The launch of the new iPhone 15 brought with it a somewhat unexpected element that has caused some buzz. It’s FineWoven, a material that Apple has introduced as an alternative to leather for its cases, straps, and other accessories. A very interesting material that has caught the attention of many and has been put under the microscope by iFixit.
Durable, stylish, and also very different from leather
Under magnifications of 52x and 490x, iFixit was able to confirm that FineWoven is composed of bundles of extremely fine and closely woven fibers. To provide perspective on the size of these fibers, each one measures around six microns in thickness, which is considerably thinner than a human hair. These fibers are grouped to form threads that reach approximately 150 microns in thickness. Surprisingly, this microtwill used by Apple shares similarities with materials used in high-end jackets by brands like Patagonia and Arc’teryx.
A distinctive feature of FineWoven is its reaction to scratches. While the fibers themselves do not break, they do reflect light irregularly when subjected to some damage, creating a visual mark. This is something to consider because the softness of this material, much like leather, can allow certain objects in your pocket, for example, to leave a small indentation in the case.
Another point to consider is its resistance to stains. In tests conducted by iFixit, the case stained when it came into contact with sauce and oil, although it resisted coffee. Like any woven material, its porosity allows a liquid substance to penetrate relatively easily, but this property is also useful for coating the material and removing any dirt.
When iFixit opened an iPhone case made with the new FineWoven, they discovered its internal structure. The FineWoven weave covers the external surface, followed by a gray foam. Further inside, there is a rigid plastic sheet, the MagSafe hardware, white foam, another plastic sheet, and finally an inner layer of FineWoven fabric. Each layer is extremely thin, with the total thickness of the FineWoven fabric measuring approximately 0.17 mm.
An interesting detail is that the edges of the FineWoven case are also coated with a kind of resin, giving them a hard and impermeable surface. This is something we might see in other accessories as the new material gradually expands.
FineWoven presents itself as a truly interesting material with a unique look and feel. It shares characteristics with leather in terms of strength and durability, yet it’s much more environmentally friendly, not only in terms of animal welfare but also for the environment.