back to article Fanbois smash iPhone 5s much sooner than iPhone 3s ... but WHY?

Early iPhones last significantly longer before being accidentally destroyed than later models, according to a new survey - but nobody knows why. Twelve per cent of smashed iPhones were left on the roof of a car, an experience which would challenge any model of handset, while 35 per cent were dropped into a bath or similar, …

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Would it have to do with the number of new iPhones that have those stupid bumpers that don't protect the screen?

The only phone I've managed to destroy was the Nokia phone from the matrix, answering a call one day at the top of a flight of stairs, the bottom slide part took a suicide plunge all the way to the bottom where it promptly split in two.

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Anonymous Coward

@ DJ 2

Yes... the Matrix phone had its issues... including the spring-loading of said bottom-slide.

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And this is why I never buy mobile insurance. Having never lost or significantly damaged a mobile in 15 years I'd be subsidising the idiots who barely manage to get 6 weeks out of one

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Anecdotal Evidence

Here's some for you.

I'm on my third iPhone 5 because I've had to return two to Apple due to hardware faults (looked like the video RAM for the camera was faulty).

From this I draw the conclusion that the iPhone 5 is not as well made as the 1 or the 3GS I've had before.

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Re: Anecdotal Evidence

AFAIK, there is no such thing as video RAM for a camera in the iPhone5 - memory is usually shared for all CPU/GPU/ISP tasks. If the picture was dodgy, more likely a crapped out sensor.

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Only phone I've broken was my girlfriend's Samsung Galaxy S3 - she decided for some reason that when she left it on the patio table wrapping it in a hoody was a good idea. I picked up the hoody without knowing and the phone fell to the concrete.

She had a case on the phone but it was the sort that didn't cover the corners fully, so the corner of the screen smashed (electronics all worked OK though).

My phone (an aging HTC Desire HD) meanwhile, is in a rubber type case which surrounds all edges fully, and it's survived several similar falls.

The iPhone 5, like the Galaxy S3, seems to have the screen extend right to the edges of the phone, while the iPhone 3 seems to have more of a bezel. Basically it sounds like this latest fashion for phones with glass right to the edges is actually a design flaw.

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Silver badge

That happened to my new camera last weekend- it was too hot to leave it in direct sunlight, so I placed it under my jacket on the opposite bench. A beer later, and my friend picked up my jacket to hand it to me and the camera hit the floor... fortunately, it still works, and I can't find a dent or scratch on it. The official case for it is far too pricey, so and being an unusual size generic pouches are too small for it.... so I'll have a rummage amongst the 35mm cameras in a charity shop and buy one for its pouch!

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Boffin

and statistics...

"The numbers come from MobilePhoneChecker, a tariff comparison site which asked 1,486 adults how they managed to destroy their iToys."

How were these people identified?

Random sample from a larger population of those with failed fondle slabs?

Was the sample controlled for length of ownership?

What is the percentage of all iPhone owners who write a phone off compared with the percentage who return device for upgrade?

Even if good stats methodology employed, you have possible inverse of healthy worker effect here (see slide 12 in linked SlideShare) so findings may not reflect on longevity of iThings in wild.

Thanks once again for a nice statistical problem for my students (many of whom stroke their phones). Should get some interesting anecdotes as to phone destruction as well.

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FAIL

Two big problems with this. First, it doesn't appear to take into account that the iPhone 3 has been around for longer - it's not even *possible* to have broken an iPhone 5 after even a year. Second, your reporting makes it seem like they're only counting broken phones, not all phones, which, in conjunction with the first flaw makes the headline a load of rubbish.

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Dead? Drowned!

My wife and I have both dropped various Sony handsets down the toilet and it killed them all. She dropped an HTC Wildfire into a dishwasher but it recovered 2 days later apart from a misty lens cover, which gave nice soft-focus portraits if nothing else.

Since then we have been Very Careful not to drop our phones in the bath, haven't we darling? Though my wife's iPhone5 is regularly launched across the room with no ill effect, and I've dropped my iPhone4 5 or 6 times at least with no damage. Even when it was launched out of its case at high speed by my young 'un who was using it as a lightsabre (on more than one occasion - that app is now BANNED).

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Nexus 4

My wife has a Nexus 4 that she drops several feet almost every day. The phone has one of those cheap $2.50 TPU covers, and the phone is in perfect working condition.

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Gimp

Maybe they needed a reason to upgrade to a Nokia

Good hardware design anticipates user error such as "drop" and taskes proper precautions. The GF managed to fling her brand new Lumia across the pub (upon arrival, mind you), having it slide glass down over the floor and crash into the wall. Once dusted off there was a tiny little dent in the polybody, period. Lots of accidental abuse later, that phone has aquired a few warts but still works like a charm. No cracked screen, loose buttons or whatnot. This reflects my personal Nokia experience. The worst thing that happened: I once had to bend a metal connector back into shape after dropping my 8110i so hard the flap came off. 1 minute with a toothpick. Apparently, they just know what they are doing. You see plenty of old Nokias working just fine, you never see Lumias with a broken screen – but about 1 in 5 iPhones has glass damage and I'm not even looking at all those androids. Call me a fanboy, but this is part of the "experience of a product" that Apple is so busy promoting these days.

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IT Angle

Re: Maybe they needed a reason to upgrade to a Nokia

There seem to be two schools of thought around someone producing a tougher form of glass.

The 1st is that it will make the phone tougher and more resilient

The second is that it can be made much thinner without being weaker.

This second one is what apple seem to go for.

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Happy

Re: Maybe they needed a reason to upgrade to a Nokia

You can pry my Nokia N9 from my cold dead hands!

...unless sent to factory for RMA, which happened twice. Last time I sent it back they replaced everything; body, glass, screen, even the battery. Now this is service.

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Bronze badge

Based on iPad's....

My experience with iPad's has been that the original and iPad2 were pretty sturdy.

The iPad 3 and 4 are very easy to damage if they land on a corner as the glass seems to stick out slightly. Some of these drops have been only two or three inches (i.e. someone who didn't hold their iPad securely when picking it up from the table at the end of a meeting).

My theory is that the new screens are tougher for direct hits, but more fragile at the edges due to this toughness - a small portion of screen takes all the energy of the fall rather than distributing the shock.

YMMV

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Or

Using an iPhone turns you into a butter fingers. The longer you use one the more of a butterfingers you become.

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Anonymous Coward

WTF?

14.9 weeks, while a smashed 4 or 5 only gets to make calls for around 5.9 weeks

WTF? AVERAGE of 15 weeks? HOLY SHITE! I've had a mobile for 12 years only ever busted one and being knocked into a river wasn't really my fault... Out of every single phone I've had the worst damage has been scratches. I've never bothered with insurance either.

How the hell can an average get a low as 6 weeks? I just don't understand.

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Re: WTF?

Because we give smartphones to 8 year olds that have no real concept that it's a delicate and valuable toy!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WTF?

Easy--those averages are for phones that are broken. They don't take into account the tens of millions of iPhones that have been working perfectly for years.

I've been using iPhones for years. I'm on my 5th or 6th one and I tend to use a couple simultaneously. (I'm a developer.) Haven't broken a single one yet, and I never put them in protective cases.

At one point somebody startled me as I was pulling out one of my iPhone 4s and I threw it pretty forcefully at a stone floor. The floor sustained much more damage than the phone, although the phone still had a fairly sizeable dent on one corner of its metal edge/band/antenna. No broken glass at all though and it still works great.

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Actually

It's because the iPhone 4 and later have rear panels which are more slippery than a weasel on an ice-rink. When laid down on anything other than a perfectly horizontal surface, they're going bye-bye. My old iPhone 3GS's rear panel was much more abrasive which, while I'm sure had negative aerodynamic impact when running for the bus, at least meant that I could put it down without first checking the iSpritiLevel app.

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Thumb Up

Re: Actually

upvote, purely for

"more slippery than a weasel on an ice rink"!

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ttd is a fairly irrelevant stat though, isnt it?

i mean, it only counts phones that have been destroyed. theres no 'infinity' to average with for ones that dont get damaged at all...

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Still using a 3GS now...

I've never had a phone die on me due to dropping it, and I've used:

SE brick (1998)

SE T68

SE T610

SE P900

SE 910

Several Panasonics (worked for them until 2007)

iPhone 3GS (2009-present).

I should be getting an iPhone5 tomorrow... and the first thing I'll get is a good case.

BTW, Bill, cease the "iToy" tourette's reflex. The spittle is showing at the corners of your mouth and it's getting really tedious

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Family Statistics

My Daughter is a top class mobile destroyer, have trashed every single mobile she has ever had,

The death toll so far:

Cheapo Samsung - survived 3 months

My Motorola V600 (robust I thought) 6 Months

Sony Ericsson W700 - 8 months - she first broke the screen, and tried the old 'I didn't do anything' line, which of course after 20 years in IT, I've heard a few times..

My old Sony Ericsson P910 - 6 months - 'just fell apart'

IPhone 3 - 2 years! I watched her clean the iPhone over a jug of water, with the obvious result, and the damn thing still worked after it dried out.

Samsung Galaxy S3 - 1 month, dropped and trodden on.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Nr. 2 6 Months - dropped in a puddle during a concert...

Samsung Galaxy S4 - 2 Months - sat on, screen cracked

Samsung Galaxy S4 Nr. 2 - Got muddy during an open-air concert, then was stolen, the insurance has paid for that one.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Nr. 3 - is still working..

So based on my experience, the Iphone3 survived the hostile environment the best.

Since the Iphone 3, she buys the phones herself, I thought this would make take more care, I was wrong

Yesterday she asked me why my Iphone 4 looks brand new? Well because I look after the feckin thing!

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Re: Family Statistics

I wondered if I should click the "report abuse" button here, for wilful destruction of mobile telephony....

Suggest you swap daughter for an iPad!

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Anonymous Coward

But most interesting was the average TTD (Time To Destruction)

Proof that mobile phones damage brain cells.

Long time users have more brain cell damage hence phones are damaged sooner as users drop/misplace/blend them or whatever.

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Silver badge

I'd still be using my iphone 3G if I hadn't accidentally put it on a 40°C cotton cycle and tumble dry along with my very dark sheets. I think it was probably the 1 hr tumble drying that really killed it.

New phone is a white one, that ain't happening again.

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it's not shiny anymore

Maybe they've just got used to having them now so take less care of them.

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Anonymous Coward

Anecdotal evidence...

...I'll give you anecdotal evidence...!

Grr!!!

While you lot were all...PONTIFICATING...as usual about iToys here there and anywhere having all manner of things befall them and their benefactories...LO...and be...hold on tighter would have been better...

I DROPPED MY 3GS and the screen cracked...</while you lot were all>

I turned it back on, with my sultry voice, and soothing dulcet tones once more rose from it's bowels.

And to the internet I went and ordered a new screen, should be here tomorrow or the next tomorrow, or one of them...and then! Yay! Tinkery, tinkery to, always best when there's a REAL reason to crank it open...

I dropped my 3, many times, so many the keylock button is not exactly AS PER MANUFACTURERS design, but its screen nay'r cracked sir, no sir it did nay.

How's that for anecdotal freaky coincidental stuff...

AC -> Because I like linux and the irony of revealing the fact I have not one, but two iPhones is shameful...

I prefer my tinkery to be away from my accessories! What can I say! I prefer having a black box for a phone/camera/internet thingy, that way it doesn't distract from its purpose, communication, taking pictures, winning fair ladies' hearts, the usual kind of thing...

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3GS

It was as tough as old boots, until a crack started radiating from the power connector slot across the back, but that was after nearly four years of rough handling. Now replaced by an HTC 8X (so I could see what win phone 8 was like) and a work iPhone 5. Much prefer the HTC, both for the build and the OS (sorry Windows haters, y'all need to get a life, iOS feels positively antiquated by comparison).

Still running a mk2 iPod Touch, now that is indestructible - must have hit the gym floor 20+ times, been stood on, got caught up in a rowing machine, etc.

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rpb

I've had a 3gs since early release and never seen the need to upgrade it. I've lost count of how many times it's been dropped, but it's still almost as new if just a little slow with the latest IOS. I'm still waiting for a significant improvement to tempt me to upgrade, maybe to ubuntu phone, but then if it ain't broke don't fix it.

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never had a iphone

but have dropped my old BB a few times, it survived, but also had a cool belt pouch which was awesome

never dropped my incredible, nor my thunderbolt, I did drop my galaxy nexus in the pool once, I was snoozing on the hammock when the phone rang so I jumped up forgetting it was on my chest...

it survived, only the battery water damage sticker was pink, the other 2 were fine! still works flawlessly to this day!

not dropped my S4 yet, though it does like to try and fall off things, it is very thin I wonder if the relative thinness is a reason since it does not feel nice to grip? with curved sides and a thin constructions and a large screen it does seem to slip out of the had easily ( especially if you have small hands. )

I do buy the little rubber dohickies for the phones though which go a long way to protecting add absorbing some screen shattering impact, and helps total obliteration when sending them for a swim!

since my house has tile floor throughout it is very tough on electronics and crockery when dropped.

I also think that because the screens almost go edge to edge they are very likely to break when dropped on an edge. and the amount of glass makes them generally weaker too, because they have to make it all the more thinner.

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Anonymous Coward

Rek Nokia 3310

I found one of those underwater in the recycling bin a while ago.

After drying it out, scrubbing the PCB with isopropanol and putting it back together it still worked!

Shame the battery doesen't work, anyone have a 3D .STL for a Li-ion replacement for these?

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Anonymous Coward

RE. Re. Nokia 3310

Then there was the later Nokia that survived dropping on concrete so many times that the display finally gave up.

Swapped over the screen and it worked until someone stole it.

Someone should make a Nokia 3310 replacement battery with a GPS and Bluetooth module embedded in it, and comms over ultrasound.

Combined with a colour phase sequencing backlight this could be handy.

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Silver badge

Perhaps its the in-cell touch screen?

With the iPhone 5 Apple had the touch screen built into the LCD, rather than being separate layers as they were on previous phones (and most/all other phones using LCD screens) A rather clumsy friend of my had an iPhone 4 she had dropped "dozens" of times and the screen was completely cracked, but it still worked perfectly (after she spent a few days getting tiny glass silvers from it) so she used it that way for at least a year. Maybe the in-cell screen on the iPhone 5 does not function properly once it breaks that badly.

I've had a 3gs, a 4S and now a 5, and have never had a case on any of them. I dropped the 3gs once from head height onto concrete (yes, I was drunk...) No damage to the screen, but there was some scuffing and a dent on the corner it landed on, and the headphone port was a little misshapen but still worked fine. Never dropped the 4S, so I was able to sell it is "like new" condition. Dropped the 5 once against a brick wall where it then fell onto concrete from about chest height (not drunk, someone who was drunk bumped me pretty hard that time) The only damage is a little burr in the aluminum on the right front that I can feel if I run my finger over, but isn't visible unless you look closely. I still can't quite figure out how I got so lucky that time!

My girlfriend has a 4S that she's dropped onto concrete "maybe 10 times" that she admits to, a few times without a case and then later with one of those cases that's more for looks than protection (because the corners were pretty scuffed up and it didn't look so nice) but the glass is undamaged except for a few scratches that you can only see when it is off. She since decided that walking her dog and carrying a cup of coffee while also talking on her phone isn't the best idea, so usually leaves the phone at home when she walks her dog now :)

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Silver badge
Meh

NOW we need a survey based on theft

A similar survey, based upon theft and insurance claims, also taking into account when new iThingies were released might produce some interesting figures.

There was a recent case in Ho Chi Minh City where a street thief snatched a cell handset and, whilst departing, he looked at it and noted it wasn't an Apple. He then threw it down.

After being arrested by plain clothes cops (a lot of these in tourist areas) he was asked why he threw it way and he apparently responded "I only steal Apples"!

Another reason to buy an Android.

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Silver badge

Re: NOW we need a survey based on theft

Thieves want to steal something they can resell easily and quickly. They might not be too interested in some random Android phone, but I'm sure they'd be happy to snag a GS4, or the new Moto X if that turns out to be popular. But yeah, if they grab a phone and it turns out to be a Galaxy Ace, they probably will toss if because they would get so little for it its not worth it.

It is just like car thieves, there are certain models that they look for because they're in demand, and others most wouldn't touch even if you left it sitting unlocked with the keys in the ignition.

My girlfriend lives in LA (in a good neighborhood near the beach) and she was on her iPhone recently and a cop tapped her on the shoulder and told her she should be careful and aware of her surroundings as there had been a few instances even in that nice area of a "punch and grab" crime - they punch you in the face, grab your phone and run. Hopefully Apple will soon implement the ability they've promised to permanently deactivate stolen phones so there's no longer any point to stealing iPhones, so scumbag thieves can go back to pickpocketing.

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I wonder

Back in the day phones, by the third generation of mobiles, they were pretty tough, many early ones weren't, but then they were expensive. Certainly in the UK our usual mobile contracts tend to refresh the phone every 1 - 2 years, so there is no commercial need for anything to last for years, in fact one company has a contract designed to give you the latest phone.

Now I don't know what proportion of the market has this kind of contract, and what just uses their old phone on a sim only contract, but what's the incentive for builder to make tough phones.

BTW. I would think that the tensile properties of glass make it, even for gorilla glass, the bigger the sheet the easier it is to break, and is the glass still as thick as it was?

BTW, if you have an old smart phone, including early Motorola and Windows models that are wifi capable, there are new programs you can load to use them as remote controllers. I have one from Hornby on an old XDA and an old iPhone. Sheldon would approve.

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Anonymous Coward

Bouncing BlackBerry

Rare I know, but a small shout for BlackBerry here too.

Couple of years ago, I safely placed my brand new Torch on the roof of the car before departing a filling station on the M4. I think I was up to about 40mph on the slip road when it departed.

I walked back fearing the worst, but other than scuffing on the (unpadded) leather slip case, all good to go!

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Iphone 3 had a decent screen surround that meant it was almost impossible for it to land on the edge of the glass if you dropped it. The screen was far better protected than in later models.

iphone 4 had edge-to-edge glass on both front and back, and seemed to smash far more easily, hence the massive growth in pop-up "fix your screen here" type shops.

iphone 5 has similar front design and again seems to crack on even the slightest excuse. At least they've made the screen easier to replace.

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