How to get a coloured iPhone 5, without waiting for Apple

A British company has launched a new service to let you change the colour of your iPhone 5. It can change the shell to any colour you can think of, allowing you to ditch the monochrome look without having to fit it with a bulky external case.

Launched in the UK over the weekend, the new service from Mendmyi comes with a variety of options from sending you the parts to do it yourself, to your sending them your iPhone to be customised. You can also simply buy a brand new iPhone 5 that's already been coloured. Prices start at £96.

READ: Apple iPhone 5 review

Based in Haverhill, Suffolk, the company has been colouring iPhone 4 and iPhone 4Ss for around two years, but has now mastered the anodising technique needed to be able to offer parts for the iPhone 5 and its metal design.

"It's taken us a while, but we've got there," explained Riki Baker, the company's founder, to Pocket-lint while showing us the finished product.

Rather than confuse would-be customers with too many colour choices, those looking to go colourful will be able to choose from 12 standard colours, or opt to order their own specific colour requirements. The standard metal colour finishes include blue, green, pink, bronze and gold, and use the same anodising technique Apple uses, but to a higher standard.

"Apple anodises its metal shells to 13 microns, we use a 20 to 30 micron coating. That gives you a tougher finish," Baker says, showing us his own personal blue anodised iPhone 5 with hardly any scratches on it. Baker admits that his cases aren't scratchproof, but that they will stand up to a lot more knocks and bumps in general usage.

It's why the company is offering a black-black version, a shell that differs from Apple's official black and slate version available in the shops. It's for those who really want a completely black finish and one that stays that way.

As with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S service, users will be able to order the parts and tackle the replacement themselves, but it will take some concentration - around two to three hours and a lot of screws. However, you do get all the tools you need in the £146 package if you don't want to use your old iPhone 5 shell.

Perhaps more appealing is that you can send your iPhone to the company for it to be done, with the promise of a speedy turnaround.

That service costs £40 more: £186, if you want a new shell to replace your current one - it's £96 if you want the company to change your existing shell. Baker tells us that while plenty have a go at the first option, many struggle:

"We have quiet a few that struggle to do it, so we tell them to if they get into trouble you can just put it in the post and we'll get you fixed up," he explains. Better still, the company only charges you the difference. 

Realising that all this dabbling does break the warranty, the service comes with the option to have the shell returned so you can swap it back if you need to go to the Apple Store. But Mendmyi does offer limited warranties for the first 90 days.

Close up, the shells - which are sourced from China - look great, emulating Apple's own colourful iPod touch range. Our favourites have to be the blue and red models, although Baker tells us he expects the gold to be the most popular.

The oficial black and slate model on the left, Mendmyi's black and black shell on the right

"We didn't offer the iPhone 4 and 4S shells in gold, but a lot of people requested it," he said.

Of course, all this could be irrelevant if Apple makes the new iPhone 5S available in a range of colours. It's something Baker believes will happen, speculating that Apple used the coloured iPod touch models to try out the manufacturing process.

Mendmyi's response? It is already looking at offering coloured buttons - home, power, volume, and the nano SIM tray, as well as experimenting with patterns and applying logos or messages within the anodised metal - something Apple is unlikely to do. 

Yes, that's right, you could be the proud owner of a zebra-patterned iPhone 5 in the very near future.