Antennagate is grinding to a halt, more or less, but is Glassgate about to begin? It could be: speaking of grinding, it appears that third-party cases, especially those that slide on, are capable of trapping particulate matter between themselves and the iPhone 4's glass back, which could lead to scratching or even shattering of the entire rear pane of glass.
Sources both inside and outside of Apple
told gdgt that the iPhone
engineering team has been sent into "lockdown mode" by the issue. It's not just about scratching, but instead that the scratching can turn into cracking or fracturing of the entire rear pane of glass.
It sounds somewhat similar to what can happen to a windshield that has a chip. You can get a small chip from a rock, but sometimes the chip will spread, until a crack runs all the way across your windshield.
Because of this, gdgt says, Apple has apparently been trying to minimize the number of slide-on cases customers can buy, going so far as to remove them from stores (although they have returned, but only online). However, there's no way Apple can prevent the sale of cases from other retailers, and many of these carry the "Made for iPhone" label, a somewhat embarrassing situation for Apple if a case cracks the back of an iPhone 4.
However, it's unclear if this is really as big a problem as gdgt says. After all, YouTube and the Web were flooded were flooded with complaints over the "death grip," with videos showing the problem, to boot. A search of Apple's support forum turns up a number of threads about cracked screens, but they don't seem to be related to cases.
Therefore, there isn't correlation there. Thing is, a post like this is liable to make people take careful look at their iPhone 4s, and cause an epidemic in and of itself. We'll see if the gdgt story creates cracks in Apple's armor.