Apple originally used a plastic back for the iPhone, then they switched to a glass backing for the iPhone 4.
The glass back coupled with the antenna issues in the iPhone 4 did not bear well for the device, and it appears that Apple is considering using an aluminum back for the iPhone 5.
A report from the Taiwanese Economic Daily News claims that Apple is abandoning the glass backing from the iPhone 5 in favor of a stronger aluminum covering. The source also suggests that Apple’s new antenna will be inside the device’s rear Apple logo…
From the Taiwanese report’s English translation (via GadgetsDNA),
“Decision to design similar to iPod touch instead of using glass is supposed that Apple seems to stop problems which are told widely damages from scratching, difficulties of painting white and weight of glass.”This report is based off information received from a Chinese manufacturing source. The Economic Daily News hasn’t been 100% reliable in the past, but this new report seems to hold weight in the whirlpool of existing Apple rumors.
Antenna will be designed just behind Apple Logo so that cellular and Wi-Fi signal can penetrate easily. Side exposed steel antennas seem to be abandoned, as designed in iPhone 4.”
The main reason for this design change seems to be a problem with painting the back of the iPhone 4. (Probably the reason we haven’t seen a white one yet.) The glass also adds a significant amount of weight. There has also been an issue with the iPhone 4′s glass back cracking as well (dubbed “Glassgate“).
Aluminum would offer not only a lighter design, but also extra durability.
An aluminum backing on the iPhone 5 would also help unify Apple’s products, since the current iPod Touch, iPad and MacBooks (excluding the base model) all boast aluminum exteriors.
As far as the antenna redesign is concerned, it makes sense that Apple would want to abandon the radical exterior antenna design of the iPhone 4 that has caused them so much trouble. However, a 3G and WiFi antenna behind the device’s Apple logo seems a little off.
What about thick cases? Also, when you hold the phone, your hand would most likely be covering the antenna. Unless Apple has another surprise, this design choice doesn’t seem optimal. (It is worth noting that the iPad’s WiFi antenna exists behind the Apple logo, so this isn’t a totally new concept for Apple to implement.)
The iPhone 5 will most likely be introduced at WWDC this summer. Check out our iPhone 5 Rumor Roundup for more speculation on the device.
Would you like Apple to go with an aluminum back for the iPhone 5? What about the concept of the antenna being behind the Apple logo?