iBroke it – the trouble with iPhone screens and how the iPhone 5 is different

Like all sleek and beautiful objects of desire, the iPhone has been known to be a little more delicate than the more hardy, rough-around-the-edges devices. While Apple has acknowledged this and replaced phones and screens belonging to clumsy butter-fingered individuals, you would think that the new generation iPhone 5 would seek to make some much-needed improvements on their trademark glassy aesthetic.

Not only is a shattered screen an annoyance and heart-breaking to see but it must have cost Apple a pretty penny to replace all those phones. Their claims that the glass on the iPhone 4 was ’30 times harder than plastic’ may have been true but the kind of impact that dropping the device on a concrete floor has would be enough to destroy it. The flush ‘scratch-proof’ surface also doesn’t mean a hell of a lot if it’s not shatter-proof.

The iPhone 5 has indeed sought to diminish the threat of a cracked screen with ‘Gorilla glass’ – which is 20 percent stronger (while being 20 percent lighter) than the glass previously used. The new aluminium body also protects the phone when dropped, so even without a rubberised casing the new iPhone is much less likely to splinter or be completely destroyed in an accident. Even so, Apple will replace broken screens in-store from now on rather than replacing the phone with a new one, but this service is unlikely to be free and gratis.  A question to ask yourself when buying a phone is – How likely are you to drop it?  The eighteen months to two year wait for an upgrade could feel like a life sentence if you have to endure a fractured display for the majority of it or can’t afford the estimated $99 glass replacement fee.

According to’s Brian Barrett, “Gorilla Glass is an un-scratchable, un-shatterable material.”  “It’s not literally indestructible, and it’s still quite possible to shatter your iPhone’s screen. But it’s harder than it used to be.”


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