Typically, I do not bother reviewing Apple items because I do not feel like adding my $.02 to the pile of other blogging around the web. Leave the big company reviews to the big boys, is best in my opinion. However, when I saw Apple release the “iPhone 5c Case,” I immediately felt the need to pick one up and share my opinions. Feel free to call it a useless need to self aggrandize my product reviews by weighing in on the newest Apple offering. I couldn’t look past the bold and somewhat tacky bright color schemes.
What drew me into the review was Apple’s previous lack of actual cases. In most recent history, Apple released a Smart Cover for iPad and the mini. Additionally, Apple released bumpers for iPhone 4. Apple making the definitive decision to release a case for the already colorful iPhone 5c made me stop and take notice. What possessed the company to finally produce a full fledged case for iPhone and what would Apple do so differently from other case manufactures?
As Steve was a self proclaimed iPhone nudist, clearly there were some people behind the late Apple CEO that were itching to release a case…
As a borderline Apple Fanboy, I try to keep an objective eye when it comes to loving and hating Apple products. Actually, I believe most reasonable Fanboys would admit to being overly critical of Apple when judging newly released products. Inside me, I find it is easier to cast stones at Apple because of my infinitely high expectations for their products. They are the most dominating consumer electronic company on the market and Apple has high design standards. How could they produce something that left me lacking?
If Apple takes the time to sit down and design an iPhone case, you better believe I expect it to be the best iPhone case on the market. Like the iPad Smart Cover, Apple designed the iPhone 5c Case alongside the iPhone 5c to actualize the best possible user experience and design aesthetic. Consequently, I reserved judgement until using the case paired with my iPhone 5c this weekend.
Tailored for iPhone 5c
I completely believe the case was tailored for the 5c during the design phase. It fits the form factor with completely exacting precision. Having reviewed many cases over the years, there are few cases that can get everything lined up precisely. The mute switch, camera port, lighting jack, 3.5mm headphone out, mic, and speaker holes could not be more precisely cut.
Rounded edges curl around the iPhone the way an old river bends through a winding field. Even the curves on the volume buttons, sleep/wake button, lightning jack, and camera port all appear to be in proportion to one another.
The silicon design sounded like a poor choice during the keynote, as many silicon cases I review are limp, rubbery, and poorly cut or molded. Apple’s case is turgid, but not inflexible. There is just enough relaxing in the silicon to pull the case off the device, but it is a tight squeeze. Every time I remove the case, either the sleep/wake button is depressed, a volume button is hit, or the mute switch is flipped.
The thickness also seems to be exactly perfect. It is thick enough to offer a slight shock absorption if dropped, but I do not have a hard time accessing the mute switch or depressing the buttons. The feel is not too bulky, as to take away from the thinly designed iPhone, nor does it overwhelmingly detract from the curves. Finally, the interior microfiber lining is soft to the touch and will prevent unnecessary scratching to the 5c’s polycarbonate shell.
Certainly, I have no trained eye when it comes to good, bad, or poor design. There is no formal training in my background or actual product design experience. I am just another blogger putting words to a blank electronic canvas, but I, like everyone else, have an opinion. Before I say my peace about the case design, I wanted to embed the “Designed Together” video, highlighting how iOS 7 and iPhone 5c are inherently linked.
Like iOS 7 and the 5c, I too can see the wedding of Apple’s case and the device itself. The design is simple and minimalistic. There are no superfluous design features or optional accessories. Silicone provides a soft and unassuming feel and life. The proportional design elements, like the button molded covers, the camera cutout, or the lightning opening, all seem to match each other and, in turn, match the curves, turns, and design of the 5c. Once reflecting slightly on the design, I remembered the introduction video to Apples’ June 2013 WWDC, shown below.
Apple truly embraced the concept of minimal, but intentional design. Each element of the design, touch, look, feel, is designed to enhance the user experience not only with the case, but the fluid interaction between the case, the phone, and the operating system. Apple has stunned me with the way the three products incorporate each other. It is almost as if the 5s was the odd device in the line up.
Of course, I cannot get through the design section without touching on the circles, because with them, Apple ruined the entire sense of felicitous harmony. The three-in-one religious experience of the case, the phone, and the OS comes crashing to a disastrous, violent end when the case was peppered with 35 gridded holes. Yes, this allows the vibrant 5c colors to shine through the mask, but at what expense?
Everything fits together, except the holes. The curves, finished lines, proportioned ports are all lost with the letters “hon” glaring back at me on the back. The nirvana-like trance of the entire experience Apple worked so carefully to create is destroyed with typography. Shocking, as typography is something you would not expect to befall an Apple design.
Really, I enjoy the holes. They do let the inner iPhone shine through and provide a play on the vibrant color combinations, as intended by the Apple designers, I’m certain. However, why not leave a few holes closed? Why not work around the inscription on the back of the iPhone? The Apple logo was completely covered to prevent a similar mishap.
I cannot imagine this was an intentional design. Loving every bit of Apple’s design for many years, except the new Safari.app icon, I cannot believe Apple overlooked the holes showing typography underneath. It is a disappoint and a shame that this oversight takes away from the otherwise beautiful look and complete experience offered by the combination of different hardware and software.
It seems strange, a company so focused on the intentional redefining of a product line could also intentionally overlook such a dramatically changing design aesthetic.
Misplaced holes aside it is a great case for $29. The case offers six-sided protection and is great for all occasions. I especially like the lip on the front does not completely cover the iPhone edge, which leaves a two toned color outline all the way around the device face. Importantly, this also provides ample room for screen covers or skins.
I did not fear taking my phone around for the weekend or throwing it in the cup holder in my car when traveling back and forth to my hometown. The soft silicon is fine for protection, but does tend to attract extra lint. This slightly tacky feel, combined with 35 individual holes will make for quite a lint collector over the course of time.
Overall, great case for the price and it obviously matches perfectly with iPhone 5c. After all, the typography on the back is a small detractor. It serves to disrupt the complete experience I believe Apple was trying to harmonize, but, as the video clip asks: What does Apple want people to feel in design? “Delight” and I would say I’m right there with the Apple iPhone 5c Case.