What factory-scratched iPhones tell us about the new Apple

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) can hardly scratch its proverbial chin without stirring up controversy. And so it is that the brand-new iPhone 5 already inspired a couple of big complaints.

You’ve already heard all about the disappointing map app, and how iPhone users everywhere wish that Apple had stuck to its proven Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) map solution. But that’s actually the less interesting complaint, because the other one speaks volumes about the new Apple.

Some reviewers noted that the black version of the new iPhone scratches and scuffs easily. Some users even report unwrapping their brand-new phone only to find it pre-scratched. That’s hardly the kind of factory conditioning you expect from a high-end device — especially when its designer is known for fanatical attention to detail.

I mean, you might recall that Apple refused to ship white versions of the iPhone 4 for several months, just because the plastic home button didn’t quite match the shade of white in the surrounding glass enclosure. iPhones sport expensive Corning (NYSE: GLW) Gorilla Glass because Steve Jobs worried about his keys scuffing up a plastic screen in the pocket. The first iPhone was redesigned with glass covers just weeks before the scheduled release.

But that perfectionist mentality seems to be gone now. Phil Schiller, who runs Apple’s marketing department, was confronted with the pre-scuffed iPhones. Instead of offering to fix the issue, he borrowed a different move from the late, great Jobs’ playbook: “Any aluminum product may scratch or chip with use, exposing its natural silver color. That is normal.”

That’s more like the “you’re holding it wrong” kerfuffle. It’s not me, it’s you. But even Antennagate ended up with a flood of free phone cases to mitigate the issue. We’ve seen nothing of the sort here — at least not yet.

Sure, it’s normal for anodised aluminum to show wear and tear. That’s why I wonder if Steve Jobs would ever seriously consider using that material, especially in a mobile device that takes its fair share of rough treatment. Obviously, it’s good enough for Schiller and efficiency-minded CEO Tim Cook. If star designer Sir Jonathan Ive put up a fight here, he was overruled. This from a company where designers used to hold more sway than engineers or cost controls.

“Good enough” wasn’t good enough under Steve Jobs. That’s changing now. Is Apple’s new direction a turn for the better, or for worse?

If you’re in the market for some high yielding ASX shares, look no further than our “Secure Your Future with 3 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks” report. In this free report, we’ve put together our best ideas for investors who are looking for solid companies with high dividends and good growth potential. Click here now to find out the names of our three favourite income ideas. But hurry – the report is free for only a limited time.

 More reading

The Motley Fools purpose is to help the world invest, better. Take Stock is The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. Click here now to request your free subscription, whilst it’s still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

A version of this article, written by Anders Bylund, originally appeared on

The 5 mining stocks we’re recommending in 2019…

For decades, Australian mining companies have minted money for individual investors like you and me. But if you believe the pundits and talking heads on TV, those days are long gone. Finito! Behind us forever…

We say nothing could be further from the truth. To earn the really massive returns, you’ve got to fish where others aren’t fishing—and the mining sector could be primed for a resurgence. That’s why top Motley Fool analysts just revealed their exciting new research on 5 ASX miners they believe could help you profit in 2019 and beyond…


The best way we see to play the global zinc shortage… Our #1 favourite large-cap miner (hint: it’s not BHP)… one early-stage gold miner we think could hit the motherlode… Plus two more surprising companies you probably haven’t heard of yet!

For free access to our brand-new research, simply click here or the link below. But be warned, this research is available free for a limited time only, and we reserve the right to withdraw it at any time.

Click here for your FREE report!