Like it always does, Apple released new silicon and leather cases for its latest iPhones. Outside of the obvious camera hole differences, the silicon case remains the same. The leather case, on the other hand, received a subtle, yet notable change.

As we pointed out last week, Apple’s new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus Leather Case now comes with machined aluminum buttons. As a result, the volume buttons and Sleep/Wake button now have a much more tactile feel that’s significantly more pleasing to use than before.

Apple’s previous leather cases featured small indentions where the iPhone’s buttons rested underneath the case. Depending on the wear of the case, this design could make it difficult to comfortably interact with those buttons.

The new design, as you might have imagined, is much improved. Not only are the buttons made out of machined aluminum, but each button is color-matched to the case. On my Tan iPhone 7 Plus Leather Case, for instance, the buttons are a tan color with tiny chamfered edges.

iPhone 7 Plus Leather Case hands-on video

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Being that the case is brand new, it’s hard to say how the buttons will hold up, but the design seems solid. Apple’s leather cases, at least in my experience, have generally held up well. I still have my iPhone 6 Plus Black Leather Case, and it looks great relative to its age.


Color-matched machined aluminum Sleep/Wake button with chamfered edges

Some people have expressed concerns that the machined aluminum buttons may scratch the iPhone resting underneath the case. This should not happen, because not only is the aluminum limited to the outside of the case, there’s a separate material barrier between the leather and aluminum buttons. I’m not saying that scratches absolutely won’t happen, but it appears that Apple has considered the possibility, and designed the case in a way to help prevent scratches from occurring.


A protective barrier between the leather and aluminum buttons

If you’ve ever used an Apple Leather Case before, then you know exactly what to expect. The case is super-lightweight, but the outside is real genuine leather. To keep weight to a minimum Apple uses a very thin sheet of leather, which tends to wear fairly quickly. I don’t expect my tan leather case to look like it does for very long, but the wear lends it that unique character that’s typical of leather.


The Black 7 Plus looks sophisticated inside of the tan leather case

On the inside of the case, you’ll find a soft microfiber protection barrier, which will help guard your iPhone from scratches and blemishes. This will be of particular concern to Jet Black iPhone owners wishing to preserve the finish’s original look.


A larger camera cutout for the iSight Duo camera on the iPhone 7 Plus

Apple sells iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus versions of its leather case in a variety of colors — Sea Blue, Storm Gray, Tan, Saddle Brown, Midnight Blue, Black, and Red. The iPhone 7 Leather Case goes for $45, while the larger iPhone 7 Plus Leather Case goes for $49.


Much-improved over previous Apple leather cases

The quality of Apple’s cases are good, but they aren’t very cheap. If you’re looking for an inexpensive case solution, check out some of the iPhone 7 leather cases on Amazon. If leather isn’t a must, you can score an iPhone 7 case for even cheaper. Also, be sure to check out Jordan’s excellent roundup of some of the best iPhone 7 cases currently available.


It’s a bit pricey, but it looks good and feels good in the hand

If you’re looking for some extra battery life to go with your iPhone 7, then you may want to consider getting Apple’s Smart Battery Case instead. We posted a full review of the new iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case, and despite the interesting design, we like it a lot. Have a look at the video review below:

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