9to5Mac sources are corroborating an unlikely-sounding claim: that there will be no official Apple leather cases for this year’s iPhone 15 lineup.
It’s unclear what the reason for this might be, though the most likely explanation would be that the company plans to introduce a new premium case material this year intended to take the place of leather …
Duan Rui, who searches for Apple-related leaks on Chinese social media platforms, today tweeted the suggestion.
I’ve heard that Apple won’t be releasing a Leather Case for the iPhone 15 series.
The tweet didn’t provide any explanation, or elaborate on the claim.
However, on checking with our own sources, they too are hearing the same thing.
ShrimpApplePro also echoed this.
On the face of it, it would be an extremely strange move by Apple. The company has a nice stream of income from leather iPhone cases, and small changes in the form factor from year to year mean that owners are usually forced to buy a new one for each year’s model.
They are also high-margin products for Apple. Leather cases for the iPhone 14, for example, run from $59 to $129.
It may be that the decision is an environmental one, with leather having a relatively high carbon footprint. Even so, it doesn’t seem likely that Apple would simply decline to take our money for premium cases.
The more likely explanation – assuming that our sources are correct – is that Apple plans to replace leather with another premium material. As AZO Materials notes, high-end car brands have been increasingly offering alternatives to leather for seats and trim.
Land Rover are considered leaders in non-leather fabrics and sustainability. Their Evoque and Velar models feature a wool–polyester blend from Kvadrat.
Likewise, Mercedes have used Artico—a synthetic vinyl-based leather material—in their cars since 2003. (The material) has been refined over the years so that owners would struggle to tell the difference between leather and Artico.
Volvo are following suit and will only offer leather-free interiors; they will be using Nordico, a non-leather textile made from recycled plastic (PET) bottles, wood fragments from sustainable forests in Sweden and Finland, and corks recycled from the wine industry.
Polestar, their sister brand, will use WeaveTech, a water-based PVC material they have developed in-house.
Even Ferrari offers a leather alternative known as Mycro Prestige, while Tesla has phased out leather altogether.
Watch this space…
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