the iPhone 3G experienced reports from users that the outsides were developing "hairline surface cracks."

The Wall Street Journal suggested in an article Wednesday that Apple is developing an "iPhone 5" that "would be a different form factor than those that are currently available." (See what it might look like)

When he unveiled the iPhone 4, Apple CEO Steve Jobs boasted that the new smartphone's glass screen was more scratch-resistant and stronger than plastic.

However, the blog iFixYouri wrote in June that they had found "a design flaw that will bite [Apple] in the future." Specifically, "On the new iPhone, the glass basically sits on top of the aluminum frame. On the old iphone, it was recessed and protected by a chrome bezel," iFixYouri wrote.

Have you experienced cracking or fracturing with your iPhone 4? Do you think there is a design issue? Tell us below.