iPhone 4 front and back glass

Part of the iPhone 4 presentation yesterday was the fact that both the front and the back of the iPhone will be made of glass. When I heard the news, I thought to myself “wow, it’s gonna look so nice”. Then a few seconds later my mind went a different way and I started to realize that with the iPhone 4, I’ll have twice the trouble of protecting the screen.

I’m not big into screen protection. Products such as the Invisible Shield do a great job at protecting the iPhone but I like my iPhone naked. No case, no screen protector.

Things might change with the iPhone 4.

Apple’s description of their new engineered glass is however quite reassuring:

All the breakthrough technology in iPhone 4 is situated between two glossy panels of aluminosilicate glass — the same type of glass used in the windshields of helicopters and high-speed trains. Chemically strengthened to be 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic, the glass is ultradurable and more scratch resistant than ever. It’s also recyclable.

But will this be enough to protect the back of the phone against time? I really doubt it.

On top of worrying about protecting the front, you now will have to worry about shattering the front AND the back of your iPhone should you accidentally drop it.

I won’t change my mind. I won’t apply a screen protector but I know I’ll be twice as careful with the 4 as I was with my 3G.

What about you? Will you stick your iPhone 4 in a case or under a screen protector?

  • Sebastian,

    I already have an iPhone 3GS. Will I be able to upgrade without paying a big price?

  • The glass back is great news, imo. I don’t protect my 3GS at all and guess what part doesn’t have a single scratch… the glass. The plastic back and chrome bezel have plenty of scratches so super hard glass is the best idea I’ve ever heard.

  • Juan

    @Jordan: Contact AT&T. They’ll have the answers you want.

    I probably won’t invest in screen protectors. Just a hard outer case.

  • Meh, get a case, stop whining.

  • Lucas

    Like you, I really enjoy keeping my iPhone naked w/o any case. I have tried all kinds of different cases, but I kept getting annoyed by it either slowing me down when typing or even making it impossible to type or touch some areas or the hassle of putting those invisible clear shields. I think that new glass on the 4 will have pretty good durability. My 3G’s back looks like hell after over 20 months of use now, but I’ve never cracked the screen, so I figure it’ll hold up better than the 3G and I think it’ll be shatter proof except for anything crazy like just slamming as hard as you can on to the concrete. I guess we’ll see, but of course I will try and be pretty protective of it. I may check out these new cases for it just to see if I may like it though.

  • Lucas

    @Dayne has a very good point kind of related to what I was saying. The screen of my 3G is pretty much perfect still after 20 months of pretty regular use and in/out of my pocket plus a few minor drops on the ground here and there. The back is the worst part, so I agree this is a great solution.

  • Irha

    So, they haven’t started using gorilla glass yet? I wonder what excuse Apple would have for this.

  • Eric

    Glass doesn’t scratch sebastian. Especially not this glass. Drops are drops. In 3 years I’ve never dropped my iPhone. (throwing salt over shoulder as we speak). Worst thing about my 3g is the back scratches. And black is the worst.

  • Jason

    I’ll put a screen protector on the front at least.

  • Tina Rhodus

    I have the invisible sheild on the front of mine
    now, so yes I am sure I will if I get one. I have a problem with dropping things like my phone!!

  • Justin

    Eric, I disagree with you about glass not scratching. I’m still using the first iPhone (4gb) and in the first month I was walking thru a store, phone rang, reached in my pocket and the phone caught my shirt and gravity really kicked in and pulled the phone to the floor and slid about 4 feet glass side down. So for the last three years I’ve looked thru two scratches in the glass. They are very minor but the next day I bought a rubber case and have maybe dropped it three times since.
    I like the smooth lines of the phone and hate having it covered but I feel very secure holding it now and leaning it on things to show YouTube videos during breaks.
    I don’t plan on a screen protector, but will definetly try the ‘bumpers’ for iphone4. If they don’t cut it I will cover the phone again. For me a secure grip is the key to preventing drops.

  • Jerry

    I hope companies come out with a crystal film that goes on the front and back of the phone lol

  • Sotiris

    I am planning on buying the iPhone 4 when it comes to Greece somewhere in late August to mid September. As I did with my iPhone 3G I will buy a screen protector from ebay (they are really really cheap) although I have to admit that the glass was very stiff and hard. Now for the back I guess I will go with a rubber case. But I am guessing that they will get dual screen protectors for front and back sometime soon so I will think what I will get. Anyhow I am not going to leave the iPhone naked, although I take really good care of it.

  • PJL

    They mention the stiffness and hardness. It could have those qualities and also be quite brittle – which means that dropping it might still easily take out both glass panels.Toughness is the requirement here.
    XXX specs sound sexy but we need to know about toughness.

  • Charles

    Whoa, glass and stainless steel. Beautiful ! I just got my iPhone 3GS few months ago. I might just get this new phone. So slim. I read a good review on iphone 4 in Malaysia. Hope that it comes to Malaysia by July. If not have to get it in Singapore. Congratulations Steve !

  • I have had my iPhone for well over 2 years now and never had ANY kind of protection onit… why bother? It’s a phone… it’s a tool for making calls, sending text and videomessages and pictures… not some show-off gadget-thingie…

    However! As I said: Never has any protection onit, and eventhough the back gets scratches from lying on the table and so on, I have been carrying my phone in my pocket together with keys, coins and all that other stuff, and the screen??? NOT A SCRATCH! I tell you boys and girls – not even a nick!

    The glass is tough and you do not need to bother with all that protection.

    The “Apple Bumper” looks nice though, and should be MORE than enough, as it lifts both the front and rear off any surface.

  • chris

    Hopefully the super strong heli-train power plastic will be able to withstand quite a few drops, because as it stands now, even with a hard cover case around your iPhone, you still have to be careful not to drop it on the front. Saw a few articles on this new one will compare to some others(evo and incredible) that may be worth checking out:



  • Str8Evil

    seeing as how I shatter’d the screen on my 1st 3G 4 days after I got it… I will again look for the best case AND screen protector I can buy… Better safe than PISSED off. =)

  • IPhone3GS


    You should take a look at http://www.squaretrade.com/iphone

    They offer the best insurance for both the iPhone and iPad

    You can even do $6 monthly installments with the iPhone insurance plan

    I wish they offered an installment plan for the iPad. At least it is better coverage than AppleCare

  • Will

    the glass looks nice, does not scratch, and has high elasticity (there’s a video on the apple website that shows the glass being bent). This will be WAYYY better than the plastic backing of the 3G’s.

    I too have been using my 3G without any type of protective case for 2 years now. After many drops on all types of surfaces, the glass has only one almost unoticeable scratch while the plastic back and metal edging have several cracks, gouges, and large scratches.

    The bumpers are a great idea. Not only will they give some color while keeping the iphone 4 still looking good, but they also will give some grip to prevent you from dropping it or falling out of your pockets when sitting down.

    The most important thing though that I think the bumpers provide is the raised rubber will give shock absorption if you do end up dropping your iPhone. The sound of an unprotected iphone falling flat 5 feet onto concrete is something you never want to hear.

  • Steve Marriott

    ZAGG’s invisibleSHIELD for the 4 is already available on their website! http://www.zagg.com. And
    this is the perfect solution to keeping your iPhone protected from nicks and scratches without taking away from the look of this beautiful device. I just ordered it. You can’t even tell it’s on there. And one benefit I almost like best is that it makes it grippy so you are far less likely to drop it! Highly recommend this!

  • Alex

    Is the apple logo and text behind the glass?. The worst thing about the 3gs was how easy it was to scratch the logo.

  • Jason

    Wow HELICOPTERS AND HIGH SPEED TRAINS. Look up ALUMINOSILICATE GLASS on google. This stuff is made to withstand long periods of time (years) in some of the most inhospitable environments in the world. Rocks at 60-120mph, I think you’ll all be plesently surprised at it’s durability.

  • Lucas

    Just found this news post about the glass not being as resilient as they originally that:

  • brent

    Yeah, Jobs isn’t exactly stupid. He wouldn’t use a material that would shatter when dropped from a normal hight or scratch under normal use. My 2 year old 3g has one teeny tiny scratch on one edge. Otherwise it’s immaculate and I’ve never had a screen protector on it. I think glass front and back is a great idea.

  • Raouf

    OfC I will, better save than sorry

  • Nemephosis

    Soooo, now that we’ve seen the problems showing broken and scratched iphone screens and backs, is the glass still a wonderful idea?

    Now, as long as the SCREEN doesn’t scratch, I’ll be fine when I get mine. I don’t care if the back gets nicks and scratches, it’s not the back I interact with. But still, no, glass was not a good idea to make a phone out of.