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Looking for the most reliable smartphone? You'll want the iPhone 4 then. Keen to avoid the handset most prone to accidental damage? Steer clear of the... er... iPhone 4. SquareTrade, a US provider of extra warranty cover, tracks such details, and last night revealed that, according to the claims made against its warranties, the …

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Not quite sire I agree with some of the conclusions

The article says that iPhone users are like most smartphone users so the damage figures from drops must be hardware.

Well considering the iPhone is for the image/fashion concious, a flighty type of person IMHO, I think they're more likely to drop them when they fly into some emotional outburst while proclaiming to all that they want Steve Job's love child.

Just to be clear, I do loathe and despise iPhones and all things fruity, but I do think we should be blamig the users not the manufacturers for this high incidence rate.

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Stop

New toys cause failure in the old ones

Oooh, you were so close to the right answer. In fact, it is the users' fault but it is (I'm reliably informed people who work both for Vodafone and various insurance companies) actually because they want a brand new toy when the next one comes out.

Apparently accident rates sky-rocket when Steve does his messiah appearance and produces the latest model.

I too despise Apple and all its iOS devices, but one must be realistic in criticism else it just appears like "the crazed ramblings of a drugged horse." (c) C. Morris et al, 1997.

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/agree

"actually because they want a brand new toy when the next one comes out."

^ This.

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Anonymous Coward

Agree

I was thinking the same thing - any figures on accident rates need to be adjusted for the proportion of users that bought accident insurance or they are pretty meaningless.

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Absolutely!

"actually because they want a brand new toy when the next one comes out."

Yup.

Every time a new model of his preferred phone comes out, our VP can be guaranteed to swing by our office withyin a couple of days observing that his existing phone has suddenly stopped working and can he have the new one.

Curious, that.

especially the physical damage which seems to be the cause of his previously beloved but now old phone's sudden malfunction...

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Gold badge
Happy

Lower spill rates?

Or just that lacking keyboards, buttons and other such places where split liquids on the front find their way into the internals they're just far less likely to suffer damage as a result?

I'd have thought that an iPhone would be rather more likely to find itself sat vulnerably on a table next to some ersatz coffee confection* than more prosaic devices......

*i.e. something sold in the likes of Starbucks with a name comprising four or more esoteric buzzwords which may be decoded as the likes of: "a large decaffinated coffee with low fat milk".

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Paris Hilton

Decaf-skinny-mocha-choca-chino with a shot of vanilla?

Paris loves a shot of something creamy with a coffee.

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Coat

A high accident rate..

is what you get when you design a phone to be a shard of glass and don't do anything to give it grip. Further.. using glass for something that WILL DROP at least least once in the early part of it's life is.. I want to say retarded, but then I'll probably drown in the fanboi foam that will wash this thread.. so we'll say very Steve-Jobs-esque..

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"I'll probably drown in the fanboi foam that will wash this thread"

So far there are nine comments which range from highly anti-Apple to neutral. Not one rabid iFan yet.

In case you hadn't noticed, this is The Register. Seems almost everyone here hates Apple.

Relax, you're among friends.

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@Tony Chandler

Shush! You're ruining their straw men.

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The drop rate may probably be the same across each phone model...

...but whether or not it survives by bouncing is another story. The other half has dropped her Blackberry Storm (with no case at the time) on the odd hard surface with not even a scratch. Put glass on both sides of it and a crack is more likely.

Cases can also mess up the results. The N97 (which would probably put Nokia in the lead for most faults in a handset) doesn't lend itself readily to a case, where the iPhone can be covered almost entirely in a nice bouncy silicon cover.

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Thumb Up

Drop damage

I dropped my smartphone, before it got to three weeks old (thankfully not any fruity brand) from several feet, landing on the corner, bouncing once and sliding across concrete on it's face. Didn't even need to turn it back on; and worst damage was a scuffed back (about ten bucks to replace if I really got bugged by it). Now THAT is robust..

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WTF?

Err?

"That last number is interesting: the BlackBerry malfunction rate after 12 months is 6.3 per cent, the highest, according to SquareTrade."

Lowest?

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Plot a Different Graph

It would also be interesting to plot "breakages or lost phones" against new model releases. I bet there'd be a spike around such a time against all models, but particularly the iPhone.

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Grenade

Yeah right...

"best built smartphone"

...

I thought we all agreed antennaegate showed iPhone 4 to be anything but the best built smartphone due to the inclusion of a fundamental design flaw?

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Exactly

What with all those people returning their defective iPhones.

Oh wait...

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FAIL

Design fault != Build quality defficiency

That is, it works as designed - though the design may be flawed.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Exactly

You do realise this is a third party maintenance provider who has provided the stats? The vast majority of defective iPhones go back to the mobile operator and then on to Apple, or if purchased from an Apple store then it goes back to the store. Therefore it is highly probable that these statistics provided by SquareTrade are not accurate.

As per SquareTrade's report:

"Only malfunctions reported directly to SquareTrade are included in the data. Other malfunctions, including software/hardware issues handled directly by Apple, problems associated with product recalls, and those fixed by software/firmware updates, may not be represented in this data."

There you go, most Apple problems are dealt with directly by Apple and therefore SquareTrade has no data on those failures to include in their reported statistics. Besides, the iPhone 4 has the highest total overall failure rate according to SquareTrade's report.

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Stop

Apples and Pears?

I can't see how by comparing individual models from Apple, with the entire output from other manufacturers you can draw any conclusions about the which individual smart phone model is most reliable. What a nonsense!

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FAIL

Many Bothans died to bring us this title

Exactly, some HTC & Motorola devices and all BlackBerry devices have keypads or full keyboards - what's going to be more susceptible to damage & spills? Those or a device with 3 or 4 external buttons?

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Jobs Halo

Rubber band

Doesn't the iPhone 4 need a rubber band around it to work anyway?

Won't that provide grip? - See it's a feature, not a bug

</sarcasm>

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Damage rates

The snag with tracking damage claims is that someone actually has to go to the bother of getting their phone repaired.

Most people have a Blackberry because it is a tool. They're not that bothered if it gets a bit damaged. In fact, I find it rare these days to see a Crackberry at work that hasn't lost some bit of its faceplate, or a button or two. Yet no-one minds too much. So long as they can continue to get their email, they're fine.

An iPhone on the other hand. I'd weep if I got a scratch on my 600 quid iPhone 4 (disclaimer: I don't have an iPhone 4). Therefore, much more likely to claim on the insurance -- even if it means stumping up a fair amount of cash for the excess.

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Apples and oranges

Er, anyone notice how iphone's are seperated yet the HTC/BB/Other models are lumped into one thus distorting the reality field? I'm sure if you combine the iphones together the results and weight it against the number of models say that there is a relative consitency across all manufacturers over failure rates.

The link to the report shows an interesting note about not including Apple fixes.

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*facepalm*

So you're taking the fact that the iPhone accident rate as being signifigant, but the fact that TWICE AS MANY people spill drinks on their Motorola as being irrelevant?

Lies, damned lies, and statistics...

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Thumb Up

"Won't that provide grip? - See it's a feature, not a bug"

I applaud you for coming up with a fairly coherent and reasonable justification for bumpers. Expect a 'Jobs' offer any time now! (See what I did there? Yeah you do!)

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Reliable only with 0% RH

I thought that there was a special blob of gloop that changes colour if you take an iPhone indoors after being outside in the cold, or if you breathe too hard on the area where the dock connector is (and where your mouth is for phone calls).

It is said that this blob of gloop invalidates your warrantee, because the phone has been damaged from the humidity.

So Apple says that the iPhone is damaged by bringing it in from the cold or talking into it?

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Moisture indicators

If you're talking about the moisture indicators then you're deluded, all phones have them and it was probably Nokia that invented the damn things.

They're used to prevent fraudulent returns after people have done stupid things like going swimming with their phones. It keeps return costs low and ensures the companies don't have to past on the cost of fraudulent warranty claims to the customer.

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Stop

Style of usage

Actually, from casual observation on public transport and in the street every day, I rather think iphone usage is different: though one sees a few other mobiles being stroked and stared at lovingly in public, iphone owners seem to live with theirs in their hands, using the internet, looking at their music collections, taking photographs, looking at photographs, sometimes even telephoning or sending messages. i.e. it seems to be a device that owners use as soon as they sit down or stand still or stroll slowly, spending more of its time exposed to accident than the average mobile and widely used by the young and careless, . An iphone seems to live more precariously in its owner's hands much of the time, rather than in a pocket or handbag, than most smart-phones. One could argue that the low friction case should have taken this into account of course. One can get all bitter and twisted that some warped principles predicate against you possessing one. But the popularity of the device speaks for itself.

Comparison of a single model's popularity with that of a plethora of models from many manufacturers would not be accepted in any other field of statistics. Even the Blackberry comes in various flavours.

My son, anti-Apple though he is, got an iphone 4 and grudgingly admits to being delighted, using it privately and for work. He even managed to drop it onto a concrete floor early on and was relieved to find no apparent ill effects.

Personally, I just want a mobile 'phone and have a Nokia (C-5 if you must know) with long battery life and good call quality. It too seems to withstand the odd crash to the ground.

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Anonymous Coward

tough little buggers.

I can also vouch for the 'toughness' of the iPhone 4. While running on a treadmill at the gym last week I somehow managed to get my earphone cable tangled... dropping the phone onto the moving belt, thereby shooting it backwards off the treadmill and into a painted breeze block wall. After removing the paint from one of the corners of my phone it was undamaged. The wall, however, has a nice little dent.

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iPhones...Everywhere!

I don't think that iPhone usage is fundamentally any different than other high-end smartphone's. Perhaps the prevalence of the iPhone gives that illusion; if you see someone using a touchscreen phone, chances are it will be an iPhone. My own phone is often mistaken for an iPhone (Samsung Galaxy S); the 3G/S was undoubtedly the inspiration for it's design.

I can, however, see why owners of entry level smartphones may on the whole use them less frequently . The lumping of multiple handsets across feature/price ranges in this report does render it somewhat worthless.

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slips and falls

I figure a lot of the iphone4 dropping is down to it sliding off the arms of chairs and stuff as it's so slippy.

Also, bit unfair to plot the failure rate of an entire companies phone output (htc) agains one product of anothers.

How would this stack up if it were, say, one single HTC phone vs the Iphone 4? Surely that would be a more truthful figure?

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Reading these comments...

It just struck me. Are there really, well, I suppose we must call them people, who, upon the release of a new iShiny device... INTENTIONALLY damage their current iShiny, and then, blue eyes shining innocently, claim to their insurers that their property was damaged only by Cruel Fate itself?

Please tell me, if such people exist at all, how are they punished? What circle of Hell is reserved for them? How, in a Universe ruled by a Being that is both omnipotent and good, can such an evil be allowed to exist?

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@tanj666, @Tzael. @Tony Chandler

"Well considering the iPhone is for the image/fashion concious, a flighty type of person IMHO..."

Jeez, where's this guy been the last couple of years. The image/fashion thing was a pathetic arguement a couple of years ago. Spouting it now is this guys attempt at retro, retro.

"I thought we all agreed antennaegate showed iPhone 4 to be anything but the best built smartphone..."

'we all agreed'? Are you 12 years old? The iPhone is supposed to be best built smartphone and most popular going by the number I see on the train these days.

"In case you hadn't noticed, this is The Register. Seems almost everyone here hates Apple. Relax, you're among friends."

'You're among friends' Give me strength (Who are these people and why are they so weird.)

Haven't you noticed how hard it is to intimidate Apple people. They just don't care what you think as they are more than happy with their iPhones and macs and they have a sneeking suspicion, and its getting stronger all the time, that maybe their phone and specially their mac is better than anything Meenymynytitsitotsisoft could release. And they are probably reading all these pitiful criticisms here on The Register right now, wondering where you lot were dug up from, and just feeling a little smug.

Nope I'm not a fanboi and have never even touched a mac, so don't give a monkeys one way or another, but I do own the latest Nokia mess of a phone.

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Re: @tanj666, @Tzael. @Tony Chandler

We can do without the insults thank you. See another of my posts above for some pertinent information taken directly from the SquareTrade report. These published statistics are not complete, nor are they even fair given that they single out particular models of iPhone but group together all phones for other manufacturers.

If you can't see the flaws with this report then that's fine by me, I've simply tried to point you in the right direction but it's up to you to open your eyes and acknowledge the reality. That's best achieved by reading the complete report, including the 'small print'.

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Anonymous Coward

Eh?!

"We can do without the insults thank you." You should have thought about that before you started with your ad hominems! I'm not suggesting for one minute that Jessica should call you names either (bad Jessica!), but to get upset because someone called you a name as a result of *your* name calling (however innocent you think it is) is churlish.

"These published statistics are not complete, nor are they even fair given that they single out particular models of iPhone but group together all phones for other manufacturers." So you disagree with the findings and try and discredit them by suggesting that they aren't fair as the iPhone comes out on top because it is being treated differently? Ok, so add the iPhone 4 to the 3G/s groups and what do you think you'll see? I'll tell you; more or less the same result, statistically, i'd go as far to suggest a slight improvement for the iPhone. If you separate the other models out, I'd expect the results to remain about the same.

'If you can't see the flaws with this report then that's fine by me, I've simply tried to point you in the right direction but it's up to you to open your eyes and acknowledge the reality.' And if you can't see the flaws in your prejudiced argument, then that is fine too!

"That's best achieved by reading the complete report, including the 'small print'." Reading the report is fine, comprehending it's content, on the other hand, is evidently a different matter.

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Re: @Tzael

"the iPhone 4 has the highest total overall failure rate according to SquareTrade's report".

This does not make sense. Maybe SquareTrade aren't very good at testing.

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FAIL

Re: Eh?

AC you need to learn to read. You'll probably take that as an insult or something, but go ahead and read my posts in this discussion and you'll see I haven't called anyone any names, nor used insulting terminology (veiled or otherwise).

I have simply pointed out the same thing that others have noticed; the statistics are fundamentally flawed because they do not take into account the quantities of iPhone repairs that are handled directly by Apple. In addition the report groups together entire brands of phone, instead of offering a break-down (excuse the pun) of individual models as it does for the iPhone. I hate repeating myself but you clearly demonstrated that you don't read by claiming I was calling names and being insulting when there isn't a shred of a post I've made in this discussion that allows you to draw such a conclusion.

It's a shame you feel the need to hide behind the AC moniker, I'm sure if you were to post under your usual name on this site then you would be a little less dramatical and demonstrate significantly more reason.

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Anonymous Coward

Meh...

"AC you need to learn to read." I learned in 1978, when did you? You responded to a criticism aimed at a group, my 'you' was in response to your 'we'. As I previously suggested, comprehension is the issue here, illustrated beautifully by your not knowing the difference between design flaw and build quality.

"You'll probably take that as an insult or something" No, I have thicker skin than that.

"but go ahead and read my posts in this discussion and you'll see I haven't called anyone any names, nor used insulting terminology (veiled or otherwise)" Point taken. Again, my response was initially to the group.

"I have simply pointed out the same thing that others have noticed; the statistics are fundamentally flawed because they do not take into account the quantities of iPhone repairs that are handled directly by Apple." That is a factor, but I question if your claims impede the results with any degree of significance.

"In addition the report groups together entire brands of phone, instead of offering a break-down (excuse the pun) of individual models as it does for the iPhone." It separates the iPhone 4 from the 3G/3Gs models. The separation doesn't significantly alter the outcome of the survey. Aggregating the iPhone scores would very possibly lead to a better result for the iPhone. Conversely separating the other brands handsets would possibly make things seem worse for the other handset manufacturers. The data as it has been represented seems sound; it simply shows something that you don't agree with.

"I hate repeating myself..." I don't know who you think you are but 'I don't like repeating myself'? Really? ODFO...

"...but you clearly demonstrated that you don't read by claiming I was calling names and being insulting when there isn't a shred of a post I've made in this discussion that allows you to draw such a conclusion." For someone that claims to not liking self-repetition, you are labouring the point somewhat.

"It's a shame you feel the need to hide behind the AC moniker, I'm sure if you were to post under your usual name on this site then you would be a little less dramatical and demonstrate significantly more reason." Rubbish. User name has nothing to do with it and using a 'handle' or just a first given name is tantamount to being AC IMHO. Would you be as supercilious face to face? I doubt it. The word is 'dramatic', by the way, and 'melodramatic' would be a better choice. I wasn't by the way. I wasn't unreasonable either, I merely offered a cogent counter point to your views, which you clearly don't like and instead of pointing out why the statistics are flawed (no, IMHO your reasons aren't valid) you choose to ridicule and have the temerity to assert that I am being melodramatic! No really, way to prove me wrong!

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Bronze badge
Alert

Need a warranty for iphone 4?

I could be wrong and its different in the US, but in the UK if my iPhone breaks in the first 12 months I'll be getting it repaired under the manufacturer warranty rather than through another companies extended warranty. That may explain the low figures from the iPhone 4 as it hasn't been around long enough to drop out of the manufacturer warranty period.

Of course, user damage is another thing...

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IT Angle

I don't need a title...

"That last number is interesting: the BlackBerry malfunction rate after 12 months is 6.3 per cent, the highest, according to SquareTrade."

Is it just me or does the graph show 6.7% ?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: I don't need a title...

It's you. The 6.7% figure is for accidental damage, the 6.3% for malfunctions.

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No title required

Lol, thanks for the correction =]

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Boffin

But the high slip rate could be due to

iPhone users being very slippery, couldn't they?

This should be researched

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Pirate

Custom ROMs??

Given that you can get a huge variety of home-brewed custom ROMs for certain devices (e.g. HTC/Motorola Android and WinMo devices) I do wonder if some of these warranty returns aren't attributable to someone bricking their device and then claiming under warranty anyway- You don't need to look at XDA Developers for very long to hear many stories like this!

I seriously doubt that HTC and Motorola spend too much time investigating the cause of a failure, so most such self-imposed failures probably get repaired. In this situation, looking at warranty claims isn't necessarily going to give a truly accurate "reliability" statistic if essentially the user has managed brick their device in this fashion.

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Bronze badge

Hmm.. let's slice and dice the possible facts not shown

I'd say the iPhone has more drop rates because their owners are always flashing their bling, whipping them out and checking messages, and then hitting the suspend button. Or, they are so popular (or so they think) and are always responding to sites and friends (or fiends?) and so increase the risk of dropping the damned phone just because its exposed to air so much.

Putting them into back pockets and looking so ohh-ahh-i'm-sexy also risks the phone being squished when sat on.

And, no, that so-called 20x-stronger-than-plastic glass is NOT. Walk one or sit on one made of glass and one made of plastic. I've seen plenty more shattered iPhones than non-iPhones.

And, i've heard of more people dropping their iPhones in the toilet than non-iPhone users dropping them into the toilet.

And, being a shrewd, finnicky bunch of users, they are keen/crafty in "breaking" their iPhone right around warranty expiry time to cash in on the Best Buy "no-questions-asked" replacement policy, which almost assurely (and whispered but not spoken aloud) guarantees a NEW model iPhone rather than one of the same age (even if unopened) phone.

I dare say MOST of the iPhone physical damage comes from users who are either clumsy and careless or cunning and devious, or all 4. After all, it's one of if not THE most coveted gizmos on Earth.

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damn blackberry

Just won't quit no matter how ofter I drop it. It's a work phone so I've dropped it a lot. Thrown it a few times too

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