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Spoiler alert: We weren’t able to crack these phones, but we did manage to break the cameras. What will it take to crack the glass on the iPhone 11 and ? That’s the question I’m asking myself after putting these phones through eight different drop tests, each time onto hard concrete. Try as I might, the glass on these phones just wouldn’t crack. But that doesn’t mean the phones were damage-free.
At Apple’s September event, Kaiann Drance, Apple’s senior director of product marketing, said the iPhone 11 glass is the “toughest ever in a smartphone, on the front and back.” We know that glass is , the company behind Gorilla Glass.
It’s not the first time Apple has made such claims. Last year, marketing chief Phil Schiller said the iPhone XS had “the most durable glass ever built into a smartphone.” .
The iPhone XR, however, wasn’t so lucky. On the .
We decided to change things up with this year’s drop test. Our test zone was a concrete floor and to make the drops as consistent as possible, CNET Managing Producer Chris Parker built a system that helped each phone fall directly on the screen or on the back. While the drop machine didn’t guarantee the phones would land in the desired position every time, it did help us test in a controlled way.
Of course, these tests were not scientific, but they do give us an idea of how the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro fare when dropped without a case.
After each drop, I checked:
- The screen for scratches or cracks
- The back and camera for scratches or cracks
- If the screen still worked
- If the camera still worked
Here’s what happened.
Drop 1: 3 feet on the screen and the back
For the first drop I positioned the iPhone 11 to land screen side down. Falling from 3 feet (1 meter), which is about hip (or pocket) height, the phone was not damaged at all when it landed on the screen.
The iPhone 11 Pro gave the same result. There was no visible damage and everything still worked as expected.
I repeated the drop with both phones, except this time they fell on their backs. Same as when they fell screen-side down, there was no damage to report.
Drop 2: 6 feet on the screen and the back
For the next round of drops we took the machine to 6 feet and repeated the same drops.
The iPhone 11 had no damage at all when dropped on the screen or the back.
But the results were a little different for the iPhone 11 Pro. After it fell screen down on the first drop, I could see a small area of discolored or damaged pixels towards the bottom of the screen. There were no cracks on the glass itself, however, and the screen still worked as normal.
Drop 3: 8 feet on the screen and back
I wanted to take these phones even higher, so we set our machine to its limit: 8 feet, 7 inches.
Dropping the iPhone 11 on its screen, the glass again did not crack. But when dropping it on its back, it sustained some damage: a minor scuff on the aluminum bumper and a cosmetic scratch on the top lens housing. The camera itself still worked.
The iPhone 11 Pro fell on its screen first and added a few more small damaged pixels, this time higher up on the screen. Like the iPhone 11, it had some minor cosmetic damage to the camera housing.
While it’s unlikely that you would drop your phone any higher than this, we took it to the next level — these phones were still usable and the glass didn’t show any signs of cracking.
Final drop: 11 feet
For the final round, we dismantled the machine and reassembled it as high as we could take it: 11 feet.
I only dropped the phones once from this height, screen-side down. The iPhone 11 fell first on a corner, flipped, then landed screen side down. The iPhone 11 Pro fell first on its side, flipped and landed on its back.
Again, the glass did not break on either of the two phones — on the front or back. The iPhone 11’s rear camera stopped working altogether and just showed a black screen when I opened the Camera app, although the TrueDepth camera was fine. I restarted the phone just to double-check and the camera still showed a black screen.
The iPhone 11 Pro’s SIM card tray popped out when it landed but I was able to push it back in. Then, I ran my finger around the edge of the phone and felt a small bulge where the screen did not sit perfectly flush with the stainless steel frame. There was also an area of discoloration at the back of the phone (click to enlarge the photo below).
Does that mean the glass on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro is stronger than on previous iPhones? That’s a tough call to make given that our previous tests were not conducted in the same way. But it does show that this year’s phones can withstand a lot more drops onto concrete than we were expecting.
While neither of the phones cracked like we’ve seen in previous years, they didn’t emerge totally unscathed: The iPhone 11 Pro had some damaged pixels and the iPhone 11’s rear camera stopped working after our final drop.
I reached out to Apple for more information and the company provided the following statement: “iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro both are made from the toughest glass ever shipped in the smartphone industry on the front and back. iPhone 11 features an aerospace-grade aluminum band and iPhone 11 Pro features a stainless steel structural band. All go through rigorous real-world testing and are designed to be durable, but not indestructible. If anyone is concerned about dropping their iPhone and damaging it, we suggest using one of the many beautiful cases available to protect iPhone.”
I wasn’t the only one who tested out the iPhone 11 Pro and found the glass didn’t break when dropped from extreme heights. EverythingApplePro got similar results when dropping the phones from 10 feet. However, the glass did break on the final drop, likely because one phone landed on top of the other.
For the ultimate peace of mind, we still recommend putting a case on your phone, as getting it repaired if the glass does crack can be expensive: up to $329 for the screen or $599 for the back if you don’t have AppleCare Plus coverage.
Originally published in September.
Britain in talks with 6 firms about building gigafactories for EV batteries
Britain is in talks with six companies about building gigafactories to produce batteries for electric vehicles (EV), the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people briefed on the discussions.
Car makers Ford Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co Ltd, conglomerates LG Corp and Samsung, and start-ups Britishvolt and InoBat Auto are in talks with the British government or local authorities about locations for potential factories and financial support, the report added .
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
EBay to sell South Korean unit for about $3.6 billion to Shinsegae, Naver
EBay Korea is the country’s third-largest e-commerce firm with market share of about 12.8% in 2020, according to Euromonitor. It operates the platforms Gmarket, Auction and G9.
Shinsegae, Naver and eBay Korea declined to comment.
Lotte Shopping had also been in the running, the Korea Economic Daily and other newspapers said, citing unnamed investment banking sources.
South Korea represents the world’s fourth largest e-commerce market. Driven by the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce has soared to account for 35.8% of the retail market in 2020 compared with 28.6% in 2019, according to Euromonitor data.
Shinsegae and Naver formed a retail and e-commerce partnership in March by taking stakes worth 250 billion won in each other’s affiliates.
($1 = 1,117.7000 won)
(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)
Canada launches long-awaited auction of 5G spectrum
The 3,500 MHz is a spectrum companies need to provide 5G, which requires more bandwidth to expand internet capabilities.The auction, initially scheduled for June 2020, is expected to take several weeks with Canadian government selling off 1,504 licenses in 172 service areas.
Smaller operators are going into the auction complaining that recent regulatory rulings have further tilted the scales in the favour of the country’s three biggest telecoms companies – BCE, Telus and Rogers Communications Inc – which together control around 90% of the market as a share of revenue.
Canadian mobile and internet consumers, meanwhile, have complained for years that their bills are among the world’s steepest. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has threatened to take action if the providers did not cut bills by 25%.
The last auction of the 600 MHz spectrum raised C$3.5 billion ($2.87 billion) for the government.
The companies have defended themselves, saying the prices they charge are falling.
Some 23 bidders including regional players such as Cogeco and Quebec’s Videotron are participating in the process. Shaw Communications did not apply to participate due to a $16 billion takeover bid from Rogers. Lawmakers and analysts have warned that market concentration will intensify if that acquisition proceeds.
In May, after Canada‘s telecoms regulator issued a ruling largely in favour of the big three on pricing for smaller companies’ access to broadband networks, internet service provider TekSavvy Inc withdrew from the auction, citing the decision.
Some experts say the government has been trying to level the playing field with its decision to set aside a proportion of spectrum in certain areas for smaller companies.
Gregory Taylor, a spectrum expert and associate professor at the University of Calgary, said he was pleased the government was auctioning off smaller geographic areas of coverage.
In previous auctions where the license covered whole provinces, “small providers could not participate because they could not hope to cover the range that was required in the license,” Taylor said.
Smaller geographic areas mean they have a better chance of fulfilling the requirements for the license, such as providing service to 90% of the population within five years of the issuance date.
The auction has no scheduled end date, although the federal ministry in charge of the spectrum auction has said winners would be announced within five days of bidding completion.
($1 = 1.2181 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by David Gregorio)