Responding to claims that the iPhone 5 is disappointingly scratch-prone, Apple has said that such damage is "normal".
Apple Senior Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller responded to an email sent by a 9to5Mac reader, asking why his Black iPhone 5 was already accruing an array of scratches and scuffs. Schiller said that it's all down to the new aluminium construction of the phone, that "any aluminium product may scratch or chip with use, exposing its natural silver color. This is normal."
Scuffing and scratching of the aluminium rear of the iPhone 5 has been widely reported by new phone owners, causing some to dub the affair "scuffgate", a reference to the "antennagate" debacle that surrounded the 2010 iPhone 4 launch. The effect is most pronounced in the black iPhone 5, as the silver of the underlying aluminium is clear against the darker slate-coloured rear. It's something to consider if you're about to lay down £500 for a new iPhone.
The iPhone 4S uses steel sides and a glass-covered rear. It isn't as prone to scratches, but did have a tendency to smash into a spider's web of broken glass if dropped. Cracked or chipped - take your pick.
This is the second hiccup that has put a damper on the otherwise hugely successful iPhone 5 launch. Much fuss has also been made of the new Maps function in iOS 6, which replaces the Google Maps service of iOS 5 and earlier versions. The mapping info it uses is out-of-date, and often plain wrong, resulting in mis-named towns, missing roads and radically different transport lines. Apple has spoken out on this issue, saying that iOS 6 Maps is not finished yet.
The pair of problems has not held back sales, though. Apple has confirmed that the iPhone 5 racked-up two million pre-orders in its first 24 hours, and managed five million sales in its first three days. However, this is lower than some analyst predictions made pre-launch.
Supply of the iPhone 5 continues to be a problem. Pre-order allocations ran out quickly, and stock availability is still showing as "3-4 weeks" on the Apple online store. The iPhone 5 is expected to sell 26 million units by the end of the year, as predicted by Jeffries analyst Peter Misek.
Are you disappointed by how scratch-prone the iPhone 5 is? Drop us a line in the comments.