An image of the sides of the iPhone 13 Pro

The word ‘Patina’ is pleasant to say, but It’s not a word I thought I’d associate with an iPhone. Patina is the attractive mellowing effect of materials, especially metals, that discolor through age and exposure. It’s the green layer over copper that gives the Statue of Liberty a distinct look, and it gives the brass top plate on a Leica camera a satisfying appearance of natural wear. 

After swapping to the rather impressive iPhone 15 Pro Max earlier this year, time was called on my venerable iPhone 13 Pro as I packed it up to be sent to my colleagues in the suitably-patinated historical city of Bath. During this process, my iPhone caught the light spilling in from the office windows on one of the rare sunny days that London can enjoy. 

That electromagnetic radiation beamed 93 million miles from Earth’s nearest star played on the stainless steel sides of my old iPhone. A cacophony of metallic hues and colors bloomed into view on the iPhone 13 Pro’s sides – a pleasing blend of purple, blue, silver and an almost bronze tinge. 

(Image credit: Future)

This wasn’t the first time I’d noticed the rainbow discoloration on the aging stainless steel iPhone chassis, but it hit differently after six months of using the titanium-embraced iPhone 15 Pro Max. While lovely and light with a soft touch, there’s a lack of patina potential to Apple’s best premium iPhone.

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