One of the most common questions I’m getting asked about the new iPhone 5 is: ‘do I need a case for my iPhone 5?’. Apple has declined to make ‘bumper cases’ for the new iPhone 5. With the new, more sturdy build, there’s the emerging belief that we no longer need iPhone cases. While these critics have a point, they are also wrong. Here’s why.
A Short History of iPhones and Their Cases:
The need for having a case to protect your iPhone has been around as long as the iPhone itself. But it spiked during the ‘antennagate‘ controversy when the iPhone 4 came out. Apple supplied free bumper cases to help with reception.
On top of that, the iPhone 4 also had a glass back and front which extended all the way to the edges of the phone. This meant that, if you dropped your phone on a corner, the resulting cracks could spread all over your phone. If you still are an iPhone 4 or 4S user, then you know that cases became virtually mandatory.
When Apple unveiled the new iPhone 5 there was a belief that we would no longer need cases. There’s no more antenna problems, the iPhone’s display is built with the ultra-tough gorilla glass, and it no longer extends to the end of the phone. The back of the iPhone 5 is aluminum, instead of the glass-backed iPhone 4S.
It even prompted an Op-ed from Gizmodo which stated that you don’t need a case for your iPhone 5. The writer of the piece states in the initial sentence that he refused to put a case on his iPhone 4, “even after it broke for the third time”. The writer never clues in to the irony that he’s telling thousands of people what to do with their new iPhones even though he repeatedly breaks his own (and presumably has no problem springing for a new one). You have to at least admire his principles.
Early Reports of iPhone 5 Scratching
The aluminum backed iPhone 5 seems to be quite susceptible to scuffs and scratches, according to early reports. The anodized finish used on the aluminum-backed iPhone 5 cases has proven to scuff easily and has even led to a reported delay in the rumored iPad mini. If you’re carrying your phone in your pocket with spare change and keys, then a case might be the best thing for you.
The antenna and glass-backed issues that plagued the iPhone 4 and 4S meant that having a case was necessary. While those issues have been addressed in the new iPhone 5 design, the need for a case hasn’t gone away. It’s needed for different reasons now.
The iPhone 5 is a stronger and more durable phone. There’s almost no risk of your glass shattering now, but if you don’t get a case then there will be the inevitable wear and tear of scratches and dirt. If you like your phone to have a ‘seasoned’ look, then you can definitely see those scratches as badges of honor and wear them proudly. But if you’re planning on selling your iPhone a year or two down the line, when you’re contract is up or the next iPhone comes out, then you should protect your investment with a case.