41: Back to the robotic core

All the way back in the first week of Picomac, I observed that the Apple leather case on my iPhone was nearing the end of its life. That was over two months ago, and it only continued to deteriorate. With the volume and power buttons almost completely inaccessible, it was time to find a replacement.

Like a good nerd, I went to The Wirecutter for advice. With direct button access being my primary criterion, I was lead to their "ultrathin" pick, the Caudabē Veil. Although they viewed it as a downside, they mentioned that the Veil XT — a slightly different model — has no lip around the front glass. My two usability problems solved in a case that's 0.35mm thick? I had to give it a shot. I ordered the Frost variation to match my silver iPhone 6.

When the Veil arrived, I took it out of its box and initially mistook the case itself for a piece of packing material. It seemed so flimsy as to be completely useless. In fact, the Veil flips the usual approach for iPhone cases on its head: instead of being the structure that reinforces the naked robotic core of the phone, the Veil relies on the sturdiness of the iPhone itself. It wouldn't work if it left even the hint of a gap between metal and plastic. But Caudabē delivers on their claim that it's "engineered with precision": there are six separate holes in the Veil for the speaker grille and they align perfectly. The case nearly vanishes when on the phone, simply substituting plastic for the iPhone's ultra-slick aluminum back.

Another advantage of the Veil's vanishing act is that it shows off the design of the iPhone. When I bought my phone, I slapped it into the Apple leather case before I even left the store. I didn't so much forget about the iPhone 6's design as never learn it. It seems foolish now to say "Wow, those antenna lines look great!" but I've never had the chance to appreciate them. The minimality of the Veil also means no tacky branding; Caudabē only embosses their company name, white on white, right under the regulatory information; it blends in with the other inoffensive fine print.

Beyond looks, ditching the larger case makes me feel like I have a brand new phone. I've never used an iPhone this thin; it slides in and out of my pocket far more easily; and, yes, the buttons actually work now. And while I can't drop it onto concrete, I can slide it around my desk or carefully place it in a bag without the fears I had for naked phones. The Veil XT is perfect for me, someone who never wanted a case in the first place.