Apple retail stores have apparently suspended sales of slide-on iPhone 4 cases over suspicions that they can scratch or even crack the glass back-panel of the fourth-generation iOS smartphone. According to Cult of Mac‘s sources in the case industry – who are rather dramatically referring to the issue as “Glassgate” – Apple is now testing all iPhone 4 cases individually to see if they damage the handset; the delay in Apple Store sales could see manufacturers like Mophie and Kensington experiencing significantly underwhelming holiday sales, despite having ordered significant amounts of stock.
Mophie, whose Juice Pack Air has become synonymous with slide-on iPhone cases, is tipped to have ordered in excess of 100,000 cases in time for the holidays, on the assumption that they would go on sale on Apple’s shelves. As it is, though, the Juice Pack Air for iPhone 4 is only available through Mophie’s own site and AT&T stores.
The issue – if indeed one exists – appears to concern Apple’s choice of glass for the back panel of the iPhone 4, which unlike the fascia is seemingly not toughened. “They’re evaluating every case one at a time,” the source claims, “they’re being very vigorous. We’re still waiting for a final verdict.” Slider cases for the iPhone 3GS and earlier models are available, since the physical design is different. Apple has not responded to requests for comments.