Apple gave its new iPhone 5 a complete redesign from previous models—but for some customers, that overhaul increased the phone's susceptibility to scratches and scuffs along the body. On Monday, some owners of Apple’s latest smartphone reported that their iPhone 5 devices had come damaged out of the box, and an Apple executive has responded to one of these complaints.
Unlike its predecessors, Apple’s iPhone 5 was constructed with aluminum rather than stainless steel and glass, which Apple's senior VP of marketing Phil Schiller has cited this as a reason for the damages.
“Any aluminum product may scratch or chip with use, exposing its natural silver color. That is normal,” Schiller wrote in an email response to a customer named Alex.
The email exchange was published in full on 9to5Mac on Tuesday, a day after these reports initially surfaced. The email sent to Schiller came from a reader of 9to5Mac who inquired about any plans Apple might have to fix the “scoff, scratches and marks” found on the black version of the new iPhone 5.
The issue is believed to stem from the anodized aluminum surface found on the iPhone 5, which is the same material used in Apple’s line of lightweight laptops. This anodization process incorporated into the iPhone 5’s body is what gives the smartphones its black or white texture. This procedure does not apply to devices made of stainless steel, such as the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S, which are more resistant to scratches than aluminum.
Tech blogger Andrew Kim went to an Apple Store to trade in his damaged iPhone 5, and posted his encounter on Twitter.
“Genius while swapping out my phone: ‘The iPhone 5 is handcrafted so it’s natural to see imperfections,’” Kim tweeted on Tuesday.
Apple’s iPhone 5 can cost up to $650 for users without a contract, but these reports of scratched devices have left some users flocking to buy the white model, since the issue is believed to only affect the black iPhone 5 variants.
“Hearing that the black coating on the iPhone 5 scratches off easily isn’t making me feel good about my purchase,” tweeted user Tony.
“Did you read the iPhone 5 review where they say the black scratches show silver?!! Yea. It’s gonna be a white phone for me,” user A.X. posted on Twitter.
Some durability tests, such as the one performed by iFixIt, have proven that the rear casing of the iPhone 5 is more prone to scratches and scrapes than Apple’s previous-generation smartphone. The electronics repair website performed a test in which a two-year-old child was given a pair of keys and was told to “smash the iPhone 5.” To no surprise, numerous markings were visible after the iPhone 5 was repeatedly smacked with the set of keys.
Amidst complaints surrounding the iPhone 5’s body, the new Apple smartphone has been praised for its improved display. A report from DisplayMate compared the screen of the iPhone 5 with that of the 4 and rated the new display as a “significant improvement over its predecessor.”
Sales of the iPhone 5 had not reached expectations during its first weekend on the market, as the next-generation smartphone was projected to come close to the 10 million mark, reported Yahoo Finance. Following its debut on Friday, the Apple sold about half of the projected amount reaching five million in sales over the weekend.
Lisa Eadicicco is a reporter covering mobile technology and video games for The International Business Times. Lisa joined the editorial team at IBT in January 2012, and has...