Apple’s iPhone 3G: All Cracked Up

Apple’s 3G iPhone was met with much fanfare when it launched earlier this month. The new phone brought 3G download speeds, GPS hardware, and a new iTunes App Store among other things. The popularity of the iPhone brand along with the buzz created by Apple generated sales of over one million units worldwide within three days of launch.

All is not well in iPhone 3G land, however. The folks over at Engadget noticed that a number of people are noticing stress fractures/cracks in their iPhone 3G casings. The cracks seem to mostly affect owners of white 16GB iPhone 3G models, but owners of black iPhone 3Gs have reported problems as well (but to a lesser degree).

The majority of the cracks are showing up around the edges of the phone and near the headphone jack. Some people have reported seeing cracks as soon as a day after receiving the phone, while others saw cracks within the first one to two weeks of ownership.

Thankfully for most users, Apple’s retail stores are replacing the defective units free of charge on the spot.

Many saw Apple’s move to a plastic back for the iPhone 3G instead of aluminum (as seen on the original iPhone) as twofold — the plastic backing allowed Apple to reduce production costs while at the same time increase reception for the greater number of radios within the chassis.

The news of the cracked iPhone 3Gs comes just a day after the phone was likened to Windows Vista in USA Today. The USA Today article pointed to supply problems, a cumbersome activation process, overloaded activation servers during launch day, and issues with the 2.0 firmware.

“Clearly, Apple is having manufacturing and software problems,” said independent analyst Rob Enderle. “A star product like the iPhone does a lot of great things for Apple, but when things go wrong, it can bring down the entire image of a company.”

“Vista wasn’t finished, and that’s what the iPhone feels like,” Enderle continued. “It’s been rushed onto market, even though it wasn’t ready.”

Apple 8GB iPhone 3G is available for $199 with a two-year contract with AT&T. The 16GB iPhone 3G rings in at $299 with a two-year contract.

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