Customer FineWoven complaints lead to threadbare response from Apple

Posted:
in iPhone

An internal memo from Apple to retail employees offers little help regarding iPhone FineWoven case material complaints over durability and build quality.

Apple's FineWoven case
Apple's FineWoven case



Apple has moved away from leather products in favor of a more sustainable FineWoven material. The suede-like cloth material falls short in several ways, as we covered in our review.

Apple sent out an internal memo to retail employees in response to customer complaints and questions, and it was seen by 9to5Mac. The memo didn't offer much helpful information and repeated much of what was shared on Apple's website.

"You may get questions from customers about the appearance of the new FineWoven material, how it wears over time, and how to care for it," the memo stated. "You can let customers know the FineWoven material is made from a luxurious microtwill, with a soft yet durable suede-like texture."

When asked about durability, employees should explain that cases "may look different and show wear over time as the fibers get compressed with normal use." The memo adds that "some scratches may diminish over time."

The memo also shares previously known information, like how MagSafe accessories may leave imprints and how to clean the material. Like other Apple products, Apple recommends wiping down the case with a damp, lint-free cloth.

FineWoven may have been a mistake as a case material, though time will tell if Apple abandons the option. It is yet to be seen how the material will endure as an Apple Watch band, which are now available to order.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    does apple know something we don't? after 30-60-90 days, does the material suddenly look good? Or is just a line to get people to buy a new one every month hoping it somehow works better  and lasts longer "this" time? 
    williamlondongrandact73
  • Reply 2 of 13
    Do people really expect something made from recycled plastic to be durable. Recycled plastic isn’t as good as virgin plastic.
    jfabula1williamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 13
    have a finewoven case... saw some preliminary reports of issues, gave it a quick spray of DWR, I actually thought I might end up being ok with it.  Couple things ruined it for me

    the combo textile back and cheapish plastic on the sides isn't a winning combo.  In fact, any case that goes for "premium" back and then has cheapish plasticky sides, just doesn't work.  Nomad goods comes closest to pulling it off but tbh I don't care for theirs, as nice as it is, because of this. 

    second complaint, the fit/finish is disappointing.  It's not rampantly loose on the phone, but there's a decent amount of flex/creak that feels anything but premium.  Hard pass.

    My favorite case... Vaja.  Their grip case is crazy expensive, like $100, but it's basically perfect.  full wrap leather, no cheap exposed plastic sides, openings vs cutouts for buttons, raised lip for front protection, fit is great (as you would expect for the price).  Their 14 pro max grip case actually fits the 15 pro max, which is surprising based on the size differences.

    My point is... that's a tiny company.  Someone that can offer that quality, that number of customizations, etc... Apple should be able to match the basics at a discount.  Apple embraces watch bands.  Embrace cases just a touch more.  Do what they do with a wool blend.  The finewoven case effort makes you feel like they are denying a case is a thing for most people, which is about the dumbest thing ever.
    jdwwilliamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 13
    Do people really expect something made from recycled plastic to be durable. Recycled plastic isn’t as good as virgin plastic.
    I tried to look it up. „As good“ apparently depends on the choice of specific material properties and domain you ar interested in. I found this, e.g.: https://www.cetjournal.it/cet/22/94/220.pdf . Generally speaking, the durability depends on the quality of the recycled material and the manufacturing process, according to other sources. So what you say may be true, inarticulate thinking about using the cover years. Time will tell, I suppose. I give Apple credit for going all in regarding sustainable. Having said that, I am curious whether the replacement material will be adequate; and secondly, I have no idea whether stepping away from leather is actually „more sustainable“. I do not imagine that somewhere animals are being bred and slaughtered just for the leather that went into the production of cases and wrist bands; in other words: as long as there is meat, there will be leather. also, I do not know about the footprints of the manufacturing process for both materials. Not to mention microplastics. Hm
    edited September 26 baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 13
    I got the new Apple case and so far I‘m positively surprised. I was expecting worse. I don’t think the sides are much different from the back. They also show the fine woven texture, likely from the same material. Just the padding underneath is harder. The main issue will be how the case ages over time. Like with sneakers, jeans or wooden furniture, aging can add a nice and pleasing patina. If this will also by the case with the new Apple cases, time will tell. It can go both direction – shabby and worn out or nicely worn in with character and patina.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,278member
    kelly93 said:
    My favorite case... Vaja.  Their grip case is crazy expensive, like $100, but it's basically perfect.  full wrap leather, no cheap exposed plastic sides, openings vs cutouts for buttons, raised lip for front protection, fit is great (as you would expect for the price).  Their 14 pro max grip case actually fits the 15 pro max, which is surprising based on the size differences.
    Thanks for the tip.  I'd never heard of Vaja before, but their wallet case is nothing less than spectacular!

    https://www.vajacases.com/products/wallet-iphone-15-pro-max-leather-case

    However, the fundamental flaw that I see is that the connector side is totally open and unprotected.  I avoid all cases that do not cover all sides well, and I also prefer wallet cases, not because I put cash or cards in them (I don't), but because I want complete protection.  I have never, ever broken even cover glass, much less iPhone glass.  Do you know why?  Because unlike so many people out there who use iPhones with the front totally unprotected (for reasons I cannot understand), my wallet case has a flap that covers the screen.  I've dropped my on rocks before and it came out just fine because of that flap.  Makes zero sense to buy cover glass after cover glass only because you want the front of the phone open all the time!

    Vaja cases are a bit too expensive for me anyway, but if they had the connector side covered, who knows, I might just buy one.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 13
    Lego tried to switch to recycled plastics and found them lacking. 
    gatorguywilliamlondonbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 13
    Do people really expect something made from recycled plastic to be durable. Recycled plastic isn’t as good as virgin plastic.
    I tried to look it up. „As good“ apparently depends on the choice of specific material properties and domain you ar interested in. I found this, e.g.: https://www.cetjournal.it/cet/22/94/220.pdf . Generally speaking, the durability depends on the quality of the recycled material and the manufacturing process, according to other sources. So what you say may be true, inarticulate thinking about using the cover years. Time will tell, I suppose. I give Apple credit for going all in regarding sustainable. Having said that, I am curious whether the replacement material will be adequate; and secondly, I have no idea whether stepping away from leather is actually „more sustainable“. I do not imagine that somewhere animals are being bred and slaughtered just for the leather that went into the production of cases and wrist bands; in other words: as long as there is meat, there will be leather. also, I do not know about the footprints of the manufacturing process for both materials. Not to mention microplastics. Hm
    Plastic can only be recycled about three times and each time you must add more virgin plastic to the mix. There are a lot of videos on the myths of plastic recycling, here is one:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJnJ8mK3Q3g
    dewmebaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 13
    Free tip:  If Apple really wants to be sustainable, they'd make an iPhone that doesn't self-destruct if you drop it so that a protective case wouldn't be necessary.  Surely not producing any case would be more sustainable than producing cases that are nominally protective, suck and get thrown away.  

    Another free tip for Apple:  Maybe design the iPhone updates in such a way that the cases don't need to be replaced with every iteration?  Sometimes the phone change was just moving a button slightly so the old case wouldn't fit anymore.  Thanks for that!


    edited September 26 gatorguyGraeme000williamlondonbaconstang
  • Reply 10 of 13
    Hey hey, just return it……
    williamlondon
  • Reply 11 of 13
    Seems people just gotta hate on something. I stopped by the Apple Store to try one out. Not impossible to like. Used to use leather cases but the bacterial patina they get from absorbing hand goo makes them a pass for me now. I'm a clear plastic case guy for now. They are cleanable.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 13
    kelly93 said:
    have a finewoven case... saw some preliminary reports of issues, gave it a quick spray of DWR, I actually thought I might end up being ok with it.  Couple things ruined it for me

    the combo textile back and cheapish plastic on the sides isn't a winning combo.  In fact, any case that goes for "premium" back and then has cheapish plasticky sides, just doesn't work.  Nomad goods comes closest to pulling it off but tbh I don't care for theirs, as nice as it is, because of this. 

    second complaint, the fit/finish is disappointing.  It's not rampantly loose on the phone, but there's a decent amount of flex/creak that feels anything but premium.  Hard pass.

    My favorite case... Vaja.  Their grip case is crazy expensive, like $100, but it's basically perfect.  full wrap leather, no cheap exposed plastic sides, openings vs cutouts for buttons, raised lip for front protection, fit is great (as you would expect for the price).  Their 14 pro max grip case actually fits the 15 pro max, which is surprising based on the size differences.

    My point is... that's a tiny company.  Someone that can offer that quality, that number of customizations, etc... Apple should be able to match the basics at a discount.  Apple embraces watch bands.  Embrace cases just a touch more.  Do what they do with a wool blend.  The finewoven case effort makes you feel like they are denying a case is a thing for most people, which is about the dumbest thing ever.
    FYI the sides are also finewoven but coated in a resin, according to iFixit: "The side rails look like plastic, but they actually have a FineWoven weave. The fibers have been coated with a kind of resin, resulting in a hard, non-porous surface."

    IMO they should have just switched to pleather. I'm sure many including myself thought the original leather cases were only pleather anyways.
    edited September 26 watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 13
    Have we all forgotten how much Apple's 'liquid silicon' finish cases sucked - basically having the coating rub off within weeks? 

    It was the same with the previous Smart Battery Cases - while without a doubt the best smart battery cases, functionaility-wise, both the coating and the rubber quickly deteriorated over the course of months.

    Same with pretty much all the cables, especially Lightning, until they introduced the new braided cables (which are, of course, unavailable on their own).

    It's unfortunate that durability appears last on Apple's list, and continues to be.
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