"Browning like a rotten banana"

The Case of the Crappy iPhone Case
My iPhone 15 Pro Max’s FineWoven case after five months of use....

Joanna Stern makes the case against the latest iPhone case in her WSJ newsletter:

There it is, everyone. My iPhone 15 Pro Max’s FineWoven case after five months of use. The edges are peeling, the fabric is scratched up like an old CD and it’s browning like a rotten banana. I’ve been waiting for the CDC to show up at my house to declare it a biomedical concern.

Some of you will say: “JOANNA! How gross are you?” Others—those who bought this case for $59 when it came out in September—will likely say: “Yep. Same issues here.”

Yep. Same issues here. Though I noticed it about five days in rather than five months, and so I returned it. The only Apple product I've ever returned as far as I can recall. And I clearly made the right call.

Obviously Apple isn't immune to missteps – see also: the TouchBar, the "butterfly" keyboard, etc – but this one really should have been obvious from the get-go. Apple replaced their generally well-regarded (but expensive) leather cases with ones that were worse in basically every way (yet stayed expensive).

Yes, they may be more environmentally friendly according to Apple, but how much does that matter if fewer people end up buying them? I mean, I guess technically fewer sold is even more environmentally friendly. So maybe that was Apple's play here all along: create a case no one wants and you'll be at carbon zero in no time!

Anyway, I stand by my thoughts from five months ago:

And the feel, having had one for over a week now, is just okay. It’s sort of like a cross between felt and your grandparents’ old couch. Or at least, my grandparents’ old couch. I’m sure that technically-speaking, FineWoven is impressive. Like Arcteryx or whatnot. But the material just isn’t great for a case. And I haven’t even irrevocably scratched mine yet!

The above is mainly commenting on the backside of the case, of course. The much bigger issue are the sides of the case. Which is what truly makes the case look cheap. At best, they look like faux-leather glued on. At worst, they look like pieces of plastic glued on. I believe I happened to choose the color, taupe, that looks the worst. But they all don’t live up to the nice, uniform standard of Apple’s previous cases.