Apple’s polycarbonate iPhone 5C casing is very durable

“Taiwan’s Apple Daily has posted a new video showing a hands-on overview of the plastic rear shell of Apple’s ‘iPhone 5C,'” Eric Slivka reports for MacRumors.

Apple Daily highlights the durability of the shell while also taking measurements of the part with a digital caliper,” Slivka reports. “Assuming the part is a legitimate back shell sourced from Apple’s supply chain, the report offers a few additional details about what to expect from the iPhone 5C.”

Slivka reports, “According to sources, the shell scores a high ‘8H’ rating on the pencil hardness test.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. I have the 3GS. Code named “Battle Axe”. It is plastic, yes, but that be some rugged stuff. It is scratched, dented, cracked and pocked, but still ticking. This 5C could be a winner. Not as refined maybe, but cheaper and super-durable sound like a great combination for price sensitive markets.

    1. I also think it could be a winner for those of us who are over the style statement phase of iPhone ownership and just want a nice iPhone that lasts. My iPhone 5 is now an iBrick and I’m back to using my iPhone 4S.

  2. Hmmmm…
    After so many years of “cheap plastic” we’re now getting stories about how good plastic is. Apple might really have a durable case here, but this really sounds like back pedaling on the Apple Fan Base’s part.

    It’s hard to take some people seriously when they (for example) say Apple will never produce a 7″ iPad and then when Apple does they start singing the praises. This sounds like another example.

    Best not to stick one’s neck out and make claims about things that Apple will *never* do. Apple tends to make fools out of such people (on both sides of the fence).

    1. The iPhone 3GS is plastic, and many consider it a very well-constructed phone. It’s not cheap plastic. The phone doesn’t ‘creak’ or flex when pressure is applied to it. If done well, a plastic phone can be just as nice as a fancy unibody metal one.

    2. Oh please… You are treating “some people” like it was one person. “Some people” said Apple will not produce a smaller iPad, while some “other” people (like me) said a smaller (and lighter) iPad would actually be BETTER for many uses.

      As for the plastic case, after the first iPhone in 2007, Apple HAD an iPhone with a plastic backside in the lineup EVERY year, except for current lineup. That is a far cry from Apple NEVER doing something. In fact, having a “plastic” iPhone in the lineup has been the norm, not the exception.

    3. Come on… you should know there are infinite combinations of plastics and manufacturing techniques. There are CHEAP, flimsy plastic products, and there rugged plastic products. Polycarbonate, also known by its trade name, Lexan®, is used on jet fighter canopies, bullet proof windows, etc. When engineered properly it is an excellent, durable material. I never considered the 3GS as cheap feeling and it had a plastic back.

    4. I think you’re asking the wrong question. Plastic hardness or espousing plastic as a material is secondary to the more fundamental reason why Apple might be making such a phone: as a lower-cost offering, particularly for emerging regions of the world such as India, Southeast Asia and price-competitive China.

      As the smartphone market matures, and as consumer demand increases for smartphones grows in Asia, South Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere, price sensitivity is the result, especially in regions with a lower level of income. To compete in countries such as India and China, Apple will likely announce such a phone. And to make the cost of it competitive in countries where telcos don’t subsidize mobile phones as is a common practice in the US, a company such as Apple needs to look at materials such as plastic to reduce the sales price of its phones.

      That Apple would not compromise on the scratch resistance of its plastic cases should be no surprise. You need think back about the consumer response to the easily damaged case and plastic screen of the ill-fated Palm (HP) Pre phones.

      But more important is to consider that such a phone from Apple could include a plastic case as a lower-cost offering. That said, don’t be surprised if we don’t see one offered for sale in the US, but only in other regions of the world. It might surprise us to see that much of Apple’s potential sales grow will be in Asia and South Asia, not the US.

    5. You’re 100% right. However, I’m sure that a plastic case is the only way Apple could have cut costs on the 5C without significantly lowering the quality of internal components. You are correct. Apple has back-tracked and there’s no way around it. I won’t be singing praises, but if the Chinese consumers are satisfied with the product, then Apple will still have achieved its goal. Even if the 5C is successful from a sales standpoint, Apple will take a lot of heat from the industry pundits about a plastic iPhone.

  3. I just want the rounded edges. That’s partly why I’m still using an iPhone 3G.

    (The other reason is I’m a tightwad, so the 5C will be a win-win for me!)

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