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iPhone Screens Developing Dead Spots?

iPhone Screens Developing Dead Spots?

Apple may be facing a hardware issue with its much-vaunted iPhone: it seems some iPhone owners are finding portions of the devices’ touch screens are going “dead,” making some controls and features difficult or impossible to access.

At this point, evidence is scattered and hearsay—limited to postings in online forums and comments from industry analysts claiming to have a handle on the situation. The most common symptoms seem to be a strip about a half inch wide in the lower half of the iPhone screen (as held vertically) ceasing to respond to user taps and drags, but some users report the entire bottom quarter, third, or half of the screen giving up on them. Some users report similar problems on the upper portion of the touch screens, and others report inconsistent dead spots: sometimes the screen works fine, sometimes it doesn’t. Resetting the phone or installing Apple’s recent iPhone software update doesn’t resolve the problem.

“I love the phone,” wrote one user of Apple’s online support forums, “but find that I cannot at times use the bottom of the screen. I have tried to reset it several times, no-go.”

“I am having this issue as of last night,” wrote a user at AppleInsider’s forums. “The entire bottom row of buttons—Phone, Mail, Safari, and iPod—are non-responsive. I can barely move the slider when my iPhone is locked. Seems the dead spot ends at the very top of the bar, so I can still unlock. I tried everything from powering on/off, to resetting, to restoring and still nothing.”

Contacted today, Apple representatives declined to comment today, save to say users experiencing hardware problems can contact Apple or take their iPhones to an Apple Store. Some reports have Apple retail locations quickly and efficiently managing replacement iPhones in the event of a dead screen; others do not.

Apple offers loaner iPhones for $29 in the event a phone has to be sent back to Apple for repair or replacement. Some users with dead screen problems have reported some success having this fee waived; others have reported no such luck.

Reports in tech support ares and other forums tend to amplify the perceived scale of potential problems, leading to unwarranted speculation and reaction. Messages from five angry people in a message board are not an indication of a widespread problem with a product which has sold hundreds of thousands of units in a short time—but they could be the tip of an iceberg, right. For now, the scale and source of a problem—and even if there is a problem —are not known. Sure, Apple could be facing a design issue with iPhones, or a defect in a small portion of handsets. Or the troubles could be be related to the way some owners use or store their iPhones—a notion some makers of iPhone cases will no doubt play up.

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