The case of the missing iPhone 5s hardware accents
Apple has always prided themselves on the little things. The final touches and accents that really give the iPhone the amazing build quality and aesthetic we have come to love. Interestingly enough, Apple seems to have skimped on some of that polish in regards to the iPhone 5s.
If you own an iPhone 5s, flip it over in your hand and take a look at the back, particularly the camera and flash. The iPhone 5 has nice little accent rings around the camera hold and the flash. These are completely missing in the iPhone 5s on all models. It's one of those things that aren't necessary but adds an extra something to the overall design. It also makes me wonder if that could make the iPhone 5s more or less susceptible to dust and debris sneaking its way into the camera lens over time. Perhaps making it flush was intentional to prevent that from happening?
Further, if you take a look at the dock and headphone jack area, Apple matched the aluminum color of the iPhone 5 to the dock screws, Lightning connector, and headphone jack. This isn't the case with the Space Gray iPhone 5s. All the screws are silver this time around. The silver version of the iPhone 5s looks virtually the same as the silver version of the iPhone 5 form the bottom view but it's noticeable on the Space Gray model of the iPhone 5s. The gold version of the iPhone 5s does however have color matched accents. Why go through the trouble of only color matching one model and skimping on another?
Sure, I'm nitpicking over things that in the grand scheme of things don't really make a difference when it comes to how the iPhone 5s works or feels in your hand. Well, except maybe the camera lens difference. We'll see over time if it causes issues in relation to dust in the camera. It's something I saw pretty regularly on the iPhone 5 so hopefully this is Apple's attempt at remedying that.
I think this bothers me because it's the first time I've seen Apple not be thoroughly consistent across the board when it comes to hardware design, especially when it comes to the iPhone in particular. Apple prides themselves on design aesthetic quite possibly more than anything else, so why make little yet glaring omissions on just one model of the iPhone 5s? Let alone their top selling variant. They color matched all the accents on the slate model last year, so why not this year?
If you bought the Space Gray iPhone 5s, does it bother you that your iPhone didn't receive the same color matching treatment that the other two models received? More importantly, would it bother you if weird design decisions like this make their way into other product lines as well?
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iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.
By Tammy Rogers