When Apple announced the Jet Black version of its iPhone 7, it warned that the high-gloss, polished finish would likely show wear and tear more visibly than the other, matte-cloaked models. Many customers who wanted a sleek, stealthy iPhone opted for standard black for this very reason. Now it seems that the decision to go with the matte may not have made much of a difference at all., according to reports from multiple users on Apple’s Support Communities forum.
Owners of the black iPhone 7 Plus are complaining of paint chipping off their devices after mere weeks of use, even when kept in a case. The claims actually date back to mid-November, about two months after the device launched, but have ramped up in the last week.
One customer says he took his 7 Plus to an Apple Store, where he was told the damage is only cosmetic and, as such, is not covered in the phone’s warranty. The issues seem to crop up more often around edges and cutouts for the speaker holes and buttons, though some users have recently complained of large flakes and and fine imperfections along the backside as well.
Customers have long pointed out the fragility of their smartphones, but what makes this particular phenomenon so interesting is that vast majority of those affected say they have had a case on their iPhones since day one. The pictures on Apple’s forum all show relatively pristine-looking devices — save for the paint imperfections — indicating they haven’t been dropped or scuffed in any way.
This precise issue has precedent with Apple’s smartphones. A common gripe of the iPhone 5 was the fragility of its anodized aluminum, spotted, in some cases, right out of the box. Phil Schiller, the company’s marketing chief, even responded to one customer’s email directly, saying “Any aluminum product may scratch or chip with use, exposing its natural silver color. That is normal.”
Many customers seeking some kind of compensation from Apple might have been turned away late last year because the issues were isolated, the product was brand new, and there was little consensus on the issue among the community at the time. In the meantime, some of those individuals have turned to hiding the marks with black acrylic paint. As affected users continue to speak out, however, it’s possible Apple will have to investigate and respond to the reports.
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