When we first screwed on Material6's wooden iPhone 4 replacement backplates, we weren't sure what to think. Would we get looks of envy? Looks of scorn? Were they just straight up ugly? A few weeks later, we're in love.
We were worried at first. Was it a little douchey to add wood paneling to your smartphone? And would it detract from the naked iPhone, already a minimalist design masterpiece? Wood paneling doesn't exactly square with the Apple design aesthetic. But it turns out, that's okay. Once we got over the initial discomfort of swapping glass for wood, and the insecurity of making some sort of cheesy 70s design statement—we really ended up liking the things.
Apple's industrial design trajectory is stupendous, but so is the retro look of equipment that used to incorporate wood. It feels good in our hands. It won't get fingerprinted up. It won't shatter. It adds some delicious visual contrast to the modern glass and metal finish of the front. And, really it's just something different. Shelling out $90 to slap wood onto the back of your phone might sound silly—but it's an object you have to touch, look at, and hold against your head through every single day of your life, most likely. If you can get over the anxiety of your iPhone looking like the dashboard of an old station wagon, you might be as pleased with your throwback phone as we are. [Material6]
Update: Giz reader Adam is making JackBacks, his own pretty sweet looking handmade wooden backplates of his own—and they're nicely customizable!