Judge: You Can’t Sue Apple For Breaking The Glass On Your iPhone

Judge: You Can’t Sue Apple For Breaking The Glass On Your iPhone

Have you ever broken your iPhone 4 or 4S’s glass? Felt that it was Steve Jobs’s fault for sucking you into his reality distortion field and convincing you that the iPhone 4’s glass was thirty times harder than plastic? Angry enough to want to try to sue?

Tough. A San Jose federal judge has just thrown out a class action lawsuit over the strength of the glass in the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.

The lawsuit was filed by Californian Betsalel Williamson, who had the unlucky turn of breaking his iPhone’s back glass panel after knocking it off of the arm of a chair.

According to Williamson, Apple’s ads claimed the glass were “20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic . . . ultradurable and more scratch resistant than ever” which clearly couldn’t be true if such a small accident had broken his iPhone, when the same thing wouldn’t have even dinged his plastic-backed iPhon 3GS.

According to Williamson, the iPhone 4’s glass was a scam, used to extort iPhone owners into paying to replace cracked screens and back panels.

Federal Judge Edward Davilla didn’t agree, claiming that Steve Jobs’s claims about the glass were “mere puffery” and insinuating that only idiots wouldn’t arm their iPhones with a case.

A “reasonable consumer” viewing a commercial showing the iPhone 4 in use as a phone, but without a cover, would not be misled to believe that the iPhone 4 could withstand any particular level of impact if the phone was dropped.

Davilla did say that he would allow the plaintiff to amend his class action lawsuit if he cold show more specifically how Apple had deceived consumers, but otherwise, the ruling was fairly clear cut: smartphones break, that’s why you buy a case.

  • thekris1234

    Just look after your iPhone. I’ve had the 3G, 3GS, 4 and have the 4S. Not a single bit of glass was cracked on any of them.

  • Wayne Williams

    Damn. I was going to sue Dodge because a rock hit the windshield on my Durango and broke the glass.

  • Wayne Williams

    Just look after your iPhone. I’ve had the 3G, 3GS, 4 and have the 4S. Not a single bit of glass was cracked on any of them.

    Things break a majority of the time if you drop them or wreck them or crash them. It’s only the owner’s fault. See my above post about the windshield.

  • mikkeee

    Dodge Windshield incident not exactly the same. Dodge telling you your new door side glass window is much stronger than your last truck and then you find out slamming the door on your new truck will break your new side glass. Sure… don’t slam your door hard but the new version is actually far more fragile than the last. Not lawsuit material but still a bit misleading on apples part. BTW… I’ve had every version of the iPhone and never broke the glass but oddly my iPhone 4 is the only glass that has scratched.

  • technochick

    He said scratch resistant, not shatter resistant. And in both cases it was resistant, not proof. it will happen. Get over it.

  • ThunderboltMan

    RE: Dodge Windshield, Dodge did say its trucks were RAM tuff!

    Common sense on consumers who buy into “puffery” is what seems to be lacking. If your iPhone glass broke, maybe your accident exceeded the specs of the following Apple comment, “20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic . . . ultradurable and more scratch resistant than ever”

    Apple never said they weren’t breakable. It would be as stupid as saying the Titanic was unsinkable. Sadly that too was proven wrong.

    • Guest

      A phone should be designed so it can handle a drop of two feet without being destroyed. This ‘I’ve never broken my phone’ nonsense, is just that. I’ve broken several — and was careful with them. It just took a single case each time of somebody knocking it off a coffee table.

      And, Apple should have a better repair policy.

  • The_Truth_Hurts

    So if the glass is harder than plastic, please explain to me how my pos plastic Samsung phone survived COUNTLESS of drops onto concrete, yet if my friends dropped their iPhones ONCE on a hard surface, they were off to get a new iPhone?

  • RaptorOO7

    If you can’t be responsible for a phone that retails for $600-850 then you shouldn’t have one. Seriously suing because you broke the rear glass on your phone . . . get a case and grow up. That is what the judge should tell the group of idiots.

  • tomp

    really?!?! I thought we could *rolleyes*

  • tomp

    Just look after your iPhone. I’ve had the 3G, 3GS, 4 and have the 4S. Not a single bit of glass was cracked on any of them.

    Same here… I also never used a cover or a screen protector and don’t really pamper it that much but I take care of it.

  • Ian1175

    I agree just look after your phone maybe buy a nice case that’s what I’ve done with all my iPhones and never had a problem.

  • Robert Mungo

    When the lawyers said he should have a case, they meant for the phone, not for the courts.

    I’ve had my iPhone 4s since the day it came out and I love it.

    I once tripped in an asphalt parking lot while walking to my car. My iPhone (sans case) flew out of my hand, hit the ground on the corner at an angle, and then slid away from me. I have a SMALL scuff on the very edge of the glass, right next to the lock button. That was the point of impact. Hell, the small scuff there actually makes it easier to find the lock button in the dark.

    Having dropped a plastic phone on the ground with MUCH less force and have it smash into tiny pieces… well, I’m all for Gorilla Glass now.

    That’s the only scratch on the thing, and I often forget and shove my keys into my pocket with my case-less iPhone.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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