Since the release of the iPhone 5, Twitter has had a new trend: Scuffgate. It’s not been the best week for Apple, with the company being criticised for its maps, and the camera suffering from a purple hue for many users. Scuffgate, however, refers to many users noticing how easily the new iPhone scratches and scuffs, to the point that some are even taking damaged iPhones out of the box.
The reason the iPhone 5 scratches easily is because it uses anodised aluminium, and Apple Senior Vice President of Marking Phil Schiller has described this as normal, saying in response to a user email that “Any aluminum product may scratch or chip with use, exposing its natural silver color. That is normal.”
It’s not actually as normal as Schiller would like consumers to believe. Apple uses anodised aluminium for its Macbooks and iMacs, and they do not suffer the same problem. Nokia also uses it on its products E7 and N8, both of which are known for their ruggedness and durability. Aluminium itself may be a soft metal, but it is not “normal” for a phone to arrive scratched – if it were, Apple should have rethought the idea to use it. The real issue is that coating is very thin on the iPhone 5, making it particularly susceptible to scratches and scuffs.
For comparison, here’s a video of the N8 being deliberately scratched:
And while we’re on the subject of phone durability (and Apple’s lack of it), the Lumia 900 gets put through its paces to see how much damage it can take:
Frozen for 2 hours.
Cooked for an hour at 200F
Used as a hammer
Thrown from a moving car twice
Dunked in a pool