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Apple's iPhone 3G is not all it's cracked up to be

Apple's 3G iPhone was met with much fanfare when it launched earlier this month. The new phone brought 3G download speeds, GPS hardware, and a new iTunes App Store among other things. The popularity of the iPhone brand along with the buzz created by Apple generated sales of over one million units worldwide within three days of launch.

All is not well in iPhone 3G land, however. The folks over at Engadget noticed that a number of people are noticing stress fractures/cracks in their iPhone 3G casings. The cracks seem to mostly affect owners of white 16GB iPhone 3G models, but owners of black iPhone 3Gs have reported problems as well (but to a lesser degree).

The majority of the cracks are showing up around the edges of the phone and near the headphone jack. Some people have reported seeing cracks as soon as a day after receiving the phone, while others saw cracks within the first one to two weeks of ownership.

Thankfully for most users, Apple's retail stores are replacing the defective units free of charge on the spot.

Many saw Apple's move to a plastic back for the iPhone 3G instead of aluminum (as seen on the original iPhone) as twofold -- the plastic backing allowed Apple to reduce production costs while at the same time increase reception for the greater number of radios within the chassis.

The news of the cracked iPhone 3Gs comes just a day after the phone was likened to Windows Vista in USA Today. The USA Today article pointed to supply problems, a cumbersome activation process, overloaded activation servers during launch day, and issues with the 2.0 firmware.

"Clearly, Apple is having manufacturing and software problems," said independent analyst Rob Enderle. "A star product like the iPhone does a lot of great things for Apple, but when things go wrong, it can bring down the entire image of a company."

"Vista wasn't finished, and that's what the iPhone feels like," Enderle continued. "It's been rushed onto market, even though it wasn't ready."

Apple 8GB iPhone 3G is available for $199 with a two-year contract with AT&T. The 16GB iPhone 3G rings in at $299 with a two-year contract.

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I've also got a white 16GB...
By robinthakur on 7/30/2008 6:05:46 AM , Rating: 1
And apart from showing the dirt more than the old design, there aren't any defects with it, though I don't want to speak too soon. Will be keeping an eyes on it and am looking forward to the next firmware update to make things a bit faster and hopefully improve other aspects. I think my first iPhones were slightly higher build quality however. Felt nicer with the metallic back than the plastic one too.

Very impressed so far overall, especially with GPS and maps. Having to use a Nokia the other day felt like going back in time, I can't understand when some (that care enough to slag off the iPhone) say that its like a phone from 2 years ago in terms of spec. Have these people ever used one?

RE: I've also got a white 16GB...
By Master Kenobi on 7/30/2008 8:25:59 AM , Rating: 5
Yes. I find (as a business user mind you) that the Blackberry is more conductive to everything I want/need. iPhone is handy, and from a regular joe consumer stand point it's probably a heck of an improvement over a regular cell phone (no doubt here). I settled on an iPod touch eventually for personal use since I hate AT&T, and I hate the carry cases for the iPhone. I'm a long time fan of the blackberry holster, or cell phone that clips on and off with ease. Since I have to carry both on my belt every day it becomes restrictive to either leave the iPhone in a pocket, or go with one of those miserable belt clips for it that hardly do it justice.

It's really an interesting paradox. By market, the iPhone competes against regular multi-featured cell phones. But by function (or attempted function, depending on who you ask) it competes with business class Smart Phones (Blackberry, Palm, etc...). Frankly I hated Palm from day one, the damn stylus drove me nuts. Blackberry was pretty good, but the wheel was semi-restrictive. Fast forward and the Blackberries are sporting the trackball and full keyboard (on most models) with better tie-in to existing systems. Blackberries and any device running WindowsCE is also far more conductive to the corporate IT environment. Better security, control of what users can/can't load, remote erase, push mail, push updates, etc.... iPhone has a few of those features but still is lacking.

RE: I've also got a white 16GB...
By robinthakur on 7/30/2008 9:01:38 AM , Rating: 1
I also have a Blackberry for my corporate email but only because of restrictions on what we can connect to the network. I think they need to focus on the corporate side, as rather alot of people here have iPhones for their personal phones but have to keep a blackberry due to reasons like lack of full encryption and first gen Exchange integration. Would be nice to dump the BB if functionality was there on the iPhone.

The iPod touch I *was* keen on when it came out and I bought one, but quickly got annoyed and got an iPod classic. There's no compatible remote, or volume buttons and constantly having to remove it from a pocket/case/sock etc quickly got old. I regard it as little more than a promotional taster to get people interested in the iPhone and quickly palmed it off.

While undoubtedly at the moment Windows Mobile and Blackberry are far more practical options for a corporate space, hopefully this will not be so black and white in the future when more features are implemented and Apple realises the potential strengths they have due to the demand from corporate users. While we wouldn't consider giving a windows mobile device to our users (they hate them)Blackberrys are still pretty much the norm. The iPhone can affect change at the highest levels, as if a managing director in our company gets annoyed that he can't check his email through the iPhone, or he can't access what he wants through his MBA (and they all seemingly insist on having MBA's now...) policy will be changed in due course.

I think that the iPhone manages to throw off the smart-phone stigma by making everything hyper user friendly and intuitive without having to resort to poking the screen with a little stick and squinting at tiny icons while navigating a billion menus in an interface designed for a much larger screen. iPhone seems like a smartphone for the consumer market rather than the corporate market, which is odd... MK, your belt sounds like Batman's utility belt.

RE: I've also got a white 16GB...
By DASQ on 7/30/2008 11:14:38 AM , Rating: 2
Ever tried the app called 'PocketTouch' for the iPod Touch?

Use it while playing music while it's in your pocket, and you swipe left/right to change songs, swipe up and down for volume. It is not a slider, it registers over the entire surface of the screen so required accuracy is minute. And the iPod Touch screen is sensitive enough that I can use it through the pants I wear.

RE: I've also got a white 16GB...
By ChefJoe on 7/30/2008 9:19:59 PM , Rating: 2
I was looking for PocketTouch on the app store and couldn't find it.

Google, however, told me you need a jailbroken phone/touch to do it.

By Master Kenobi on 7/30/2008 11:36:39 AM , Rating: 2
Sadly the utility belt joke isn't far off the mark. My last job I also carried a Leatherman as well. Right now I'm packing the Blackberry, a regular cell, and of course the ID badge to get me in and out of doors. Would suck if I had to add more to it (and on some days I do sadly).

RE: I've also got a white 16GB...
By Alexstarfire on 7/30/2008 1:59:46 PM , Rating: 2
Why does it seem like every person who gets Apple products always has the same item multiple times. My dad is on his 3rd or 4th iPod now, and apparently you've had more than 1 iPhone. Is it just me or do you not really see this with other products?

RE: I've also got a white 16GB...
By lantzn on 7/30/2008 4:17:01 PM , Rating: 4
It's called user satisfaction. Because Apple designs the hardware AND software they have the ability to make things work together well. Though they aren't perfect they often create products that most people enjoy using.

RE: I've also got a white 16GB...
By jeff834 on 7/31/2008 1:03:19 AM , Rating: 1
huh? He's not saying they are satisfied with one Apple product so they buy others, he's saying why do you need a new iphone or ipod if you had one already? Normal people have their cell phones for long periods of time. I work in a Sprint store and I see at least a few 4+ year old phones a day. Apple buyers are different though they tend to buy the same thing over and over again after every slight change that's made (not to say that going 3G isn't a big change, but why would you buy a 2G phone that's pretty much built for the internet in the first place?). "Well at first I had the 5GB ipod, then I had to get the 10 gig, then the 20 came out and I was like whoa way more capacity than necessary! But of course I couldn't live without my 4 gig nano, and well I needed the 60 gig video to watch endless Steve Jobs keynote speeches." But I suppose if you can afford Apple products you can afford a new one of the same thing every month. So the point is, if you enjoy using Apple products so much, why get a new version of the same thing constantly?

By robinthakur on 7/31/2008 7:43:34 AM , Rating: 2
Normal people have their cell phones for long periods of time

I think you mean most people. Not every person behaves like that, especially in other areas of the world where cellphone contracts are not as restrictive as in the US. I answered the reason on why I had multiple iPhones above (FOR PROFIT!:)

The first iPhone works with WiFi believe it or not, and I always have access to Wifi in most places in the UK where I live, hence didn't really see the big downside with it being 2G only.

Whilst some people do behave as you mention with regards to iPods/macbooks/iphones, at least anecdotally, most people I know that have them use them and keep them until they stop working or they fancy a change of colour/capacity/form factor because they are happy using them. If they weren't they get another device, maybe from a different brand. Price is not a big deciding factor for everybody, let's remember.

I have a nano to take to the gym with me, an iPhone as my personal phone, and an iPod classic in case i get fed up with the touch only interface and want all my music with me (I also have an iPod Touch 8GB which I got to sample the iPhone's interface before committing and now need to sell :@). I swear that some people here simply hate the idea that people might buy a device and then enjoy using it. Where's the beef? :)

By robinthakur on 7/31/2008 7:28:06 AM , Rating: 2
To answer your question, regarding multiple iPhones, I resold unlocked iPhones for massive profit early on when the 2G was launched. In fact its still paying for my 3G :) I used to get new iPods when a model came out with an improvement I wanted. Is that somehow unusual?

Apple do lock you in to iTunes (if you purchase the mp3's through them...) so I think this has something to do with it, and in general most iPod users never have REALLY bad experiences with them, despite what you read on the net and obvious things like the earbuds being rubbish. If you like what you've experienced from Apple, why would you take a punt on something like a Creative, iRiver or a brown Zune? (ok the last one is a joke) If I have a bad experience with the brand I'll look at what else is out there, so I'm not blinkered in any respect.

By audiomaniaca on 8/2/2008 3:21:59 AM , Rating: 2
Not necessarily.

I have an iphone and I'm not getting another.
Watching it hanging (yes, freezing) everyday
makes me pissed off about how much I spent
for something that hangs more than a WM device.

I've had the first imac, back in 2000. It was
the most unusable computer and silly mouse I've
ever seen. Never bought any other after that.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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