I’ve had my black and slate 16gb iPhone 5 for 21 days. The iPhone 5 has been riddled with issues, from faulty manufacturing to poorly thought out engineering: nearly as many people received iPhones with damage or blemishes right out of the box as did perfect ones, and now, it appears the anodized aluminum back and side casing may be prone to spontaneous bending, warping the phone to the point that it will not lie flat and causing the housing to separate back from front. Even Steve Wozniak has admitted that Apple got “arrogant” with the iPhone 5. The Apple co-founder, by the way, is a major fan of Android as well as iOS, and he’s known for his unbiased but frank opinions.
Aside from my own scuffgate episode, which has still not been resolved and isn’t likely to be anytime soon since Foxconn has launched an open rebellion against Apple’s recently tightened QC standards, I feel lucky that I haven’t experienced the other issues — yet. But I have to admit I’m afraid. Very afraid. I’m afraid I’ll wake up with a warped phone one morning for no good reason. I’m afraid that my aluminum was improperly heated and cooled during the anodization process, or machined incorrectly as evidence currently suggests, and that I’ll be stuck with a very expensive lemon of a phone.
I even dreamed about it last night. I had a genuine nightmare that my phone suddenly took on the silhouette of one of Batmans’s miniature boomerangs, and Apple told me it was normal for aluminum to shape shift over time.
Should a person have to feel this insecure and anxious over a smartphone? Especially an iPhone? I really enjoy the Apple ecosystem. I love my iPad, my Macbook Pro, the family iMac. I love that my son’s phone uses the same OS as mine, so we can easily share photos and media, send iMessages, use Find My Friends and other things. But I hate this feeling that I’ve got a piece of poorly thought out trash on my hands that might have been semi-cool 25 months ago and made out of more durable stuff: yes, even nice, flexible plastic or polycarbonate, like the Samsung phones, which don’t seem to take damage from simple things like giving it the occasional nasty look during a moment of frustration.
During World War II, it was appropriate for the British to bolster their flagging spirits with the phrase “keep calm and carry on,” but in 2012, we shouldn’t have to keep repeating it like a mantra, over a smartphone. This isn’t a world war. It’s an expensive consumer device that has cost Apple in ways yet to be seen in terms of trust and reputation in the mobile industry — and unlike in 2007, today we have plenty of alternatives. Signs indicate that we are electing to choose them.
The Samsung Galaxy Note II will be here in a couple more weeks, and I still have a few days to return this iPhone 5 to Best Buy. And you know what? I just might do it.