Unweaving the Mystery: Apple’s FineWoven Case Under the Microscope


Apple didn’t simply announce some new electronics this 12 months—in addition they unveiled a brand new cloth. Will it revolutionize the gadget panorama ceaselessly? Maybe not. However it does really feel fairly good, and we thought it merited a more in-depth look. Quite a bit nearer.

To make that occur, we’re including a brand new software to our workbench: a very fancy digital microscope, courtesy of Evident Scientific. It’s the proper software to take a more in-depth take a look at this new-fangled FineWoven materials. Be part of us as we zoom and improve the brand new iPhone FineWoven case!

Right here’s an iPhone 15 Professional case with FineWoven cloth:

Right here’s what that FineWoven cloth appears to be like like below 52x magnification:

Image of the FineWoven fabric iPhone case at 52x zoom
Organized bundles of tightly woven fibers. Magnification: 52x

…and below 490x magnification:

FineWoven fibers, with a strand of hair for scale. Magnification: 490x

The material lives as much as its identify—these particular person fibers are positive! They measure about 6 microns thick—that’s about 1/12 the width of a human hair (the pictured hair strand is 72 microns large). Teams of those fibers make up threads which might be roughly 150 microns thick. Most of us don’t have an intuitive really feel of tight-woven cloth density, so for comparability: sheets made out of FineWoven cloth would have a 340 thread rely, or 170 threads per inch per route. However, that’s probably not the correct comparability, since every thread is product of many fibers somewhat than a single strand.

Apple famous that FineWoven is a microtwill. Twill is a weave that creates a fairly, diagonal sample. We scampered round our workplace stealing outerwear from our staff and put all the material we may discover below the microscope seeking one thing just like FineWoven. Success! The Arc’teryx Atom LT jacket and Patagonia TechFace jacket (which occurs to additionally use recycled supplies) each have related development. 

Left: FineWoven fabric. Center: Arc’teryx jacket fibers. Right: Patagonia jacket fibers. The Patagonia jacket has a bigger/looser weave. Magnification: 440x
Left: FineWoven cloth. Heart: Arc’teryx jacket fibers. Proper: Patagonia jacket fibers. The Patagonia jacket has a much bigger/looser weave. Magnification: 440x

Testing the material

The FineWoven cloth appears to be like nice—so long as you don’t contact it. However, what for those who do? What for those who scratched the material with a key or fingernail?

The important thing mars the floor lower than a fingernail as a result of the important thing contact space is greater.

As a result of the weave is so tight, the FineWoven cloth must be fairly sturdy and tear-resistant. Nonetheless, since its threads are so positive, it’s additionally very simple to mar the pristine weave. After we scratched the floor, the jostled threads didn’t truly break, nor was the dye broken. Somewhat, the scratch-jostled fibers replicate mild irregularly in comparison with the untouched bunches, creating an enduring visible mark. The thread itself is comparatively delicate, so most pocket gadgets will depart an impression.

Left: “keyed” fibers present little or no harm. Heart: fibers sliced with a knife, exhibiting precise fiber harm. Proper: Fingernailed fibers struggling heavy jostling. Magnification: 240x

Will it stain, or will it’s High quality?

However how do these tremendous positive fibers deal with liquids, greasy fingers, or, say, scorching sauce? Let’s have a look:


The FineWoven cloth gulped down the espresso like a school pupil in a 7 AM class. In contrast to the Arc’teryx or Patagonia jackets, the case doesn’t have a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) remedy. A DWR remedy adjusts the floor stress properties of the material, encouraging liquids to bead and roll off somewhat than soak into the fibers. The draw back of DWRs is that they typically comprise polyfluoroalkyl chemical compounds (PFAs), which the EPA describes as “persistent, bioaccumulative, and poisonous”.

Fortunately, the espresso evaporated from the case with out leaving a lot of a hint.

FineWoven phone case with coffee dripped on it at normal and (right) 700x zoom
Espresso soaking into the fibers. Magnification: 700x


We smushed an additional greasy finger onto the case, and the ensuing mark is there to remain. The oil saturated the fibers and altered the optical qualities, leading to a dark-looking stain. We tried scrubbing the spot with detergent and managed to lighten the spot, but it surely’s nonetheless seen.

FineWoven phone case smeared with oil at normal and (right) 700x zoom
That darkish spot isn’t a shadow. Proper: The FineWoven fibers glisten from the oil bathtub. Magnification: 700x

Scorching sauce

What for those who by accident positioned the telephone on a unclean desk after internet hosting a Scorching Ones occasion? Dangerous information: the FineWoven cloth can’t deal with the warmth. The recent sauce’s vinegar soaked in and marred the material.

Left, an iFixit Jimmy scraping barbecue sauce off an iPhone case, right a 700x zoom image of barbecue sauce on FineWoven fibers
It doesn’t matter how gentle the new sauce is—it would depart a mark. Magnification: 700x

The remainder of the case

Now that we’ve accomplished the soiled work, let’s reduce to the chase and see the way it’s layered. 

A kitchen knife cutting an iPhone case on a butting board
A cross section of a FineWoven case cut in half
That’s numerous filling in these skinny sandwiches!

From exterior to inside, the case layers are stacked as follows: FineWoven cloth, grey foam, inflexible plastic sheet, MagSafe {hardware}/white foam, one other inflexible plastic sheet, and eventually, an internal layer of FineWoven cloth.

The layers of a FineWoven case peeled up
Every layer is firmly glued to its neighbors.

As anticipated, the FineWoven cloth layer could be very skinny—about 0.17 mm. In contrast to leather-based, a woven cloth’s thickness is very depending on how thick the thread is. The thinner the thread, the thinner the material.

Given the froth and adhesive, the material is probably going even thinner.

We burned a little bit of the FineWoven cloth to suss out extra of its properties. The fabric gave out a candy odor and left a sticky, black, mass. This makes us assume that it’s seemingly a polyester-based materials. 

The facet rails look like plastic, however they really have a FineWoven weave. The fibers have been coated with a type of resin, leading to a tough, non-porous floor. 

The FineWoven materials on the facet rails is extra sturdy. Magnification: 240x

Finish of the thread…

FineWoven is really positive, and a very neat, high-end materials, with fibers as small as 6 microns. The tight weave makes the material considerably wear-resistant, however nicks and marks will present and keep. Sadly, with out the extra safety present in technical clothes like TechFace, it’s not liquid-proof. You’ve both acquired to be very cautious with the place you set the case, or deal with it with a DWR or cloth protector like Scotchgard your self. 

Some extra free ends

Now we have the iPhone 15 Professional Max and Apple Watch Extremely 2 on our dissection desk proper now. Keep tuned!

When you wait: We snapped some high-quality imagery which may make stellar—if small— wallpapers. Don’t fear, no barbeque sauce in these photographs. You received’t have the ability to really feel the material via the display screen, however these digital immortals received’t get scratched up. 

Keep tuned, we’re simply getting warmed up!


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