Apple introduced a glossy "jet black" finish for its newly announced iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus at its big reveal event on Wednesday (7 September 2016), taking the total number of available colours to five for the first time.
What Apple neglected to mention, however, is that the eyecatching new finish comes with a catch: it is a tad scratch-friendly.
The 'official' caveat appeared on the iPhone section of Apple's website. At first the jet-black finish is referred to in typical Apple-esque language, noting that the attractive look was achieved through "a remarkably precise, nine-step process of anodization and polishing" and that "the end result is so purely and continuously black, you can't tell where the aluminum ends and the glass begins."
So far so good, then. But, as ever, it is always worth reading the small print.
A tiny footnote at the bottom of the webpage clarifies that while the jet black iPhone 7's surface is "equally as hard as other anodized Apple products", the "high shine may show fine micro-abrasions with use".
While the cautionary footnote may take the sheen off of the jet-black iPhone for potential buyers, Apple has a ready-made solution: "We suggest you use one of the many cases available to protect your iPhone."
Of the cases showcased in the accessory section for iPhone 7, each of the Apple-made case designs come in silicon or leather – both of which would actually cover up that sparkly gloss sheen. There are, however, several clear cases from Otterbox and Tech21 listed that also offer improved impact protection.
In all fairness to Apple, compared with the finish of the Rose Gold, Gold, Silver and Black variants (the latter replacing the noncommittal Space Grey option), a gloss finish was always likely to attract scuffs and scrapes to a higher degree than its matte siblings.
With controversy already brewing around the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus after Apple made the unpopular decision to omit a traditional headphone jack, the Cupertino giant must be hoping that another furore is not on the cards. After the iPhone 6 'bendgate' saga, could we be on the cusp of 'scratchgate'?