It’s not much of a surprise to anyone that knows me that I am a first-class geek for Apple products.

I eagerly await product launches and keynote presentations from the company. And I’ll be the first in line to pick up the newest gadgets as they’re offered to the public.

From Apple TVs to iPads, Macbook Airs and iPhones, I pretty much have it covered. Its goods have never disappointed me.

Well, until now.

Apple’s new iPhone, the 5S, has been obliterating sales records. My beef isn’t with the phone, however. Nope, it’s actually with its $50 case.

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 10.15.44 AMApple advertises the cases as such, “They’re crafted from premium leather, so they look and feel luxurious.” That they most certainly do — for the first three days.

It wasn’t a week that I had the expensive (red) case protecting my phone that it started to look as though it had been tie-dyed. A once vivid red had blurred into yellow and greens, and a grimy looking black ring ran the perimeter of the case. It looked like a cheap piece of garbage.

Are Apple products slipping? Though a small symbol, an expensive case manufactured by the greatest brand in the world should not grow useless within a week. That’s shoddy workmanship. Something I have never thought about Apple.

See, when you’re Apple, what you do must be great from the top to bottom. The most expensive desktop should hold the same magic as the packaging for an iPhone charger. Each component is an extension of your brand. With Apple, that brand has a magical mystique.

Sadly, the case that protects my most coveted technology possession reminds me that maybe a bit of that magical mystique has fled.