iPad Durability

Discussion in 'iPad' started by transphasic, May 5, 2012.

  1. transphasic macrumors member

    Apr 6, 2012
    While I think the 3 is a superb product, it is incredibly delicate and I was wondering about the choices apple made in its design (those with engineering/design backgrounds weigh in please). I did not have either of the earlier ipads, and have only picked up the 3 in the last few weeks, so i am still internalizing its form factor/workings...

    For example, the choice of glass which cracks/shatters when the device is dropped - why wasn't a stronger, more durable material like plastic used, that still would have been scratch-resistant? At a reasonable price, is there such a type of plastic available that could have been used?

    It seems that the most likely problem people have is dropping it, as it is nearly impossible to hold securely with one hand. Using glass instead of plastic appears to be an aesthetic choice apple made over practicality, where perhaps using plastic may not have been as shiny/attractive but would have made the device far more durable. Especially given that sawpping out a unit with broken glass is several hundred dollars at least.

    The other obvious design choice I question is the borders and back; why did they not place some type of rubberized protection around it, so that it would not be damaged if dropped from 2-3 feet. While my blackberry may be garbage overall (should have gotten an iphone, I know :( ) even with its glass screen i've dropped it on concrete from 2 1/2 feet and it was barely scratched. While outfitting the device with an external rubber protection may have admittedly compromised its looks a bit, it would have made what i feel to be a very delicate product to be a bit more durable, and would not have to be treated with such incredible amounts of care/attention. Thoughts?
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Because Apple assumes you won't drop it, and if you do you can pay for a replacement. If you want more protection you can buy a case.

    The screen isn't plastic because plastic feels cheap. There are no rubber linings around the edges because rubber feels cheap.
  3. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    Don't drop it.

    You can buy tough cases that add bulk, cost & weight that'll protect it. Or a simple cover that'll protect the screen. A few dings and bumps won't hurt it, although the iPad is pretty enough many folks here seem to get physically ill when they scratch it.

    Glass is a much better material for screens than plastic (hazes, scratches, discolors, etc...)
  4. jekyl macrumors 6502


    Mar 6, 2011
    By releasing the iPad in its current design buyers are left to accessorize as they want. Some will want an industrial look, accessories will give them that look, as others may want a more feminine, or camo, or business, or techie, or.., and there are cases available to handle those choices as well. Also some would choose the beautiful look of the bare iPad, which wouldn't be an option if Apple had bulked the device up with integral armor. This is all about choice and how Apple handles that. Apple simply leaves this up to the customer. As for the screen, most of us (myself included) love it. The touch, clarity and responsiveness are incredible. The iPad does require a measure of care. Anything that can be picked up can also be dropped. The only real defense against that is to own nothing that cannot be picked up. I'll keep my iPad, and love it as it is. Oh, I do have mine wrapped in a Skinomi, I hates the scratches.

  5. arcite macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2009
    Cairo, trapped in a pyramid with my iphone
    Buy a decent case. This will protect the iPad and also disguise it as a day planner to dissuade thieves. :eek:
  6. geo22geo33 macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2012
    If Apple was using all that cheap things on their iPad, probably not have ever heard about iPad.
  7. doctorxring macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2006

    I haven't dropped my 3 yet because I just got it a few days
    ago. But I've dropped my iPad1 at least a half dozen times
    from varying heights onto my laminate hard floor. Nary a scratch.
    Tougher than I ever imagined. But I don't recommend doing
    a "drop test".


  8. sekazi macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2012
    Glass is much harder than any plastic out there therefore it is far more scratch resistant.

    The only way they could make it 99.9999% scratch proof is if they figured out a way to make a diamond screen.
  9. jltj macrumors member

    Jul 7, 2008
    Reminds me of a story going around some time ago that the first iPhone was originally designed with a plastic screen, but it got scratched up so easily that Apple decided to switch to glass.

    To OP, it's fragile, but not more so than other mobile tech devices, also the choice of using a protective case, and the specific case design, is than built in protection, I think. I prefer the flexibility this way.
  10. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    Regardless of all of these posts, I agree with the OP.

    Apple can make the ipad more durable vs. pretty.

    ...and lighter...it just too heavy. I'll take a smaller battery if that cuts the weight significantly. Ideally, this device should weigh no more than a magazine but I concede that the tech may not yet be there to support that configuration.
  11. spiderman0616 macrumors 68040


    Aug 1, 2010
    I don't think there are many tablets out there that can survive a fall any better than an iPad. They're all big glass screens. They're mostly all made out of the same type of glass. The backs are all either metal or plastic. There may be some "Toughbook" versions of tablets out there, but I don't recall.

    If you're dropping anywhere from $399 to $999 on a tablet, you can drop another $50 to $100 on a nice case. Again, it's a big slab of glass just like any other tablet. If Apple made it big and bulky just to add durability, can you imagine the flack they would catch?

    I personally think it's a miracle of modern design that Gorilla Glass even exists and is as durable as it is.
  12. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    A similar tablet with significantly less battery life would be rejected in the market.
  13. TheWheelMan macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2011
    Um, when did the iPad become delicate? Which tablets on the market are considered durable? Is the iPhone less delicate?
  14. malnar macrumors 6502a


    Aug 20, 2008
    What makes you think it's "incredibly delicate"? Have you broken yours? I have two iPads (new iPad and original iPad) and both are in great shape - obviously the new iPad is "like new." The original iPad has a scratch on the screen from something the kids did not too long ago. Neither have cracks, dents, or anything else wrong with them. I'd say they're extremely durable - it's a huge slab of glass that gets carried around, tossed in bags, etc. I know a bunch of people who have iPads and yet no one has managed to damage one yet (nor those with iPhones - I have, however, seen my share of broken-screened Android phones of various flavors.)

    Remember, the complaints you read on these forums are the exceptions, not the norm - normal people don't go onto forums and rave about how perfect their stuff is.
  15. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    Every company has to make a call at some point as to what balance of durability, beauty and function their product should have. They cannot please every single person who may want a particular aspect to the design. Based upon sales figures, its pretty clear that the current design appeals to the largest group of buyers possible.

    I think those who may want a rubberized border and a plastic screen are definitely in the minority and as other posters have pointed out -- you can add those things in the form of cases and other protectors.

    The other option is to purchase Applecare + if you are afraid you may damage it someday. You get 2 incidents of accidental damage with a replacement (after you pay the $49 deductible) I got it myself as I can see dropping my own unit and/or getting rained on unexpectedly as some point. :)
  16. Redjericho macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2011
    It's not meant to last too long, Apple wants your device to break every year so the you buy the next generation. Once you go apple, there's no going back.
  17. Jessemtz25 macrumors regular


    Dec 27, 2011
    Incredibly delicate? What do you want to do with it? Play soccer with it?
  18. Ecoh macrumors 6502a


    Oct 30, 2009
    Apple gives us a beautiful and elegant functional device at a fantastic price. They could build it like a tank and charge double for it, or build it cheaper and charge less. I think they have made a happy medium.

    My father has dropped his iPad 1 several times. Usually from his lap while sitting, because his dog pushes it out of his hands. He has dropped it on carpet and brick floor. He has an Apple iPad 1 case on it, and there is not one dent or scratch, still works perfectly.

    I think he is secretly hoping it will break and he can justify getting a new iPad.:D
  19. TheWheelMan macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2011
    Maybe he lives in a really bad neighborhood and wants to use it to deflect bullets in an emergency?
  20. bushman4 macrumors 68020

    Mar 22, 2011
    IPAD 3 is durable and as strong as if not better than any tablet. Keep in mind that if you plan to expose this device to extraordinary conditions than you should buy a suitable case.
  21. ixodes macrumors 601


    Jan 11, 2012
    Pacific Coast, USA
    I have all three generations of iPads.

    They are very well made and quite durable.

    Apple has great engineers that take care in creating durable products.
  22. hansbraul macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2012
    I dropped my iPad 2 from chest height to a flagstone patio. It landed on a corner and miraculously still works just fine. Small dent on the corner but that's about it. Lucky me.
  23. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    You're wrong.


    The point is, I would rate Apple worst for damage from drop. Apple is suppose to be ahead of the curve, but pretty over durable is more about driving service income and a secondary market.


    Why do you assume it has to be like a tank, or that it will cost more? I suspect it would cost less.


    So your ipad is unprotected?


    Yes lucky...but I would not expect many ipads to fair as well. Why would it be so hard or less elegent to coat the back and sides with TPU or something else that absorbs shock.

    Anyway, with Applecare+ this is a moot discussion as this is Apple's solution to the fragility of the ipad/iphone.
  24. brentsg, May 8, 2012
    Last edited: May 8, 2012

    brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    You're delusional if you think people will accept a tablet with a half-day battery.

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