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More than one quarter of iPhones malfunction in two years, says report

Report from warranty provider SquareTrade shows 25.6% suffer malfunction within two years

More than one quarter of iPhones malfunction in two years, says report
The iPhone 3GS has less problems than the 3G, says SquareTrade, but the glass back on the iPhone 4 could cause problems.

More than a quarter of all Apple iPhone 3G and 3GS will suffer a failure within two years, according to a new study by SquareTrade.

The company, an independent vendor of extended warranties for iPhones, iPads and other consumer electronics devices, said that 25.6% of 25,000 iPhone 3G and 3GS covered by its service plans suffered some sort of failure in the first two years.

The main cause of malfunctions was accidents, accounting for 70% of problems, while 29% of problems caused by hardware failures. Drops and cracked screens accounted for over three-quarters of accidents, and liquid damage accounted for one in five accidents.

The company said that the failure rate was down from its previous study, conducted in 2009, which showed a failure rate of 33%. The improvement was attributed mainly to better performance of the 3GS' touchscreen compared to a large number of touchscreen failures seen with the 3G model, although the 3GS had less problems across all categories. Malfunctions due to accidents decreased from 21% in the June 2009 study to 18% in 2010, while malfunctions not caused by accident were down from 10% to 7.5%.

SquareTrade did note that with data projected out to three years, almost 40% of all 3GS iPhones are expected to suffer some sort of failure. The company also raised concerns that with dropped phones or other accidents causing cracked screens accounting for a high proportion of problems, whether the new iPhone 4, with its glass back, might also experience a high rate of accidental damage.

The full report can be downloaded at http://www.squaretrade.com/pages/squaretrade-iphone-reliability-06-2010

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