Apple bans protective screen film from Apple Store | iLounge News

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Apple bans protective screen film from Apple Store

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Apple has banned protective screen film from its retail and online stores, iLounge has confirmed with several separate companies, a policy that will affect both cases and individual film packages beginning in May. In communications with vendors that have been ongoing for “some time now,” according to one company, Apple has said that it will remove both film-only solutions from its stores, as well as any case or other accessory that includes film protection as part of its package, such as cases that include film screen protectors. According to sources, the ban will impact all forms of screen film, including completely clear film, anti-glare film, and mirrored film, regardless of whether the purpose of the film is protective, decorative, or both. It will also prevent sales of film for iPods, iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers. One vendor speculated that the ban is an Apple marketing attempt to suggest screen durability, despite scratches that have damaged both plastic and glass displays of its products for years.

It is believed that Apple’s move will have ramifications for the accessory industry outside of its own stores, as the Apple Store constitutes a significant fraction of total sales for many developers, even though accessory manufacturers also sell their products through other channels. Despite consumer demand for film solutions, which are currently ranked the #1 most popular “cases” for both iPods and iPhones in the Apple Store, and the #6 and #7 most popular overall iPhone and iPod accessories, respectively, developers might not create separate versions of each case product, one without film for sale by Apple, and one with film for sale elsewhere. iLounge requested details on the change from leading film developer Power Support, which had no comment, as well as several case makers, who were aware of the new policy but had nothing to add. However, Mirage Mirror Screen Protector vendor XGear suggested that despite the Apple Store ban, its “marketing positioning will not change. This will open many new doors for us as we move forward in my opinion.”

iLounge has requested comment from Apple on this story and will update this article with additional details as they become known.

Update: We’ve posted responses to common reader comments on this story in a separate article.

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Comments

41

Keep in mind that this isn’t like some kind of official Apple Encyclical, mandating that all iPhone henceforth cease using protection for their screens—you can still use them if you want, they’re just apparently not going to carry them in their own stores any more. If they sell well they’ll almost certainly be available somewhere.

Posted by mark on March 17, 2010 at 3:29 PM (CDT)

42

I used screen films on my original iPhone and iPhone 3G primarily as they helped keep the smudge-magnet screens on those devices much cleaner. Although there are many cheap alternatives out there, a good brand of screen film works extremely well and is virtually invisible on the device. Further, they’re really not rocket science to apply if you take a reasonable bit of time and care—my Power Support anti-glare film took less than three minutes to apply properly and most people didn’t even realize I had a film on the screen.

I never bothered getting a screen film for my iPhone 3GS because the oleophobic coating provided a nicer feel on the screen than the previous models did and the screen was of course much more smudge-resistant.

However, I carry my iPhone in a shirt or pants pocket with nothing else ever in there with it. I never set it on the screen, nor put anything else on top of or in contact with the screen.  By contrast, my wife’s iPhone gets a screen protector because she regularly just tosses it in her purse along with everything else. We used to use a flip-cover case to protect her screen, but that was more of a nuisance than it was worth.

As for using a normal case, I’ve had mixed feelings about that over the years as I really prefer the slimmer feel of the iPhone without a case, but ultimately I use a case because I frequently set the iPhone down on various surfaces, and the iPhone is going to be more prone to scratches, dirt and damage that way. With a case on the iPhone, I find I’m less picky about where I set the iPhone down (ie, on my kitchen counter, on a park bench, on a table at a coffee shop, etc).

Regardless, even if Apple had some problem with screen protectors on the iPhone 3GS’ oleophobic screen, this has nothing to do with why they would ban them entirely for all screen-based products—Macs and click-wheel iPods included, nor why they would be so fussy about banning any cases that just happen to include a screen protector bundled in (as many cases do, simply as a bonus item).

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on March 17, 2010 at 3:39 PM (CDT)

43

New iPhone in July as usual?

Posted by Doug on March 17, 2010 at 3:42 PM (CDT)

44

The outrageously hilarious irony of all of this is that these devices (iPhone, iPod, iPod Touch) all ship with a screen cover ALREADY APPLIED!!!

I just used a matte knife to cut off the little tab that you use to remove the plastic film that covers the screen in the original packaging and I’ve been using it that way for two years.

Also, the prices companies were charging for these protectors was outrageous anyway.

Posted by Joe blow on March 17, 2010 at 3:45 PM (CDT)

45

Simple, forward facing camera…a film cover may obscure the lens.

Posted by John on March 17, 2010 at 4:01 PM (CDT)

46

Apple is in the business of selling devices. If you scratch your device you are more likely to buy a new one.

Quite an understandable move from Apple.

Posted by johannes kingma on March 17, 2010 at 4:21 PM (CDT)

47

@ #46: No.  Your logic stops at the front door.
Apple sells, and still is allowing sales of cases.
As for being understandable, no, it’s not.
I’m an  fanboy since 1985, and this is stupid.
Only things I can think of as legit are:

1) Apple is going to make their own *which still would blow
2) These might damage coatings on the devices *which I have never seen.

Posted by sb on March 17, 2010 at 5:06 PM (CDT)

48

DUMP ASS APPLE, AGAIN.

Posted by carnut on March 17, 2010 at 5:37 PM (CDT)

49

What a crock.  That’s like an auto maker banning seat belts because they want people to believe that the car is safe.

Posted by Greg K. on March 17, 2010 at 6:45 PM (CDT)

50

well, I knew it. something would be happened like this. so Apple made a lot of profit. then now they are so arrogant to decide whatever they want without hearing customers? that’s sucks. who actually made Apple rich now? remember this. every year, I have purchased less and less Apple product not just because of this kind nonsense but also mac is not powerful enough, and still expensive. if you have $1000, you can have way better PC laptop in the market. if somebody doesn’t agree, please,send me email.

Posted by Edward on March 17, 2010 at 8:43 PM (CDT)

51

This is gross! I don’t want my make-up all over the screen.  Is this some ploy to get me to buy a whole new i"Phone” when the one I have gets nasty and dirty??  (Quotes are intentional since it drops calls for no reason what-so-ever).

Posted by Han4Ever on March 17, 2010 at 8:47 PM (CDT)

52

I bought one after my daughter scratched the screen by rubbing it against my iPod (which had a notch in it from being dropped)...they are very nice, but they diminish the sensitivity of the touch screen.

Still, banning them altogether is a bit extreme.

Posted by Rick on March 17, 2010 at 8:47 PM (CDT)

53

That they are pulling entire lines of cases just because the manufacturer tossed in a screen protector seems to indicate that this is about more than just clearing shelf space at the Apple store.

Do screen protectors negatively affect the proximity or brightness sensors? Static electricity issues? Overheating? Moisture sensor issues?

Should we be removing our screen protectors for fear that they might be causing unknown problems?

Until Apple elaborates, I have to assume that this is nothing more than a cheap ploy to get us to upgrade our iPods/iPhones on a more regular basis. Let’s face it, if Apple wanted these things to last forever they would have made the batteries removable. Planned obsolescence?

Posted by Paul on March 17, 2010 at 9:18 PM (CDT)

54

I have never understood why anyone would buy stuff from the Apple store. You can usually get better deals and thrown-in extras from other vendors.

I couldn’t care less what is Jobs’ anal-retentive action of this month.

Posted by Thom on March 17, 2010 at 9:37 PM (CDT)

55

Love those screens, they’ve saved me tons of scratches.  I learned the hard way, when my first of many iphones got scratched from a key in my pocket.  Until then, I’d bragged about how hardy the screens were and how they didn’t require any protection.

My suspicion is that the customer service implications of the screens are the reason that apple is banishing them from the stores.  They’re hard to get on, and the Apple store folks have always done it for me, which turns into a 10 minute or so task for a 15$ (retail) sale.

Posted by marc meyer on March 17, 2010 at 10:28 PM (CDT)

56

I will always use a screen protector on my iPhone, this is ridiculous!  A quick search of google shows you how many people scratch their iPhone screen.

Don’t buy the cheap unbranded versions, they’re rubbish.  Choose Power Support (currently sold by Apple) or PhoneDevil. I work for a well know phone retailer in the UK and those are the brands we recommend over the crappy own-brand products we are forced to sell!  They both also have excellent customer service.

Posted by John on March 17, 2010 at 11:35 PM (CDT)

57

When I had my first iPhone, I never scratched the screen and used a case for the first couple of days that I got it. The case was silicon and it annoyed me that it slipped and the like. I stopped using it. I am now considering getting a new 3Gs. I am also, if I get the phone, going to buy the OtterBox defender case, and that has been known to add little air bubbles between the built in protector of the case and the screen. Reading on how to fix this, it is said that if you just add a PowerSupport protector, the problem would be solved. I will just buy it from somewhere else, as they are the same prices anyhow.

Posted by Samantha Lea on March 18, 2010 at 1:46 AM (CDT)

58

I have a screen protector for my iPhone which I bought from an Apple store.  It’s far, far better than the screen itself - it reduces glare when using the iphone in bright light and it makes the surface a lot silkier and easier for me to run my sticky fingers over.  Not to mention the added peace of mind knowing that if I accidentally put it in the same pocket as something key-related and it gets scratched then all I need to do is remove the screen protector and put a new one on, instead of having to pay Apple lots of money for a replacement screen, or put up with the scratched one I’m stuck with. 

When will people start realising that Apple are a ridiculously stupid company when it comes to business and design decisions, but have a very very smart PR team?

Posted by lexplex_ on March 18, 2010 at 5:12 AM (CDT)

59

This has happened because customers are constantly asking Apple Store staff to put the screen protectors on for them. This in turn is causing significant delays in serving other customers as putting the screen protector on takes time.
What customers need to realise when they buy a screen protector is that they’re buying a product, not a service!

Posted by barefootman on March 18, 2010 at 5:22 AM (CDT)

60

Going naked on the whole phone - too risky. But I’ve been caseless for about a year and the iPhone feels so much better in the hand and doesn’t stick to the inside of my pocket now I have no awful case on it.  I dropped my phone on concrete (without a case) it bounced around a bit and not a scratch or dent - they are pretty bloody hardy compared to your typical mobile methinks.

I agree that it’s unlikely you would get a bad scratch on the glass screen but given the best screen films are so easy to get on bubble free these days I think it’s worth taking precautions.

Would be nice if someone came out with a smudgeless film but that’s probably next to impossible :-/

Posted by Greepo on March 18, 2010 at 9:15 AM (CDT)

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