The End Is Nigh for Apple’s ‘FineWoven’ Accessory Lineup

Wonderlust iPhone 15 FineWoven cases
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During last fall’s iPhone 15 launch, Apple made a big push into sustainability by announcing that it was done with leather accessories. Instead, the company announced it had developed a unique new material called “FineWoven” that would fill the void left behind by traditional cowhide leather.

The new FineWoven material wasn’t just vegan leather. Instead, Apple used a durable micro-twill made from 68 percent post-consumer recycled materials to provide a soft, suede-like feel similar to leather. Nearly overnight, FineWoven replaced the leather versions of iPhone cases, Apple Watch bands, and Apple’s MagSafe wallet and AirTag key ring.

Sadly, while the new FineWoven accessories may have been good for the environment, they weren’t so good for consumers. Less than a month after they went on sale, complaints were being heard loudly on social media about how poorly the new materials held up to daily use. The MacRumors forums filled up with complaints about how the cases felt cheap, cardboard-like, and far from Apple quality. One Redditor described it as “basically like a polyester pillowcase sandwiched in a plastic shell,” referring to the $60 price tag as “kind of insulting.”

Over at The Verge, editor-in-chief Nilay Patel was able to “leave a trail of indelible scuffs on the fabric” of an iPhone 15 case after simply running his fingernails across it five times. Meanwhile, reviewer Allison Johnson found the FineWoven MagSafe wallet was already showing wear around the edges immediately after she took it out of the box.

This is a brand new, $59 phone case, y’all.Nilay Patel, The Verge

Unsurprisingly, Apple hasn’t offered any comment on this, but it’s also not pushing FineWoven accessories the same way it did with previous cases. For example, they were conspicuously absent from the usual spring refresh, which included new colors for silicone iPhone cases and fabric and silicone watch bands but nothing for FineWoven.

That’s probably because Apple may soon be done with FineWoven. According to Kosutami, who first revealed the new material in advance of Apple’s iPhone 15 event, Apple has stopped production of FineWoven accessors “since its durability were bad” [sic].

While Apple isn’t about to return to leather, it’s apparently pursuing another material. However, it may still have one last release of FineWoven cases to come before it concedes defeat. Kosutami followed up this morning with another tweet saying that some new colors are coming “for a season.”

While these could be cases for the fall iPhone 16 lineup, a color refresh for the iPhone 15 cases is more likely. Apple may have already committed to producing new colors in FineWoven, which is also far easier than designing entirely new iPhone 16 cases using a material it supposedly intends to abandon.

While this rumor has yet to be corroborated by any other sources, Kosutami turned out to be accurate about the FineWoven iPhone cases and Apple Watch bands coming in the first place, suggesting that they have some connections inside Apple’s accessory manufacturing partners. The source for this latest information appears to be the same as those previous rumors, which gives it some extra credibility.

Further, if Apple is exploring a new material, it likely won’t arrive before the iPhone 16 launches this fall. Meanwhile, even if Apple stopped production of FineWoven accessories today, it likely still has warehouses full of them that will need to be cleared out, which means FineWoven cases will still be around for a while.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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