Apple has revealed that it's ended the use of leather across its range of products, which means no more leather iPhone cases, Apple Watch bands, or other accessories.
A press statement about the company's carbon-neutral goals and plans to reduce impact on the planet explains that leather will be replaced by a new material called FineWoven. Apple says this is "an elegant and durable twill made from 68 percent post-consumer recycled content" that has the feel of suede.
Importantly, the tech company also says that FineWoven has "significantly lower emissions" compared to leather, which is more carbon-intensive.
"War on all things leather"
Replacing leather products with a new material that's better for the planet makes a lot of sense. But according to a recent tweet from Bloomberg's tech correspondent Mark Gurman, Apple's plans to get rid of leather from its products is just the beginning.
Apple’s war on all things leather is expanding to its retail stores. The company will phase out leather try-on mats for Apple Watches and leather cube seats. pic.twitter.com/VprQQR3H7tSeptember 13, 2023
Gurman calls Apple's plans a "war on all things leather" and uses photos of the leather try-on mats for Apple Watches and leather cube seats as examples of leather that'll soon be phased out of Apple's retail stores.
This news has been met with a mixed response on X (Twitter). Some users aren't happy Gurman used the term "war on all things leather", others are delighted there'll be less leather used generally and many people wanted to know if Apple would be selling off those soft-looking try-on mats.
But what we were most interested in was this response from M. Brandon Lee, tweeting as @thisistechtoday.
It’s one thing to not add more leather, but to phase something out and replace it is even more wasteful. I’d rather them continue to use it until it needs actual replacement than dispose of perfectly good stuff. That way it’s actually caring for things rather than having the…September 13, 2023
He makes a good point. The intention of phasing out leather might be, for the most part, a good one. But is getting rid of the leather products the brand already owns the best option?
Of course, this all depends on what's meant by "phase out leather". Lee has taken it to mean that the leather mats and bits of furniture in Gurman's photos of the Apple retail stores will be replaced. However, as far as we can tell that hasn't yet been confirmed by Apple, and we've reached out to the company for comment.
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Becca Caddy is a contributor to iMore, as well as a freelance journalist and author. She’s been writing about consumer tech and popular science for more than a decade, covering all kinds of topics, including why robots have eyes and whether we’ll experience the overview effect one day. She’s particularly interested in VR/AR, wearables, digital health, space tech and chatting to experts and academics about the future. She’s contributed to TechRadar, T3, Wired, New Scientist, The Guardian, Inverse and many more. Her first book, Screen Time, came out in January 2021 with Bonnier Books. She loves science-fiction, brutalist architecture, and spending too much time floating through space in virtual reality. Last time she checked, she still holds a Guinness World Record alongside iMore Editor in Chief Gerald Lynch for playing the largest game of Tetris ever made, too.