The Dbrand Ghost Case for the iPhone 15 Pro. | Image: Dbrand

Dbrand is scrapping plans to fix its anti-yellowing Ghost Case, but not because it yellows — it’s that it scratches very easily. The company had promised in November to ship free replacements with scratch-resistant coatings, but now it’s telling customers via email they’ll have to wait. Most of its production run of those ended up “unshippable,” the company says, so instead it’s sending a redesigned “Ghost 2.0” this summer. Essentially, it’s a delay.

The company says that its first test runs of the newly-coated cases looked good, but when it tried to manufacture them at scale, the coatings got all gloppy at the edges:

As you can imagine, after developing a zero-yellowing anti-scratch solution that was the first of its kind, we were quite excited to pull the trigger on mass production.

Last week, our first mass-produced stock cleared the production lines. During quality control inspections, we immediately knew that something was different between the short run of “process validation” samples we’d approved for mass production and what was actually coming off the tools.

A significant portion of the units we inspected were showing signs of coating buildup and inconsistencies.

A close-up of one of the manufacturing defects, showing signs of coating buildup.
Image: Dbrand
See the edges, how they glop!

Dbrand CEO Adam Ijaz tells The Verge that while the company has ended “the active development and manufacture of Ghost 1.0” (that’s what Dbrand means when it says it will “discontinue” the case), it still has stock available. He added that the company intends “to offer an upgraded product to all Ghost customers, regardless of their satisfaction with the product.” Indeed, you can still buy it for iPhone, Pixel, and Galaxy phones, but a disclaimer on the page for each version says buyers will get the 2.0 case for free “later this year.”

A picture of a heavily-scratched Dbrand Ghost Case.
Image: Dbrand
Dbrand’s original case “after two months of use.”

The company says it’s been “spending boatloads” to acquire new manufacturing equipment to make the Ghost 2.0, which it says it’s been designing since last year when it originally announced the replacement program. It also acknowledges that the anti-scratch coating it was working on was just a “band-aid” fix, as scratching is an “inescapable, fundamental problem with plastic,” and that cases using the coating would have eventually scratched, too.

Dbrand used polycarbonate in its original design because the gummier alternative, TPU, has a problem with yellowing. The company originally advertised that “you’ll die before” its clear polycarbonate yellows.

The company doesn’t say in its email what it’s doing with the new case, but if that scratching problem is inescapable, I have to wonder what the company is doing to deal with that issue and keep the case clear. (I doubt Dbrand unlocked the secret to the transparisteel of Star Wars lore.) I asked Ijaz in a follow-up email what the company is doing with the new design, and I’ll update here when he responds.


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