What’s gone wrong with Apple’s leather iPhone case?

brown leather smartphone case beside white earbuds

I’ve always been a fan of Apple’s official iPhone cases, specifically the saddle brown leather version. I’ve been buying them since the iPhone X, but the latest version, for the iPhone 12 has left me disappointed.

Here’s my case, after a year of use…

Do you spot anything unusual?

After a year of being man-handled, shoved in dirty pockets and equally dirty hands, it looks pretty clean.

Too clean.

Past leather cases have quickly picked up minor nicks in the leather as well as a patina across the case. After a while of this, the leather looks aged, but in a good way. The way leather ages. If you look at the picture at the very top of the post, you’ll see what I mean. This case, though, nothing. Well, except for the corners.

What’s different here is that the cases include the new MagSafe technology and it certainly feels more solid. At first my suspicion is that the leather is a lot thinner now, making way for whatever is needed for the MagSafe but, if you look at the transparent plastic variations, apart from the MagSafe ring, there doesn’t appear to be anything more to it.

But there’s something else too. Where more than a small scuff has occurred, it’s showing something white…

Can you see the white specks in those pictures? That’s not dirt or dust, or anything that can be cleaned off, but where a thin layer of leather is missing, exposing something white below.

The end result of all this is a very disappointing experience. These official cases aren’t cheap (particularly now they have the MagSafe in them too) and, for the first time, I wish I hadn’t purchased it. For my iPhone 13, I’ll be buying a clear version of the MagSafe case – it’s cheaper and at least I know what I’ll be getting. Is this change a result of MagSafe or Apple cutting corners?

Talk to me!

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