Embracing scratches

I remember getting my first iPod when I was 16. It was one of those 3rd generation iPods, it had a beautiful silver back. When I put it in my pocket for the first time, I forgot there was a key in that same pocket. After taking it out, the back was heavily scratched and I remember being devastated. It looked pristine when it came out of the box, and now it felt like the iPod was broken.

Until this day, when I buy a new laptop, the first thing I do is checking if there are dead pixels. It still hurts a bit when I discover new scratches on my iPhone. When I dropped my phone a while ago, the screen shattered in a small area in the corner where it hit the floor. And I can’t stop myself from looking at it.

A couple of weeks ago, I was looking for a bluetooth speaker and encountered the Beoplay A1. On it’s homepage, the company touts the fact that the metal will scratch and bump. But instead of apologizing for it, they embrace it. “The more it travels with you, the more stories it can tell.”

Reading that, I realized that’s how I want to think about electronics. Not being afraid of scratches, dead pixels and shattered screens. But every scratch adding to the character of the device.

So many of our electronics have become soulless slabs of glass. When the screens are off, they all look alike. It’s more fun when you embrace the scratches and the bumps.

When Apple introduced the jet black version of the iPhone 7, journalists immediately noticed the fine print that came with it. “Its high shine may show fine micro-abrasions with use,” says Apple. “If you are concerned about this, we suggest you use one of the many cases available to protect your iPhone.”

To me, those “fine micro-abrasions” can’t be big enough anymore. But maybe I’m just getting old.




Founder of Blendle, University of the Netherlands

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Alexander Klöpping

Alexander Klöpping

Founder of Blendle, University of the Netherlands

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