Apple’s Schiller On #ScratchGate: Aluminum Scratching Is Normal

Apple SVP of Marketing Phil Schiller has reportedly responded to a customer complaint regarding the scratching border of a black and slate iPhone 5, via an email received by 9to5Mac this morning. Schiller apparently responded to concerns by pointing out that aluminum is naturally subject to scratches, and that minor chips over time are to be expected with the iPhone 5’s construction materials.

9t05Mac received the complete email, and verified the headers to make sure that it was indeed a legitimate email coming from the Apple exec. The body of the email from Schiller reads:

Any aluminum product may scratch or chip with use, exposing its natural silver color. That is normal.

As we reported yesterday, aluminum is relatively soft, especially compared to glass, and will scratch more easily than more durable materials. If you have an iPad or MacBook Air/Pro, you can probably personally attest to aluminum’s susceptibility to surface scratches. One of the big problems appears to be that Apple has opted to use aluminum with a black surface coating on the darker iPhone 5 model, leading to higher visibility of scratches as the aluminum’s natural color shows through when it’s damaged.

The use of aluminum has a pretty considerable upside, however, since drop tests have generally shown that it’s far more resistant to significant damage from taking tumbles. Dings and dents are one thing, but a shattered back is something that’s hard to come back from, at least barring expensive repairs. Really, Schiller is just pointing out the obvious, but this is the first comment we’ve seen about the issue from Apple leadership.

We’ve reached out to Apple for additional comment and will update if they provide any.