Discolored screen, scratches on the back: anyone for an iPhone 4?

The awe-inspiring beauty of the new iPhone 4 is looking a little faded, with reports of yellow patches on the screen and an easily scratched casing.

It was perhaps a little foolhardy of Steve Jobs to promise that the iPhone 4G would be more scratch-resistant than its predecessor. Sales of diamond-tipped drill bits went through the roof, as tech hacks took up the challenge.

Now, Engadget has managed to scratch the back of the casing, and has three pictures on its site to prove it.

Rather more serious, though, are reports of yellow, greenish or brown discoloration to the screen. Apple’s support website is buzzing with disgruntled customers complaining about a ‘dingy display’ or a ‘yellow-green film’.

It’s “so yellow it looks like someone took a p*ss on it,” complains one.

It’s not the first time Apple devices have gone a bit yellow about the gills. In February this year, the company was forced to suspend production of its 27-inch Mac because of yellowish displays. Back in 2008, there were similar reports of yellow screens with the iPhone 3G.

Depending on the scale of the problem – and some users say it applies to the majority of the iPhone 4s they’ve seen – Apple may have a problem offering replacements. Touchscreen production in the Far East is particularly tight at the moment.

Apple has not yet responded to calls.