UPDATE: Apple to No Longer Carry iPhone, iPod Screen Protectors?

UPDATE: Macworld is saying the reason may be the difficulty in applying the screen protectors and associated increase in return rates.

iLounge is reporting that Apple Retail and Apple Online will no longer carry screen protectors for iPhone, iPod, or anything else, either sold separately or packaged with cases. That includes plain protectors, anti-glare, privacy, mirror, or any other kind of film meant to be placed over an iPhone or iPod screen. iLounge further speculates this is a move by Apple meant to emphasize the durability of their screens -- you don't need no stinkin' protector, so to speak.

We have trouble believing any of this; it sounds unbelievable. If true, manufacturers will simply stop bundling screen protectors with their cases and customers will have to purchase them separately from a different, non-Apple channel [like the iMore Store -- cheap plug!]

Hopefully there's some misunderstanding here but we'll keep an eye on the story and update as it develops. Meanwhile let us know your thoughts in the comments.

[iLounge via Gear Diary]

YouTube link

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • I agree they're pretty durable. I went for the longest time without a single scratch. Then I dropped it less than 2 feet from the ground and got a big scratch diagonally.
  • That was an effin' good segway, Rene :)
  • Nah, to be honest I'm just no big fan of glossy screens. Matte film on my iPod touch looks and feels great. And it's quite durable, no scratches so far.
  • I had a screen protector from day one (first one from DLO, then an Invisible Shield) but when I had to get my screen replaced (dust under it), I had forgotten how smooth, how sleek, how beautiful that little slab of glass was. I have yet to reinstall any screen protector. And as for durability, I am a general contractor with keys, screws, drill bits, etc. always partying with my iPhone in my pocket and yet to have any damage at all.
  • I got one to prevent fingerprints/streaks.
  • Bestskinsever.com all then way.
  • I have had all three i phones and never had a problem with scratching until the 3gs. I think it has something to do with the oleophobic coating scratching and not the glass.
  • Funny have always used a screen protector on it for 9 months and the few days it was off got a tiny fine scratch in the screen. Nothing in the pocket besides the phone.
    Sometimes you bump it wrong or a piece of something left in your pocket and it scratched. Id still recommend a screen protector on the iphone at all times.
  • could it be the fact that the next iPhone wont fit in the excisting covers?
  • Have had my iPhone 3GS almost a year now since launch. No screen protector and using a switcheasy rebel serpent case. No scratches at all on glass. I've dropped it several times and the ridge on the switch easy case next to the glass stands out enough to where the glass wont touch anything if laid flat on a surface on it's face.
    I think a screen protector is a must though if you carry your phone loose in your pocket with keys or you are a girl and throw it into your pocketbook. I carry my iphone in a golla bag side pouch on my belt.
  • I keep going back and forth on this issue, and hearing about people getting scratches in the 3GS's oleophobic coating gets me a bit nervous. But the real reason I have a protector on now is that I like the screen better with a Power Support antiglare film installed. It actually makes the screen better, at least to me.
  • I use Zagg's "invisible shield" on my iPhone 3Gs and I'm really happy with it. I have the same product on my Macbook Pro too!!
  • i have a 3gs and have been saying for a long time you dont need a screen protector the oem screen is way better for smudges.
  • I can't even imagine not having some kind of screen protector (or a case) for my iPhone 3GS. Let's face it: when it comes to design, Apple's focus is far more on sleekness and aesthetics than durability. Which is fine, but there's no denying that these babies need external protection.
  • Here's a long-winded tale:
    I love the oleophobic coating, but didn't want to beat it up (after all, the 32G 3GS is not cheap) so I put a film on it. Fine. That film got crappy after a month went to the Apple store where I was going to buy more films. My douchebag friend ;-) talked me out of 'wasting' my money as he was going to give me his. While waiting for weeks for him to follow through, I developed a TINY scratch, like a miniature fissure in the glass or coating. You can see it, and feel it. There were other tiny scuffs in the coating as well, but not as noticeable.
    I have Case-mate films from AT&T store that were $9 for 3, though you can still see that little scratch it is less irritating. The plain Case-mates hold up very well. I never did get that replacement film from my friend.
    The lessons to be gleaned:
    1. Don't listen to douchebag friends.
    2. Get a screen protector ;-)
  • I don't use one but now after reading this article I am sure I'll drop my phone and get a scratch. Thanks.
  • Not having a screen protector is like a sailor going on shore leave without condoms saying he doesn't need them because he gets tested for STD's. Sure he may have never been infected with std's until now, but you don't want to risk it do you?
  • Updated with Macworld's take -- high return rates due to difficulty in application.
  • Good move Apple. I have no clue why someone would waste money on ruining the user experience by protecting glass! It's not going to scratch if you take care of it. Do people keep screen protectors on their windows now too ;)
  • I don't fugly up my iPhones with cases or screen protectors.
  • I had the 3G for a long time without a scree protector with no issues eventually applied a crystal.. had my 3GS for two days without a screen protector and ended up with two pretty visible scratches despite it being handled very gingerly
  • Why don't they just put one on in the factory and add .02 to the price?
  • I got a deep scratch on my iphone 3GS the second day I got it while my 3G never had one scratch on it. I think they should keep selling these things. I still don't use one because I think it's pointless right now.
  • Zagg.com best ever. I wish they made one for my windshield
  • You don't need a screen protector. Just don't put your phone in the same pocket as your keys...
  • I had no idea that anybody even accepted returns on screen protectors, once the adhesive is removed. If I screw up the application (and I have), I eat the cost, move on to the next one in the package, and be more careful next time.
    Rather than get rid of them, Apple should just say "no returns once the sticker is off", and offer $29.95 for "Genius" installation instead :)
  • After months with a screen protector, i took it off and smashed my screen within days. After I got apple to replace it (loong story, still cost $120) with a new one, I bought a screen protector in the apple store. One of the workers put it on for me, and did a PERFECT job.
  • Well no Screen Protector Georgia, But I'll take that iKlenz in your video if its any consolation! LOL
    Anyway, I always thought I would rather just clean my screen with a cleaner opposed to missing out on the iPhone screens true contrast and clarity. No complaints on my end. :)
  • Buy a good screen protector and you will not notice the difference between the iPhone screen naked or protected.
    Martin Shields Overlay Plus have protected every screen on every mobile I have owned going back to the Sony Ericsson P800, after I had to have the screen replaced because the toothpick stylus SE provided, overtime scratched dots on to the screen in the place where the keyboard appeared. Course that was back when you could choose between awful Brando SP's which were dull and blurry, or Martin Shields, which were crystal clear.
    its one of those things, why wouldn't you have one? These things are crystal clear, add next to no thickness to the screen, and stave off scratches. And if you mess up applying it, get dust under it, run the sticky side under a cold tap, blow the water off, reapply, repeat as many times as needed.
    If you don't need one, good for you, but it only takes one copper loose in your pocket to put an irritating scratch on your screen.
    I'm wondering if this is a pre-emptive move on Apples part, to avoid a potential ridiculous class action along the lines of "I scratched my iPhone screen, because I kept my keys in the same pocket, but you sell screen protectors, clearly you feel your screens are shoddy, please give me $30 dollars and my lawyers one hundred billion dollars"
  • I've had my 3GS since launch and have gone screen protector free until about a month ago. I got my mom an OtterBox Defender case and it creates a horrible watermark effect. So I fixed the problem by putting an anti-glare protector on first. Since they came 2 in a package I thought I'd try it. I liked the anti-glare properties but that was it. It ended up being more hassle than it was worth. I knit so I'm around a lot of fiber such as wool, cotton, silk, mohair and little strands of fiber would stick around the edges of the phone. I was constantly lifting up part of the protector and using tape to get the strands off. I'm over screen protectors. I don't think iPhones need protectors if you take care of them. June 2009 to February 2010 is proof enough for me. I don't have a single scratch on my screen. I have some fine scratches on the bezel but you have to be looking for them in order to see them. These screens are tougher than we think.
    With all of that said, some people, like my mom, are rough with their phones. I would never let my mom not have a screen protector of some sort. I think people with kids should also have screen protectors.
  • Had a protector for almost 18 months.
    Finally peeled off while inserting it in a case.
    Never got another.
  • I wonder when Apple will start voiding your warranty if you have a screen protector installed.
  • I had 5 3Gs'(long story). 2 of the 5 scratched. And no, smart aleca, there were no keys or change in the pocket! It is the coating and when I asked the Genius Bar about the coating, he called it a marketing gimmick (and before being brought to the Genius, I heard the guy say 'we got another one'). It was in my pocket and barely taken out as it was new and I didn't want anything to happen to it. Now I use a ZAGG Invisishield. I had Best Buy install it.
    I would rather not use a screen protector, but I hate scratches!
  • I can sort of understand the reasoning. It's not like screen covers aren't available at all, it's just that Apple isn't selling them directly. A LOT of them are low quality junk that leave a sticky residue.
  • Maybe Apple took the screen protectors out of the app store because they are going to use something like gorilla glass on the upcoming iphone? I saw that stuff during the CES coverage and it looks awesome. http://www.corning.com/gorillaglass/index.aspx
  • When my father and I bought iPhones originally, the guy at AT&T essentially forced us to get screen protectors by saying we needed them and then applying them in-store. Flash forward a couple of hours later, and I was sick of the bubbles on the screen and the fact that he hadn't applied it properly (it part of the Home button was covered in screen by just a little bit, and I'm OCD enough that it bothered me), so I took it off and haven't used a screen protector since.
    I've had friends who have taken keys to iPhone/iPod touch screens and weren't able to get a scratch. I'm not too worried.
  • What was the brand used in the video?
  • very nice iphone screen protector at shoponlinegoods, great buy at 99p do have a look at it people
  • Funny have always used a screen protector on it for 9 months and the few days it was off got a tiny fine scratch in the screen. Nothing in the pocket besides the phone.