I’ve only not purchased a white iPhone two times: the original which came in no colors, and the iPhone 4 because the white version was massively delayed. With the 5 though I went with the black model, simply because the painted aluminum was far more impressive looking than its white counterparts non-painted surface.
Biggest disappointment so far: The “slate” metal edge seems really delicate. Look, it’s already scratched and nicked, just from a light fall — pretty ugly. I never dropped my iPhone 4 or 4S.
I’ve seen others confirm this too. And, after only having mine for 30 minutes, I too had a nick in the aluminum that shines bright silver. I nicked it right on the edge, and I can’t think of a single thing I did to cause that.
Aside from the edge, no scratches or nicks anywhere else. So my best guess is that this is a problem with the sharp (it won’t cut you) edge, just as a sharp edge on wood won’t take a stain, I think we have a similar issue here. Where the very acute angles on the outer aluminum band didn’t take the black treatment as thoroughly as the rest of the aluminum leading to a weak point in the design.
I’m certainly not mad about it, but I am disappointed that I couldn’t even go a day without nicking this new phone.
All of this to say, if you haven’t bought one yet — I’d seriously consider the white model, that’s what I would get if I could do it over again.
Update (September 23, 2012): I have been told be several people I trust, that Apple is replacing damaged units at no cost and that they are swapping colors from black to white if you wish. Personally I am sticking with the iPhone I have because the buttons on it (home, volume, power, mute) are all perfect and I’d hate to get a lesser phone when I switch — which has been known to happen.