Just a few weeks into ownership of my new iPhone 5, I realized there was an rattle sound near the top of the iPhone 5 when you gently shake it or gently tap on the back near the camera light. This couldn't be normal, there must be an issue, so I made an appointment with the Genius Bar at my nearest Apple Store (33 miles each way), hoping they could identify and remedy that annoying rattle sound. After all, I did purchase Apple Care Plus.
I explained the issue in detail and demonstrated the rattle sound to the Apple Genius. He said he never heard of the issue before, so he started examining my iPhone 5 and quickly said he could not hear anything. I suggested maybe the background noise of the activity in the store was preventing him from hearing the rattle sound. I asked him to try listening for the rattle sound in a less noisy environment than in the public area of the store. He took it to the back where the techs work on equipment and was gone for about 10 minutes. When he returned, his first words were... "The rattle sound was normal, it's from the button on the top", "it's plastic" and said "it's within manufacturing tolerances and wasn't considered a problem". I was dumbfounded. I asked him to please explain to me how such a refined device such as this, with all of the hype and attention to detail and tight design specifications, could have a plastic button that rattles. That's kind of like building the most advanced spacecraft ever, and putting a plastic door handle on it.
I asked if there had ever been a "rattle sound" like this known on any previous version of the iPhone... he said that to the best of his knowledge, the iPhone 4 and 4S used a top button made of metal rather than plastic and didn't have this issue. I asked if we could examine a few of the iPhone 5's on display... we did, and discovered several but Not All of them, had the same rattle sound, again, he said it was normal. I asked why do some have the rattle sound and some don't? He didn't know why. Then he offered to replace my iPhone 5, "if it was that big of a deal". He further explained if I wanted that, it would be a "one time only replacement" and no promise could be made that any replacement wouldn't also have the same rattle sound, and if it did, it could not be replaced again.
I didn't understand why this rattle sound could even exist from one of Apple's new flagship devices. I'm not new to Apple products by any stretch, but this is my first iPhone. I expected more. I expected a quality device, one that matches the level of quality and reliability of every other Apple product I have ever purchased. I felt let down. For the first time, I started to feel as if this device might have been rushed to market and maybe quality control wasn't what it once was...
At this point, I decided to test this "plastic button" to see just how loose it was. While holding the phone in my right hand (display facing down), I applied slight pressure on the top button (holding it still), and then gently tapped the back near the camera light, just as before. I was shocked! It still rattled! Being more confused, I asked the Apple Genius how it was possible for me to hold the button still, and there still had the rattle sound? He paused a moment, then said it was most likely the component that makes the phone vibrate. Still holding firm to the claim of it "was within manufacturing tolerances". I asked how could the source of the rattle sound suddenly move from the plastic top button to the vibrate component? He said that was a known issue and he knew of only a few iPhone 5's having been replaced for that reason. I started to feel as if he was being deceptive the whole time. How else could he have come up with an alternative reason and suddenly recall a few phones being replaced. Hence the title of this post... "Rattlegate".
I explained to him some of the reasons I waited so long before buying my first iPhone. I asked if he seen Apple's Keynote announcement for the iPhone 5? "Yes, of course I did", he said. Do you remember some of the claims from that Keynote wherein the following statements were made:
"what makes the iPhone 5 so unique, is how it feels in your hand"
"the materials it's been made with"
"the remarkable precision with which its been built"
"never before have we built a product with this extraordinary level of fit and finish",
"we've developed manufacturing processes that are our most complex and ambitious"... and so on.
For the most part, the Apple Genius remembered those lines from the Keynote, then he suggested I fill out a comment or suggestion on the Apple.com website, and once again offered a "one time replacement" of my iPhone 5. I told him thanks for the offer, but I would pass for now, but would follow his recommendation of posting on the Apple.com website... and here we are...
If you have an iPhone 5 and it has a rattle sound, please let me know (IF) and (HOW) you might have resolved this issue.
Thank You very much!