Scratchgate : Why Is Everyone Trying to Destroy an iPhone 5 These Days?
Scratch tests, drop tests, hammer tests, running the iPhone 5 over with a car, it just amazes me the lengths that the internets will go to just to see how "easy" it is to scratch or damage the new iPhone. I'm all for comparative tests but why do we never see a batch of real-world tests? Why isn't anyone recording an afternoon of pulling their new iPhone in and out of their pockets with some keys in there? Or recording that accidental moment when you put your iPhone into a pocket full of loose change. How about a test of getting into your car and the phone is in your ass cheek pocket?
To paraphrase from the film Holyman "would you rather see a building being blown up or a building being created?" If you buy a nice new car would you take your set of keys and try to scratch it? Let's face it proportionally cars cost a hell of a lot more money than the iPhone or maybe it's a case we have far too much disposable income nowadays?
If you take a sharp metal object like a kitchen knife and repeatedly stab another metal object, is anyone really going to be surprised at what the results are? Just so I can set the story straight here I'm not against tests like these but would rather have them be more representative of the daily usage of what you can expect. If you take a sharp metal object like a kitchen knife and repeatedly stab another metal object is anyone really going to be surprised at what the results are? Of course there's going to be chipping and marking even with the best of cases. Scratch a hard metal against a softer metal, well guess what. We have to remember that Apple hasn't invented some new super metal but using existing elements which already out there. Yet people out there are up in arms about the results, going back to the car analogy have you ever had your car keyed? I can tell you from first hand experience it's a thin layer of anodised color on there.
Out of interest I happened to google Nokia Lumia drop tests, Galaxy s3 drop tests and almost all of them pale into comparison compared to the barrage of tests Apple devices got subjected to.
Knowing full well the total cost of ownership of my iPhone 5 will cost me in excess of £850 over 2 years, I tend to care for it with the same treatment and dignity as I do my laptop or iPad. Yet laptops, tablets and even phones of a similar ilk seem to be exempt from this new wave of rugged testing. As a form of entertainment, it's fun and enjoyable to watch the lengths people will go to but when that starts trickling down into "scratchgate" enough is enough.
Sites like iFixit seem surprised that scratching steel against aluminium results in scratching. Sure watching the two-year-old child go wild with some keys on the back of an iPhone does make for an interesting test but would you really leave your phone in that situation? For sure nobody wants a scratched iPhone but when you're going to such extreme tests to try and damage a product, which is actually a sensitive electronic device, which you are paying quite a lot of money for, one would hope that you would actually take some care over what has probably been quite a sizeable investment for most.
Scratch Testing an iPhone 4 against the iPhone 5
[pullquote_left]You can't just ignore one test and proclaim the other phone better?[/pullquote_left]If you're going to make bold claims to say that one phone is more scratch resistant than the other then surely you need to perform the same tests on each phone? Taking the iFixit video as an example (and no I'm not just ripping on them) the iPhone 4 appears to come off better in similar tests however iFixit don't go to the same extreme of scratching the bumper as they do in the iPhone 5 test. Surely before proclaiming which phone is the more scratch resistant both phones should have the same test performed on them and then declare an outright winner? You can't just ignore one test and proclaim the other phone better?
iFixit do mention the odd disclaimer saying that some of their tests are a little bit extreme but then go on to proclaim that the iPhone has been extremely damaged and are upset with the results. Here's the video for you to seek and make up your own minds.
So Apple have released a device which is smaller and thinner and lighter than anything else they've ever released and let's not beat around the bush here that device is a technological marvel. Even if you aren't a fan of the iPhone you still have to admit that it's still above and beyond an incremental improvement and exactly in keeping with the Apple roadmap of years gone by.
It seems that the only thing that hasn't improved over time in some respects is people's realistic expectations of a phone chassis. My Lian Li pc case here cost in excess of £140 and that thing gets chipped if you drop a cd accidentally onto the top (long story don't ask).
It's a simple matter of fact that if you like the device, get it and look after it. If you feel the burden of responsibility of looking after your purchase is too much, there are plenty of alternatives around.
All these articles seem to miss one very important point. If you look after your iPhone and care for it in the appropriate matter it'll look good for ages to come. Treat it like crap and guess what it's going to look like...
iPhone 5 Arriving Pre Damaged
[pullquote_left]You have to be slightly mad if you plunk down all that money on a new phone and not check the contents before you leave the shop.[/pullquote_left]I'm not writing this article setting out to make this a pro Apple piece but trying to give a more balanced sense of perspective. People are jumping on a new bandwagon saying that the iPhones are being delivered direct from Apple pre-damaged. Could it not be a simple case of being damaged by your local courier? Again we have to treat these stories with a pinch of salt because the Internet is prone to a very vocal minority and not the vast majority. Quite honestly you would be mad if you plunk down all that money on a new phone and not check the contents before you leave the shop. Granted for the price you're paying your purchase your purchased should be perfect each and every time.
Addendum. There's no doubting the good work that they do over at iFixit helping countless people to fix their iDevices of their own accord.
Oh and if you really want to do a scratch test... THIS is how you do it..
invisibleShield iPhone 5 Scratch Test.
I've reached out to the invisibleShield person to see if they are brave enough to let me take a protective cover to the beach :D
Update From Phil Schiller
"Any aluminum product may scratch or chip with use, exposing its natural silver color. That is normal."