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Apple’s matte black iPhone 7 sparks complaints

If buying the latest iPhone is a status symbol, what happens if the device ends up looking battered and cheap within a matter of weeks?

Apple (AAPL) is facing that question as some disgruntled customers take its customer-support page to complain about their iPhone 7s in matte black, which they say suffer from easily chipped paint. Some iPhone 7 owners say they’ve been told by Apple that the paint is a cosmetic issue and therefore not covered by the warranty. 

Some might call it PaintGate. 

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“I am kinda disappointed with Apple product QC,” one iPhone owner wrote on the company’s support page. “This shouldn’t happen to Apple at all. And I have contacted Apple but no response from them till now. Absolutely disappointed!”

Some iPhone 7 owners said they enclosed their devices in a protective case as soon as they received it, but complained that the paint still chipped off. 

An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the dozen or so postings on the topic on the support page.  

Apple noted last year that the iPhone 7’s high-gloss black finish -- called jet black -- was likely to show micro-abrasions due to regular use. It recommended that owners protect the phone in a case.

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“Funny is, they warned buyers in advance that the other black one could be easily scratched,” another phone owner wrote on the support page. “Hence I went with the matte. Now that is even worse and they claim it’s normal.”

While some owners of the matte black iPhone 7 say they haven’t received a satisfactory response from Apple, a few are taking issues into their own hands and using black paint to touch up their devices. 

Still, investors are already looking forward to the iPhone 8. A Goldman Sachs (GS) analyst boosted her stock price target for Apple from $133 to $150, citing “a very strong upgrade cycle” for the next iPhone, while a UBS analyst said the stock is undervalued. The company’s stock rose more than 1 percent in trading on Monday, closing at an all-time high of $133.29. 

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