You Don’t Sell 5 Million iPhone 5’s Without a Few Defects

Kelly Vieira
10 October, 2012
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The iPhone 5 is the pinnacle of the iPhone line – it’s faster, thinner, lighter and just better than its forerunners … right? True, the A6 is super fast, the display is amazing thin and provides an astounding display, but the iPhone 5 is not without its flaws. Its many, many, many flaws.

Let’s get Physical

Right off the bat, you’ve got Apple’s arguably best asset all set to blow up in its face: design. Apple mastered making great looking products very early in the game. The original iMac (G3) was funky and personable; clean, round lines in a word of cubes, and bright colour amidst greys and beige. The first iPods were simple, minimalist and radically new. The iPhone 5 does look great … for a while. It’s only been a few weeks since launch but already stories have poured in of black iPhone 5 models scuffing around the edges with the black anodised layer scratching off to reveal the silver aluminium beneath. Some users even claim that their iPhone 5 was scratched right out of the box! The 4/4S may have been susceptible to cracked back panels but a crack was usually the result of a major iPhone dropping accident, not the normal, everyday use wear and tear currently damaging iPhone 5s. While users do tend to switch out phones every 2 years, the high cost of the iPhone 5 really doesn’t warrant an earlier upgrade – despite Apple coming out with a new phone every year.

Colour Equality

The black models aren’t alone in their suffering. In some cases, users have reported a small amount of light-leakage in the top-right corner of the device. A small gap between the chamfered antenna and the display glass right near the power button of the iPhone 5 cases allows some of the backlighting to show through. It’s only visible in low light conditions, but it’s in those sorts of situations where the issue would be most annoying.

Rattle, Rattle Rattle

Speaking of annoying, persistent rattling noises have plagued a few iPhone 5 owners. Sometimes it’s caused by a loose power button, testable by holding the power button down and shaking the phone (if it still rattles, it’s not the button). Other times, it’s caused by an internal component not having been glued down properly in the assembly stages, likely the battery. Either way, if you own one of these defective devices, you’ll have to go in to an Apple store and have the issue looked at and fixed (or replaced).

Battery: an Assault

Even if your battery is secured nice and snug in the aluminium unibody, you can’t be assured of its complete functionality. The iPhone 5 battery is only 10 mAh more than the 4S (1440 and 1430 respectively), but with the A6 set to run much more efficiently than the 4S’s A5, those 10 mAh go a long way. The battery life between the two devices is essentially the same – or at least, it should be. If you’ve restored your iPhone 5 from a previous 4/4S backup stored on iTunes, likely your battery has been whittling down to nothing in no time. There is a fix, if that’s your problem. It doesn’t work for everyone though.

Reading in Between the Static Lines

At least some of the iPhone 5’s defects are repairable, and quite easily. The static lines problem is likely one such issue. Certain iPhone 5’s will show a few static lines across the lower half of the device’s screen in certain situations; well, one situation – when a user inputs their Apple ID password. It doesn’t show up any other time and not always on every device. The fact that it isn’t a persistent screen issue hints that it’s not a hardware problem and will likely be fixed in some sort of patch or iOS update.

Purple Haze All in My Eyes

However hard Apple may try though, some hardware defects are impossible to fix via patch or update. The iPhone 5’s camera is its pièce de résistance, which makes its ‘Purple Haze’ issue that much more disappointing. Apple has issued an official … statement, about the problem, but it seems as though their article is just another “you’re not holding it right” avoidance of the subject. If it even is a subject – the whole matter could just be the overactive eagerness of Apple-naysayers nitpicking over every iflaw (the many, many, many flaws of the iPhone 5), as lens flares, in a variety of colours including but not limited to purple, affect cameras from the S3’s to DSLRs. Personally, I rather like the effect, but I am bias. I like to tint all my instagram shots some shade of violet or indigo.

The Great Apple Maptastrophe

Enough has been said about Apple’s biggest mis-map in iOS 6, so I won’t rant about it here. In essence, Apple treated it’s users as a giant, free, beta testing resource, sending out a product that was clearly not ready for public consumption. Don’t get me wrong, Apple maps are pretty and have great potential, but as a defining feature of the iPhone 5 era, – Apple’s complete departure from Google – it failed. It iFailed, badly.

It may be odd for me to admit, considering the whole tone of this post, but I am an optimist. While the iPhone 5 isn’t perfect, neither is anything else. The phone has a great many positives to counter the negatives: it’s incredibly durable, Apple has (usually, at least for me it has) great customer service and support, an unparalleled app store, a huge variety of accessories (authentic and third-party), its camera is astonishing to use and the whole phone and iOS is incredibly simple and easy to pick up. There is a reason why Apple is the world’s first trillion dollar company. But the question has to be asked – would these kind of blunders have been avoided under the stringent, perfectionist rule of Steve Jobs (may he rest in peace)?


Kelly Vieira is a Graduate Publisher at, which was founded in 2006 launching one of Australia’s first credit card comparison websites. She is an enthusiastic and vivacious technical content writer specialising in mobile gadgets for Finder’s mobile phone comparison website. She also really likes the colour purple. Like … a lot.




2 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. James says:

    I just preordered my first ever phone from Apple USA….please let my “apple5″ be free from defects! Congrats to all you 5 owners. :) Cheers

  2. Robert says:

    I have my new white iPhone 5 and it has had none of the above faults. The only negative I would state is the absolute lack of lightning compatible devices even ordering the dock adaptor and cable adaptor from the Oz Apple Store was made over 2 weeks ago and still no shipment delivered. Given the lead time on the new iPhone and the clear consumer demand the lack of docking options is inexcusable and my only gripe.

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