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Apple Says Scratching on New Aluminum iPhone 5 is Normal

By - Source: Apple | B 89 comments

It's already been dubbed 'Scuffgate' by the media but Apple's Phil Schiller says scratches are normal with aluminum products.

The back of the iPhone 5 is anodized aluminum, unlike the iPhone 4S and 4, which both had a glass backing. The problem with this new material is that it scratches quite easily. As in, some of them are coming out of the box already scratched. The scratchability of this new material was recently demonstrated by iFixit and an adorable toddler the site has retained for such scientific experiments. 

iPhone 5 Rear Case Scratch Test

Despite the test showing that the iPhone 5 does scratch much easier than the iPhone 4S, Apple VP Phil Schiller says the scratching is normal with aluminum products. 9to5Mac has posted a verified email exchange between a reader and Senior Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller discussing scuff marks on the iPhone 5. The 9to5Mac reader apparently noted that his black iPhone 5 saw some "scuffs, scratches and marks" around the band and wondered if Apple had plans to address this issue. Phil responded that this was normal for any aluminum product after some use.

"Any aluminum product may scratch or chip with use, exposing its natural silver color. That is normal," he's quoted as saying.

What Schiller doesn't address is the fact that some phones are arriving with scratches or scuffs. While aluminum does scratch very easily, it goes without saying that if you're shelling out hundreds of dollars for the iPhone 5, your brand new smartphone should arrive in pristine condition. After that, it's up to you if you want to put a protective case on to prevent marks, or if you're happy enough to let wear and tear take its toll. Apple hasn't formally commented on the reports of scratches upon delivery, but we'll let you know if we hear anything.

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Top Comments
  • 31 Hide
    lahawzel , September 26, 2012 5:31 PM
    Nah, those "scratches" you get on arrival are really the dried blood and tears of tormented Foxconn workers. Spray it with a lens cleaner solution and you should be able to wipe them off easily.
  • 28 Hide
    hotroderx , September 26, 2012 5:27 PM
    I am sure they will come out and say its user error during un-packaging. They could say its the carriers scratching the phones when they go to set them up or activate them. In any case I am sure they will find a way to pass the blame on to the other guy.
  • 26 Hide
    nbelote , September 26, 2012 5:47 PM
    What? It scratches easily and/or comes prescratched? That's a new feature!
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    Display all 89 comments.
  • 28 Hide
    hotroderx , September 26, 2012 5:27 PM
    I am sure they will come out and say its user error during un-packaging. They could say its the carriers scratching the phones when they go to set them up or activate them. In any case I am sure they will find a way to pass the blame on to the other guy.
  • 7 Hide
    Ragnar-Kon , September 26, 2012 5:31 PM
    Personally, I'd take scratching on an aluminum back over a shattered glass back any day.

    And I'm sure people are happy Apple is using metal rather than the typical plastic... but if you are gonna use metal then at the very least put a scratch resistant coating on it before you sell it.
  • 31 Hide
    lahawzel , September 26, 2012 5:31 PM
    Nah, those "scratches" you get on arrival are really the dried blood and tears of tormented Foxconn workers. Spray it with a lens cleaner solution and you should be able to wipe them off easily.
  • 2 Hide
    jenesuispasbavard , September 26, 2012 5:34 PM
    That'll buff right out.
  • 14 Hide
    syrious1 , September 26, 2012 5:35 PM
    some idiot actually tried to say that the scuffs and scratches are okay since you put a case on it anyway.

    Anodized Aluminum does not scratch easily if the coating is applied thoroughly and not just once like it sounds.

    GG Apple and Foxconn
  • 21 Hide
    atminside , September 26, 2012 5:36 PM
    Apple will just say "you are just scratching it wrong"
  • 4 Hide
    dalethepcman , September 26, 2012 5:37 PM
    Your holding it wrong
  • 22 Hide
    headscratcher , September 26, 2012 5:39 PM
    Geeze, I envy apple. They can just insult the intelligence of their customer base and it works, they sell millions more. It's supposed to be scratched up, you're not holding it right, you don't need multitasking, you don't need a better map app....
    Microsoft (or anyone else) does stuff like this and they are lambasted mercilessly from every corner. Gotta envy that Apple business model.
  • 26 Hide
    nbelote , September 26, 2012 5:47 PM
    What? It scratches easily and/or comes prescratched? That's a new feature!
  • 15 Hide
    bigpoppastuke , September 26, 2012 5:49 PM
    Scratches are the "Next big thing since the iPhone4S"
  • 10 Hide
    ronch79 , September 26, 2012 5:50 PM
    I think it's important for a manufacturer to make sure that the materials they use on expensive, prestigious products are not only beautiful, but durable as well, so that even if the product has been used for a long time it will still look good and people will be convinced of their products durability and longevity, thereby convincing people to buy from the same company again. I bought a Sony Xperia Sola smart phone recently and I was pleasantly surprised to see that a screen protector was already factory-installed by default, saving me money, effort and time buying a screen protector. Sony did well here: putting on a screen protector ensures that the glass is protected and the product stays in good shape longer than if Sony never pre-installed the screen protector. It's not just a good gesture from Sony; it also helps the phone stay pretty longer and convince people that Sony products are durable, even if it's just a screen protector (just take off the screen protector and the product looks new again - just put a new protector on to continue making it that way).
  • 24 Hide
    TheViper , September 26, 2012 5:54 PM
    I bet Apple will patent this new scratching and scuffing feature.
  • 17 Hide
    CaedenV , September 26, 2012 5:54 PM
    Yes, it is normal for aluminum products, which is why hardly anyone makes painted aluminum phones anymore. It was a fad that washed out a while back because it messes with reception, scratches easy, is more expensive and heavy than plastic, etc.

    But it does feel nice, and it looks good while not scratched... and that is what Apple is good for; that initial WOW factor when you first buy it which must wear off within the year or so that it takes to push a new product to market.
  • 17 Hide
    ddpruitt , September 26, 2012 6:01 PM
    Anyone expect a different response?

    When something goes wrong it's always the users fault.
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , September 26, 2012 6:12 PM
    I wonder if the iPhone 5 would have shipped with all these issues if Steve Jobs was still alive?
  • 7 Hide
    noob2222 , September 26, 2012 6:13 PM
    Samsung put the scratches there. Apple will probably start another lawsuit against them.
  • 7 Hide
    hate machine , September 26, 2012 6:17 PM
    The iPhone5, our most scratched and scuffed up iPhone yet!
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , September 26, 2012 6:22 PM
    HTC Sensation - 17 Months old, 1 tiny minute scratch and it is abused, in pockets lying around, Side door in car, keys, dropped twice at least on hard surfaces, kids play with it!

    Shame for Apple really, Its a nice Phone the iPhone 5, great hardware and super fast, but like all 4/4s I see out there, half are cracked front and rear and the other half covered in awefull cases that ruin the design.

    Now iPhone 5 looks to go follow with skuffed scratched phone that works great Pity!
  • 9 Hide
    beardguy , September 26, 2012 6:29 PM
    I don't get why manufacturers insist on using these materials on phones. So many phones look great, but scratch way too easy. Why not make something that's actually going to stay nice looking. Cheap ass materials.
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