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Old Dec 5, 2012, 09:00 AM   #1
timidhermit
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Why does Apple choose to use such poor anodization for iPhone 5?

Having recently read the article on AnandTech on the iPhone 5 anodization process:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6330/t...one-5-review/3

It bugs me why Apple does not choose to use better anodization. In particular, the anodization depth Apple uses is TOO THIN/SHALLOW, leading to poor paint retention and easily chipping of the paint.

The chamfered edge is also a terrible choice. Since anodization is even less by nature, the paint can only be adhered onto the surface.

Poor understanding of material science in the design.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 09:05 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timidhermit View Post
Having recently read the article on AnandTech on the iPhone 5 anodization process:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6330/t...one-5-review/3

It bugs me why Apple does not choose to use better anodization. In particular, the anodization depth Apple uses is TOO THIN/SHALLOW, leading to poor paint retention and easily chipping of the paint.

The chamfered edge is also a terrible choice. Since anodization is even less by nature, the paint can only be adhered onto the surface.

Poor understanding of material science in the design.
It's not paint.

Poor understanding of anodization process.

Last edited by VandyChem2009; Dec 5, 2012 at 09:12 AM.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 09:11 AM   #3
darkside flow
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Complains about anodization process Apple uses


Does not understand basics of anodization
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 10:35 AM   #4
timidhermit
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It is you who don't understand the process.

The paint or dye dwells in the porous surface created by the anodization. By deepening the anodized layer, more dye can be layered onto the aluminum before it is sealed by bathing it in hot water. Shallow anodization is prone to have uneven dye appearance and/or have the dye "scratched off" when the shallow layer of anodization is removed (such as by physical contact).

Read the article first before complaining.

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Originally Posted by VandyChem2009 View Post
It's not paint.

Poor understanding of anodization process.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 10:44 AM   #5
JayLenochiniMac
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The article missed that scuffgate is caused by defective anodized coatings. Launch day iP5 with normal anodized coating are still flawless to this day (unless you're particularly careless or rough with it or have dropped it).
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 10:49 AM   #6
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Actually it is paint. Aluminium oxide by itself has a very light colour. Not sure what understanding of anodization process has got to do with anything.

Anyway, people whose quality of life will be terribly diminished if not shattered by owning stuff that exhibits the worn look, should not buy the iphone 5 in black. I myself couldn't care less about paint wearing off of things I use daily. It sure won't stop me from getting the black version.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 11:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chambone View Post
Actually it is paint.
"Paint is any liquid, liquefiable, or mastic composition which, after application to a substrate in a thin layer, is converted to a solid film."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paint

Anodization, including the dyes and coloring process that occurs with anodization is not paint. They are very different things.

Also, I too have a still-flawless iPhone 5 from launch week. Granted it was an exchange from a launch-day iPhone 5 with scuffs, but it goes to show you that that the anodization process used by Apple is fine, provided it's done correctly.

I've used quite a few products with excellent black metal anodization. My watch is black anodized. I use several flashlights at work that are black anodized machined aluminum. All go through lots of abuse and the anodization has held up well, and the anodization is actually pretty similar to the iPhone 5.
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Last edited by scaredpoet; Dec 5, 2012 at 11:17 AM.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 11:18 AM   #8
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In the coating world it is referred to as dye.

There are two things causing this issue with the 5.

1) 6061 non-tempered aluminum is used. It's cheaper and more easily milled than tempered 6061 aluminum, which has many more times the hardness. Having a soft aluminum, even if they had used a better quality anodizing process, would still lead to the coating being compromised with scrapes, dents, etc. That aluminum is just too soft for use as a phone. It's similar to painting a piece of pine wood vs. a piece of steel-exagerated for point. The harder the base material, the tougher the finish, so to speak.

2) The anodizing process used is was very low grade. Shallow, no doubt do to costs and time constraints.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 11:24 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by scaredpoet View Post
I've used quite a few products with excellent black metal anodization. My watch is black anodized. I use several flashlights at work that are black anodized machined aluminum. All go through lots of abuse and the anodization has held up well, and the anodization is actually pretty similar to the iPhone 5.
My point exactly. The PX2, which is one hell of a flashlight, is made out of 6061-T6 aluminum. It's tempered and has a Brinell hardness of 95-97, while the non-tempered aluminum, used on the iphone, has a Brinell hardnes of 30-33. The flashlight has 3X the hardness of the iPhone and in turn, will show much less nicks, dents, scrapes.

Last edited by Jalopybox; Dec 5, 2012 at 11:31 AM.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 11:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timidhermit View Post
It is you who don't understand the process.

The paint or dye dwells in the porous surface created by the anodization. By deepening the anodized layer, more dye can be layered onto the aluminum before it is sealed by bathing it in hot water. Shallow anodization is prone to have uneven dye appearance and/or have the dye "scratched off" when the shallow layer of anodization is removed (such as by physical contact).

Read the article first before complaining.
Yeah, don't believe everything you read on the internet. It's not paint.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 06:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VandyChem2009 View Post
It's not paint.

Poor understanding of anodization process.
Pwned
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 11:23 AM   #12
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I personally prefer the glass used in the iPhone 4/iPhone 4S. They should have left it as is. I'm also a huge fan of the stainless steel band used in said phones as well.
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Last edited by SnowLeopard OSX; Dec 5, 2012 at 11:30 AM.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 12:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ixodes View Post
If we step back, setting aside the specifics of the process, the bottom line is the iPhone 5 is poorly finished & not very durable.
Actually, if we set aside the specifics of the process, all we have is conjecture and anecdotes, which is hardly factual and even less credible. Conclusions like this are then based purely on opinion and rhetoric.


Quote:
It _Is_ a real problem or it wouldn't be talked about. People don't just imagine problems.
Actually, there is a long, well-documented history of outlier users who either have remarkably bad luck, or are otherwise remarkably astute at finding only defective Apple products, and then repeatedly exchanging and exchanging a product that apparently doesn't meet their expectations or needs, without considering the possibility that maybe a different product from another manufacturer would suit their needs better.

There is a saying for this: the definition of insanity is doing the exact same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

Are these people really getting 5, 10, 15 or more defective iPhones in a row? I don't know because I'm not witnessing it. But the fact that after exchange number 4, 9, 14 or greater, the person still hasn't' seen fit to either wait for another production batch or go with a different product entirely is quite telling.

Quote:
Apple is choosing to go cheap on the finish
If that were true, Apple could've easily gone with molded plastic, which is markedly cheaper.

Quote:
Once you've been around Apple for awhile you become accustomed to their deception.
When one has been drinking a particular flavor of Kool-Aid for a long time, and suddenly finds themselves committing to a different flavor, they will often try really hard to convince themselves that the old flavor was sour, anyway.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 12:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by scaredpoet View Post
...

When one has been drinking a particular flavor of Kool-Aid for a long time, and suddenly finds themselves committing to a different flavor, they will often try really hard to convince themselves that the old flavor was sour, anyway.
but it was sour. I had sour apple flavor
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 01:36 PM   #15
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OP is the absolute know all for anodization process... everyone bow down.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 02:18 PM   #16
timidhermit
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I can't take credit. It is Jalopybox who actually answered the question I posed.

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Originally Posted by Appl3FTW View Post
OP is the absolute know all for anodization process... everyone bow down.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 08:31 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by timidhermit View Post
I can't take credit. It is Jalopybox who actually answered the question I posed.
Sarcasm gets lost
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 05:21 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scaredpoet View Post
Actually, if we set aside the specifics of the process, all we have is conjecture and anecdotes, which is hardly factual and even less credible. Conclusions like this are then based purely on opinion and rhetoric.




Actually, there is a long, well-documented history of outlier users who either have remarkably bad luck, or are otherwise remarkably astute at finding only defective Apple products, and then repeatedly exchanging and exchanging a product that apparently doesn't meet their expectations or needs, without considering the possibility that maybe a different product from another manufacturer would suit their needs better.

There is a saying for this: the definition of insanity is doing the exact same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

Are these people really getting 5, 10, 15 or more defective iPhones in a row? I don't know because I'm not witnessing it. But the fact that after exchange number 4, 9, 14 or greater, the person still hasn't' seen fit to either wait for another production batch or go with a different product entirely is quite telling.



If that were true, Apple could've easily gone with molded plastic, which is markedly cheaper.



When one has been drinking a particular flavor of Kool-Aid for a long time, and suddenly finds themselves committing to a different flavor, they will often try really hard to convince themselves that the old flavor was sour, anyway.
I'm sure your fellow Apple Apologists are very proud of you for defending the company that _never_ does anything wrong.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 03:24 PM   #19
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Not to defend the Big "A" at all, but the article suggests that light anodizing was spec'd in due to physical constraints more than anything else. In its drive toward minimalism and light weight, Apple chose aluminum which can only be so thin before it limits how deeply you can anodize without affecting structural integrity. Hard anodizing is like an order of magnitude thicker than decorative anodizing; maybe they just ran out of thickness?

Also, are we sure that they didn't use hard anodizing? The slate-colored back of the black iP5 is very close to the natural color of Type III anodizing without dye. Even Type III is not immune to some scuffing.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 07:15 PM   #20
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Thank you for the insight. The aluminum of the iPhone 5 is really WAY TOO soft. I dropped the phone on my desk from a 3-4 inches height! and the corner is dented! That's crazy.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 07:24 PM   #21
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About the anodized aluminium, there's a debate here, and you can read up all about it.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1495796
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 07:28 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by haruhiko View Post
Thank you for the insight. The aluminum of the iPhone 5 is really WAY TOO soft. I dropped the phone on my desk from a 3-4 inches height! and the corner is dented! That's crazy.
God forbid dropping a phone onto a hard surface marks it!

Seems like you might be more at home with a Nokia 3310.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 09:10 AM   #23
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God forbid dropping a phone onto a hard surface marks it!

Seems like you might be more at home with a Nokia 3310.
Why that phone? Is it the one you own?
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 01:01 PM   #24
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Why that phone? Is it the one you own?
Simple reasoning:

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Old Dec 6, 2012, 04:27 PM   #25
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I'm gonna cut to the point here.

Apple makes products that look good initially, but are super susceptible to damage.

Examples: MacBook Pros & Airs, iPads, iPhones (4, 4S, 5), and the iPod Touch.

They are easily scratchable, dented, cracked, etc.

Think about it: have you EVER seen an Apple product that uses aluminum high quality enough, to where it doesn't easily scratch? Even if they're not as sensitive as defective iPhone 5s, they're STILL easily scratched.

Pick up a Nexus 7 and an iPad, and look at the back. Then ask yourself which one you'd feel more comfortable setting on a table, maybe even sliding it along the table, etc. I'm guessing you'll say the Nexus 7. Why? Because the back isn't made with anodized aluminum!

I'd love it if Apple started making their devices with plastic, rubber, leather, etc. Something more scratch/dent resistant than what they use now.

We have to face it, Apple clearly hasn't put damage-resistance at the top of their priorities list. I find it interesting how people mention the iPhone feeling more high quality. Yeah, it may look good now, but it could look a lot worse later on. And if you decide to put a case on it to protect it, you cover the device's beauty (unless it's a bumper). Kinda lame, isn't it?

Doing normal day-to-day things can scratch your Apple devices. It's annoying to me. I don't want to worry about how I set my MacBook Air down, because I may scratch the sides. I don't want to need a case on my phone in order to protect it from small scratches.
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