Damage Stories July 30, 2015

Less than two years after they each went into service, only one of the three Lightning cables pictured above is actually working properly. It’s not the big Belkin cable on the left, which is visibly pretty wrecked, or the thick, no-name 6-foot cable on the right, which looks fine on the surface but can’t properly supply power to a connected device. The one that works without problems is, amazingly, Apple’s official Lightning cable — the one that has been pilloried by numerous dissatisfied users, notably including our own Zac Hall, for coming apart after months or years of use.

These complaints aren’t without merit: even Apple-authorized Lightning cables do break, which is particularly infuriating given how expensive they tend to be. But there’s a lot of bad information about Lightning cables floating around right now, and having spent a lot of time using them and reading user complaints, I wanted to help people avoid some of their preventable failures. Taking a few precautions can save you a $10 to $20 replacement cost, as well as wasted time and stress…

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Damage Stories April 24, 2015

Apple will be doing a visual mechanical inspection of the Apple Watch, like with the rest of its products, when customers bring in a damaged device for repair. But what will be covered under your warranty exactly? And what issues will Apple be looking for to determine what is eligible for repair under or out of warranty? Head below for all the details… expand full story

Damage Stories March 26, 2015

Wired video abuses ultra-protective iPhone cases, two withstand slams, one even survives falling safe

Most cases will protect your iPhone during regular use, and many can handle accidental drops and a little abuse, but very few can withstand deliberate punishment. An amusing new Battle Damage video from Wired uses abusive tests to crown the “toughest iPhone case ever” from four different ultra-protective models: Griffin’s $50 Survivor,* LifeProof’s $80 Fre, Lunatik’s $125 Taktik Extreme, and Otterbox’s $50 Defender. The iPhone 5 units inside the Griffin Survivor and LifeProof Fre don’t make it through the first test, a hard smash of the encased iPhone on a hard floor, but Lunatik’s Extreme and Otterbox’s Defender go onto a second test: attempting to withstand a 50-pound safe while standing in a completely vertical position.

Unless you’re planning to drop a safe on your upright iPhone, the smaller and more affordable Defender seems like a smarter choice. But only Lunatik’s metal-reinforced Extreme survived the safe-dropping test; an iPhone 6 version hasn’t yet been released. Most people will do just fine with regular iPhone cases (or great iPhone battery cases), but if you want something that can protect against Looney Tunes-like antics, check out the video for some nice camera work and screen-shattering fun.

[* Note: Wired claims that the Griffin Survivor case shown in the video is Survivor Slim, but it looks more likely to be Survivor + Catalyst, a now-discontinued $80 model that was marketed as waterproof. Thanks, Nick!]

Damage Stories March 7, 2014

iPhone owners 46 percent less likely to need to replace their phone

Figures from insurance company ProtectCell show that iPhone owners are 46 percent less likely to need a replacement than owners of other smartphones, and 11 percent less likely to need a repair.

While iPhones seemingly have higher build quality than other phones (or perhaps more careful owners), it comes as no surprise to see they are more desirable to thieves, with iPhone thefts 65 percent higher than those of other smartphones. A number that will hopefully fall when word reaches the criminal world about Activation Lock.

Update: ProtectCELL emailed us to say their press release contained the wrong figure (reading 54 percent instead of 46 percent). We have updated with the correct one.

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