The iPhone 5 hit the streets last Friday, and it’s the slenderest and lightest iPhone yet. Unfortunately, it’s also, seemingly, the most sensitive. Its anodized aluminum backplate scratches up a storm. The iPhone 4 and 4S had Corning glass backs that were pretty invulnerable. However, aluminum is a fairly soft material and is already showing damage.
iPhone 5 exterior more sensitive than expected
Apple has used anodized aluminum for the colored iPods for a while – it’s lighter than stainless steel and easy to build with, and it can be painted pretty much any color – in the case of the iPhone 5 black/grey and silver/white. This paint layer is only very thin, though – it’s a dye that penetrates just the first few layers of the metal. We know aluminum is fairly soft, and so it doesn’t take much for scratches to expose the shiny metal – hence the iPhone 5 dilemma.
New iPhone 5 owners got online over the weekend to bemoan the fact that their new gadgets already had scratches and dents – some out of the box, apparently. It looks as well as if the black version scuffs more easily than the white. Apple hasn’t said much about this yet.
Apart from this cosmetic weakness, the iPhone 5 seems durable otherwise. It did better than the Samsung Galaxy S3 in a drop test – it got scuffed, as you’d imagine, but stayed intact for longer. iFixit also found that the iPhone 5 is easier to repair than the 4 or 4S. When techies are taking the phone apart, the screen comes off first, which makes life much simpler.
So, despite THOSE maps (cough….looks away….), screen problems and a soft body, the iPhone 5 will almost certainly be Apple best selling phone yet, because it just will. Sadly, that stunning design will have to stay under protective wraps for most of its life, which is a shame.