The frenzy surrounding the release of the long-awaited iPhone 5 is only just now beginning to subside. But as Apple fans settle into using the device, some reports indicate that there may be a problem with the device's black exterior.
As customers got their hands on the iPhone 5, several reports emerged of iPhones with damaged edges and scratched backings right out of the box. Other purchasers of the device claimed that, after just a little bit of normal use, the iPhone 5 displayed significant scratches to its backside or edges. The issue has become so widely reported that a Twitter hashtag called "scuffgate" has emerged as more user reports trickle in.
One cameraman from ABC news posted an interesting anecdote about a consumer who was quickly taken into a California Apple store for a replacement after complaining about the issue publicly. And on YouTube, a number of videos have popped up featuring users showing off the scratches and chipped areas on their new iPhone 5s.
According to Apple, unlike the glass backing of the iPhone 4S, the back of the iPhone 5 is made of anodized aluminum, the same material used to house Apple's laptops. But one doesn't generally carry a laptop in one's pants pockets with keys and coins rubbing against its exterior, so the wear and tear on the laptop's material is likely to differ from that of a smartphone.
Interestingly, just days before the iPhone 5's release, a video report from an independent news site from China detailed unconfirmed reports from an alleged Foxconn factory worker who said early batches of the iPhone 5 would have scuff-prone back panels. The worker reportedly said that consumers should wait until after October to purchase unaffected batches of the device.
Although Apple has yet to issue any statement on the reports, a number of apparently satisfied reviewers and purchasers of the device have yet to report any iPhone 5 issues related to scratching, indicating that this may be a defect specific to a particular batch, or that many have accepted that special care may be necessary when handling the device, something users may have become accustomed given the fragile nature of the glass-backed iPhone 4. You can take a look at one widely shared scratch test of the iPhone 5 in the video below.