Not-So-FineWoven iPhone Case 'Browning Like a Rotten Banana'

Apple's $59 FineWoven cases for iPhone 15 took heavy flak when they were released last September for being subpar compared to the leather Apple cases they replaced. Now, The Wall Street Journal columnist Joanna Stern has distilled customers' ire by sharing her own experience with the case after five months of use.

finewoven case stern

Image credit: Joanna Stern

From Stern's newsletter:

There it is, everyone. My iPhone 15 Pro Max's FineWoven case after five months of use. The edges are peeling, the fabric is scratched up like an old CD and it's browning like a rotten banana. I've been waiting for the CDC to show up at my house to declare it a biomedical concern.
Some of you will say: "JOANNA! How gross are you?" Others—those who bought this case for $59 when it came out in September—will likely say: "Yep. Same issues here."


Early on, tech news sites like The Verge complained about scratches in the fabric. At online retailers, the people who gave the case one or two stars all point out the same issues—peeling edges, scratches, proclivity to get dirty. On Best Buy, many say they'll never buy an Apple case again and that it’s the worst product Apple's ever made. Same on Amazon.

An Apple spokesman said that the company's cases are engineered at the highest standard to protect iPhones and that the FineWoven case's durable microtwill will protect an iPhone for years.

An Apple support document offers advice about cleaning its FineWoven cases, but the section's small print admits that "The material may look different and show wear over time as the fibers get compressed with normal use" and that "some scratches may diminish over time."

Responding to Stern's five-month review, Daring Fireball's John Gruber created identical polls across multiple social media platforms asking FineWoven case owners for their opinion, and respondents appear to have overwhelmingly voted in agreement that "It's a piece of junk."

Despite the continued bad publicity almost six months on from the cases' debut, Apple still appears unwilling to admit that its leather alternative material is a letdown. But in the court of public opinion, all the evidence suggests this is an open and shut case: FineWoven is just bad.

Top Rated Comments

k1121j Avatar
7 weeks ago
It’s bio degrading. That’s by design. Apple Translation: That means you’re using it wrong. Bring back leather cases non painted just good ole leather.

For 50 bucks you should expect more.
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Account25476 Avatar
7 weeks ago
Making a $59 cover as bad as this one wasn't easy, but they did it.

:apple: Think different?
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rgwebb Avatar
7 weeks ago
Bring back the leather
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Remy149 Avatar
7 weeks ago
There are two of us using these cases in my house and they still look almost new.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MrWeenus Avatar
7 weeks ago
I'm going to get a lot of hate for this, but I actually like these cases very much. Sure, I don't use my phone as a fetch toy for dogs or anything like that, so I did not have any problems with it.

Bought one around November and it's still looking as it was when I purchased it. The only difference is that it has skin oils embedded in it - but that's a normal thing and can be washed off easily with a bristle toothbrush.

Not sure what people are doing with their phones that it gets so bad...
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
swingerofbirch Avatar
7 weeks ago
You'd have to be an unsophisticated rube to not appreciate that fine patina.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

iOS 18 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Friday April 12, 2024 11:11 am PDT by
iOS 18 is expected to be the "biggest" update in the iPhone's history. Below, we recap rumored features and changes for the iPhone. iOS 18 is rumored to include new generative AI features for Siri and many apps, and Apple plans to add RCS support to the Messages app for an improved texting experience between iPhones and Android devices. The update is also expected to introduce a more...
iGBA Feature

Game Boy Emulator for iPhone Now Available in App Store Following Rule Change [Removed]

Sunday April 14, 2024 8:06 am PDT by
A week after Apple updated its App Review Guidelines to permit retro game console emulators, a Game Boy emulator for the iPhone called iGBA has appeared in the App Store worldwide. The emulator is already one of the top free apps on the App Store charts. It was not entirely clear if Apple would allow emulators to work with all and any games, but iGBA is able to load any Game Boy ROMs that...
top stories 13apr2024

Top Stories: M4 Mac Roadmap Leaked, New iPads in Second Week of May, and More

Saturday April 13, 2024 6:00 am PDT by
Apple's hardware roadmap was in the news this week, with things hopefully firming up for a launch of updated iPad Pro and iPad Air models next month while we look ahead to the other iPad models and a full lineup of M4-based Macs arriving starting later this year. We also heard some fresh rumors about iOS 18, due to be unveiled at WWDC in a couple of months, while we took a look at how things ...
new best buy blue

Best Buy Opens Up Sitewide Sale With Record Low Prices on M3 MacBook Air, iPad, and Much More

Saturday April 13, 2024 7:41 am PDT by
Best Buy this weekend has a big sale on Apple MacBooks and iPads, including new all-time low prices on the M3 MacBook Air, alongside the best prices we've ever seen on MacBook Pro, iPad, and more. Some of these deals require a My Best Buy Plus or My Best Buy Total membership, which start at $49.99/year. In addition to exclusive access to select discounts, you'll get free 2-day shipping, an...
iGBA Feature

Apple Removes Game Boy Emulator iGBA From App Store Due to Spam and Copyright Violations

Sunday April 14, 2024 9:22 pm PDT by
Apple today said it removed Game Boy emulator iGBA from the App Store for violating the company's App Review Guidelines related to spam (section 4.3) and copyright (section 5.2), but it did not provide any specific details. iGBA was a copycat version of developer Riley Testut's open-source GBA4iOS app. The emulator rose to the top of the App Store charts following its release this weekend,...
iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

Apple's First AI Features in iOS 18 Reportedly Won't Use Cloud Servers

Sunday April 14, 2024 9:52 am PDT by
Apple's first set of new AI features planned for iOS 18 will not rely on cloud servers at all, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. "As the world awaits Apple's big AI unveiling on June 10, it looks like the initial wave of features will work entirely on device," said Gurman, in the Q&A section of his Power On newsletter today. "That means there's no cloud processing component to the...