Goodbye Leather Apple ad raises questions about FineWoven iPhone cases


'Goodbye Leather' Apple ad raises questions about FineWoven iPhone cases
There are no more leather iPhone cases from Apple. No leather Watch bands, either.
Screenshot: Apple

Apple highlights its decision to discontinue leather iPhone cases and Watch bands in a new video released Tuesday. The company instead went with a new material it calls “FineWoven.” Trouble is, months after Apple made the change, FineWoven continues to elicit strong complaints.

Apple advert says Goodbye Leather for iPhone cases and Watch bands

Leather draws criticism from animal-rights activists and environmental activists. These concerns helped convince Apple to stop using the material for iPhone cases and Watch bands in autumn 2023.

Apple’s Goodbye Leather short video advert, posted Tuesday on YouTube, says, “Apple has eliminated leather in accessories to help reduce impact on the planet.”

The phrase is accompanied by the word “leather” spelled out — with leather then flying apart.

FineWoven isn’t fine

As noted, Apple’s replacement for leather in its iPhone cases and Apple Watch bands is a textile material called FineWoven. It’s not imitation leather, but Apple claims the material has a “suedelike” feel.

Immediate after FineWoven arrived, consumers complained about the fabric’s fragility. And the “durable microtwill” material reportedly does not stand up to the test of time and heavy usage.

The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern used her Tech Things newsletter to describe her iPhone 15 Pro Max’s FineWoven case after five months of use by saying, “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.”

There are calls from many sources for Apple to replace FineWoven with something better.

Bring on Earth Day

The Goodbye Leather ad’s release is clearly timed to be ready for Earth Day on April 22. Apple likes to talk up its environmental record.

The iPhone-maker also premiered an advert called Recycling Robots on Tuesday. The short video says, “Apple’s robots now recover recyclable materials from 23 models of iPhone.”


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