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The iPhone is not rugged enough for field use


user13371
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Yesterday in line at the Genius Bar, the lady next to me gingerly laid her iPhone on the counter. It looked not entirely unlike the Macbook above. The touch sensor and glass screen were toast, but the LCD was OK. Fixed price repair: $199. (Of course, this lead to the predictable "But I only paid $129 for the fone." "No, the fone costs $600 and is subsidized with the service contract." discussion.)

 

It's funny that I thought at the time that it was a good reminder why these spiffy devices like iPhones, Nuvis, and Droids and such really aren't great caching devices. $199 will buy you any of several different outdoors GPS that are meant to take some smacking around.

 

Oh, and the lady's sin? Drop it? Nope. She was removing it from the plastic case and squeezed it too hard, so her fingers slipped from the shell she was taking off and into the screen. Yes, she crushed it with her bare hands...

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Robert, I agree that just about any well-made, dedicated GPS is a better choice for field uses than any current model, uncased smartphone.

 

But more importantly: While I believe you truthfully conveyed what you saw and heard -- I don't believe the woman's story. I carry my iPhone without case and have dropped it on hard surfaces, carried around in my hip pocket, and generally subjected to much worse abuse than described in your lady's story. Trust me, she didn't crush it with her bare hands and it didn't "just break." If they were that fragile then mine would be dust by now.

 

I've also worked (ages ago) in retail computer repair, and am well familiar with computers that were brought in that the customer insists "just broke" for no obvious reason. The best were the laptops shorted out and reeking of burned coffee and had stains inside and under the keyboard. "No, I didn't spill anything, honest!"

 

Also -- if the phone was under warranty (1 year by default, 3 years with AppleCare), even a broken screen is covered unless there are obvious signs of abuse. Screens can often be replaced in the store in a few minutes, as most of the Apple stores have the equipment and parts on hand to do this repair.

 

Her phone must have REALLY been beat up - more wrong with it than just a cracked screen - and/or out of warranty - for her to have been stuck with the repair charge.

Edited by lee_rimar
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She had no expectation of it being repaired in warranty and it wasn't like she was playing the "I just sneezed near it and the screen asploded" card. She was quite convinced that it was her fault and that she deserved to be punished $199 for her sins. Her description of the plastic case she was trying to remove and the actions she took to break it were convincing enough for me. It sounded like she had some kind of plastic case thingy on it and she was pressing down and sliding to remove it. She got a little brutal with it and her thumbs left the case and she wound up mashing the screen.

 

After she'd left, I even joked with the staff that the whole "$199 to fix a '$129' fone" conversation must be great fun to have. They said it was, by far, their least favorite thing to explain.

 

I, too, used to work retail and would deal with Christmas toy returns that were "dead out of the box", yet when inspected, were covered with mud and dog hair. That gig surely contributed a lot to my cynicism toward humanity.

 

After writing my post above, I continued through my list of RSS feeds for the evening. Interestingly, http://phandroid.com/2009/12/17/the-first-fallen-droid/ was on list.

 

PC1116261-550x412.jpg

 

The story isn't nearly as interesting as having airport security terrorize a visitor and empty a few rounds into it as was with the Macbook above, but I still cringe at beautiful tech dying a horrible death in this way.

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I have to agree with lee_rimar, and can't simply believe the young lady's story. It isn't possible to simply break an iphone just like that. First of all: the iphone isn't stuck in a piece of plastic in the box in a way that makes it difficult to get hold on. You just take it out of the box with ease.

 

I believe that the young lady have made herself a favorite story to tell the 'curious', or to the Apple/iPhone critics she meets every day, just to fire upon their stubborn hatred against the iPhone and/or Apple. An iPhone owner would never have believed her story.

 

People enjoy all sorts of 'funny' games. :D

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...Her description of the plastic case she was trying to remove and the actions she took to break it were convincing enough for me. It sounded like she had some kind of plastic case thingy on it and she was pressing down and sliding to remove it. She got a little brutal with it...
She must have. If she ever gets mad at her husband she'll probably make the 11 o'clock news.

 

Ironically, the only damage to my iPhone was caused by a protective case.

 

I bought a Griffin Clarifi case because I wanted the close-up lens for the camera. After a month or so I took it the phone out of the case to show it to someone -- and noticed a scrape on the back where the lens slider was. Since then I've carried the phone around uncased in my pocket, resgined to the idea that the phone is gonna get used for a couple of years, it's just gonna get a little beat up.

 

Y'know what? The only visible scuff on the phone is the one made by the Clarifi.

Edited by lee_rimar
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