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.
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.