Apple has a new premium material for Apple Watch bands, iPhone 15 cases, MagSafe wallets, and AirTag key rings. It’s here to replace its leather offerings that, in the case of phone cases at least, have been declining in quality for several years now. The new material is called FineWoven, a soft fabric material Apple will offer in an assortment of iPhone 15 and Apple Watch band colors. The change comes as leather “has a significant carbon footprint at Apple’s scale,” according to Lisa Jackson, Apple’s environmental policy VP.
FineWoven is a microtwill material that Apple says is constructed from 68 percent post-consumer recycled material. It has a suede-like feel, and its use in Apple Watch bands is complemented by Magnetic Link and Modern Buckle closures. As for the iPhone 15 FineWoven cases, they continue supporting Apple’s MagSafe ecosystem of magnetic wallets (which are getting their own new FineWoven versions), chargers, and whatever else third parties can dream up to slap on the back of your iPhone. The FineWoven cases for the iPhone 15, 15 Plus, 15 Pro, and 15 Pro Max come in five different colors (black, taupe, mulberry, pacific blue, and evergreen) and will run $59. Also getting the FineWoven treatment are Apple’s AirTag key rings, for $35.
As someone who owns a black leather iPhone 12 Pro Max case that has been slowly falling apart, I can’t say I’ll terribly miss Apple’s waning quality of cowhide. Third parties will certainly continue to fill this new gap with leather cases that are actually cheap and higher-quality leathers more fitting of a premium price. And since Google sadly killed off its great selections of fabric cases back when it started offering gross silicone ones with the Pixel 6, I’m all for seeing what Apple’s take on fabric looks and feels like.