You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Some iPhone 4s Arriving With Defective Screens

June 24, 2010

Disappointed that you aren't one of those who received an iPhone 4 early? Maybe there's a twisted silver lining to that. Some of those who've already received their shiny new Apple products are finding lines and circles on their new Retina displays. Most seem to describe these as yellow or 'burn' looking and seem to only catch your eye once you use an app with a bright background. Incidents appear to be occurring in the bottom 1/6th of the screen or so. However, there have been a few reports of circles in the upper corners. Users are frantically discussing these issues amongst each other at the Mac Rumors and Apple discussion boards. On top of that, Mac Rumors forum members and Engadget have started polls. By the looks of it, it doesn't seem to be overly serious but you'll see a lot of vocal response with these sorts of things. There's only speculation, as of now, to what percentage of units are affected and what the true cause is. Some theories floating around are: heat from internal components and the new smaller size, a batch of defective LCD screens, or poor assembly. Any of those seem plausible to me but I might take the bet on the typical rushed mass production issues. Apple has had to push these devices out extremely quick and some of them being put together poorly isn't impossible. As noted in the iPhone 4 teardown.
Unfortunately, the LCD panel is very securely glued to the glass and digitizer. It appears that if you break the glass, you'll have to replace the glass, digitizer, and LCD as a single assembly.
This could mean that the components were glued together unevenly and, therefore, putting excess pressure in some areas to cause this problem. Here comes the kicker. Plenty have already called Apple support or stopped by their local Apple Store. While some Genius Bar employees are agreeing this is a defect on some units, they have no replacements to give out. Even if Apple does replace the affected units, it won't be for some time. It'll likely be a long time before we hear any official word about this and when we do, it'll likely be "only a small amount of units affected." Those with an iPhone still to arrive, are you worried? Update: TiPb (via @arnoldkim) gets a nice find from an Apple Insider forum member about another possible theory. This one is positive and does focus on the same general theory I felt was most logical. austingaijin writes
Apple is using a bonding agent called Organofunctional Silane Z-6011 to bond the layers of glass. Apparently, Apple (or more likely Foxconn) is shipping these products so quickly that the evaporation process is not complete. However, after one or two days of use, especially with the screen on, will complete the evaporation process and the yellow “blotches” will disappear. How do I know? I was involved in pitching Z-6011 to Apple.
Any going to bite on this one while we wait for any kind of official acknowledgment? [via MacRumors]

Related articles