Belfast Telegraph

Monday 14 July 2014

Apple iPhone 5 users reporting manufacturing faults, right out of the box

Apple iPhone 5

Millions of people have been looking forward to the moment they open their newly purchased iPhone 5, but the excitement has been short-lived for some customers as they pull open the minimalist packaging only to discover small dents, scratches and discolouration on their brand new iPhone 5’s aluminium frame.



Granted, a little cosmetic damage isn’t the end of the world, but when you’re parting with many hundreds of pounds for a brand new gadget, manufacturing faults are the last thing you want to see when you open the box.



To add insult to injury, Apple have been touting the fit and finish of the iPhone 5 throughout its launch, and subsequent advertising campaign, comparing the manufacturing precision to that of a finely crafted watch.



According to Apple’s website: “Look at iPhone 5 and you can’t help but notice the exquisite chamfer surrounding the display. A crystalline diamond cuts this beveled edge. It’s what gives iPhone 5 its distinctive lines. Fitting for a phone so brilliant.”



The chamfered edge surrounding the display is one of the main areas suffering from damage. That extremely sharp edge, cut into the iPhone’s aluminium frame, is prone to chipping and denting. The soft metal becomes brittle when machined to such a fine degree. This appears even more apparent on the black model, as the black outer layer of anodized Aluminium has already been seen to wear off, revealing the original metallic grey colour just beneath the anodized surface.



Some customers have reported uneven patterns on the frame, specifically surrounding the joints, which are separated by plastic fillers, designed to improve antenna reception. This discolouration could be produced by an uneven anodising process, as it is applied to the aluminium frame during the manufacturing process.



With over five million iPhone 5 units sold within the first two days, it’s no surprise that some units may have slight cosmetic damage, nobody’s arguing that. The real problem is exactly how long your sleek and shiny new iPhone 5 will remain in good condition before that delicate chamfered edge gets knocked or scuffed. It looks like buying a protective case will be the first port of call after your phone arrives.



That finely crafted design will need to be hidden away inside an ugly plastic shell if you want to keep it as perfect as possible. If reports of damage continue to increase, we could see another media disaster, reminiscent of the iPhone 4’s ‘antennagate’ two years ago, which saw Apple provide free cases to customers to remedy the reported reception issues.



If you’re planning to purchase an iPhone 5 in the near future, I would suggest opening the box in store to check the condition of the phone before you take it home. If there is any visible damage then request a replacement while you still have the chance. That’s if they have enough stock in the first place.



Have you purchased an iPhone 5 only to be greeted with a nasty chip, dent or scratch? If so let us know in the comments below.

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