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Apple rumored to ditch glass back for aluminum with iPhone 5

post #1 of 121
Thread Starter 
A new rumor claims that Apple will abandon the glass back design it introduced with the iPhone 4, and replace it with a new aluminum back, similar to the very first iPhone, with its next model due out this summer.

The report claims that issues with scratches and paint mixture for the white iPhone 4 have allegedly prompted Apple to switch to aluminum, according to Taiwan's Economic Daily News (via Macotakara). Citing a Chinese source, the publication claims that Apple will adopt a design similar to the iPod touch for the iPhone 5.

In addition to scratching and difficulty painting the glass back of the iPhone 4, the report claims that the weight of the glass has prompted Apple to reconsider its use in the fifth-generation handset.

Apple is also rumored to be looking to abandon the steel outer frame of the iPhone 4, which doubles as the device's antennas. That design decision led to bad publicity when it was discovered that covering a section of the antenna could degrade a wireless signal.

Instead, the report claims that Apple will use a special resin for the Apple logo on the back of the device. Cellular and Wi-Fi data will reportedly travel through the logo, just like Wi-Fi does on the iPad.

Finally, the Taiwanese newspaper also states that there is "no doubt" the iPhone 5 will sport the same A5 processor as the forthcoming iPad 2. It also predicts Apple will stick with its typical annual release schedule, announcing the device at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, in June or July, as it has done in years past.
post #2 of 121
I had an original iPhone and the aluminium scratched incredibly easily. They should just do the back in gorilla glass.
post #3 of 121
Maybe we will finally see an application of the transparent aluminum that Scotty invented
post #4 of 121
At least AI didn't use that ridiculous mock-up photo macrumors published.

As a matter of my own humble opinion, a white faced iPhone 5 with a back side that mirrors the iPad 2 would be gorgeous.

Seems the iPhone 5 is the next up for the rumor mill. Let it begin! Only 4 months to go!
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| 1TB 2.66 GHz C2D Mac mini Server | 32GB 3G Black iPad 2 | Apple TV 2 | 256GB 1.8 GHz i7 11" Macbook Air | 16GB Black iPhone 4S |
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post #5 of 121
The Apple logo also radiates feelings of awesomeness peppered with your occasional smug moment. =p
post #6 of 121
Aluminum? Really? Look, I don't know of a single aluminum-backed iPod that is free of scratches. I do know iPhone 4s that are free of scratches. But yeah, these rumors>_>
post #7 of 121
It's expensive because it generally requires human hands in manufacturing, especially for complex shapes, but for such a simple small form, it would be cool to see a carbon fiber back.
post #8 of 121
The IP4 design works better as a camera than the previous design. (easier to hold) So, hopefully, if they do change the design up, the changes won't be too retro.
post #9 of 121
Responding to BAD PUBLICITY about POOR RECEPTION, Apple decide to make their next phone out of RADIO OPAQUE METAL!

Sorry, but this story maketh sense not.

C.
post #10 of 121
The next iPhone is going to retake the smartphone market. Nobody is going to be able to match it. Everybody else is just barely beginning to play catch up with the iPhone 4, but the 5 will blow us all away.

It will have a great look and feel! Widgets on the lockscreen, liquid metal and carbon fibre everywhere, voice activated, complete and total NFC freedom with no security issues, free turn by turn directions, dual core with better battery life, one phone for all-world use on any protocol, lots and lots more stuff in iOS 5 (stuff that no competitor in the world is even thinking about), SD card slot, and more RAM than anybody else, and most importantly, it will be lighter in weight than any other smartphone on the market.
post #11 of 121
I really like the design of the iPhone 4. I think it looks and feels awesome, and while the antennae issue was real, it was so easily avoided that I hardly see it as a major issue.
post #12 of 121
If you have ever had an errant piece of carbon fiber in your hand or finger you would understand a major problem with splinter-able carbon fiber objects. You cannot find it with typical hospital instruments. A significant piece of flesh will be removed to rid and alleviate the infection.
post #13 of 121
I read the original article of Economic Daily News and there is NO mention of both aluminum back and new antenna design. They do mention that iPhone 5 will be on sale as soon as this summer. This article is all about the parts suppliers who will benefit from iPhone 5. Both aluminum back and new antenna design are the guesses by Macotakara.
post #14 of 121
Did people miss the article last week about the new material they will be treating their products with to prevent scratches? Switch to aluminum, use nitride, hey look no scratches.

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...e_coating.html
post #15 of 121
The only real pro for aluminum on the back of the iP5 is weight.
Getting rid of the glass on the back could save Apple quite some weight.
And yes I like the design of the iP4 as it is now.
post #16 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyopicPaideia View Post

At least AI didn't use that ridiculous mock-up photo macrumors published.

As a matter of my own humble opinion, a white faced iPhone 5 with a back side that mirrors the iPad 2 would be gorgeous.

Seems the iPhone 5 is the next up for the rumor mill. Let it begin! Only 4 months to go!

There isn't much left to guess about though is there?

We know the processor, NFC...

Body type/form factor and screen size are basically the only hardware related mysteries out there.

I think I'd rather start seeing the rumor mill churn on iOS 5, which is much more far-reaching for apple, and also not much is known yet.
post #17 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I really like the design of the iPhone 4. I think it looks and feels awesome, and while the antennae issue was real, it was so easily avoided that I hardly see it as a major issue.

Ditto, I think the flat glass back is much nicer and more classy looking than the tapered edges on the iPod Touch and iPad. Furthermore it makes the iPhone stand out as some much more than just another one of the Android clones. The iPhone is heavy but I think it approaches the sweetspot for phone weight, if something is too light it is just as unpleasant to use.
post #18 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post

Did people miss the article last week about the new material they will be treating their products with to prevent scratches? Switch to aluminum, use nitride, hey look no scratches.

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...e_coating.html

The nitride treatment is on a stainless steel surface. Maybe Apple wants to use a steel back?
post #19 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jcoz View Post

There isn't much left to guess about though is there?

We know the processor, NFC...

Body type/form factor and screen size are basically the only hardware related mysteries out there.

I think I'd rather start seeing the rumor mill churn on iOS 5, which is much more far-reaching for apple, and also not much is known yet.

Amen to that. Anything hardware related is just spec related, and I think we have finally left behind the spec wars. We know it will be faster etc etc, might have a better camera, might have a faster connector, faster downloads, combined 3G/CDMA etc etc whatever, but none of that has much effect on how you use it.

On the basis if absolutely no knowledge whatsoever, I think that OS5 could be one of the biggest leaps yet. A proper notification system, improved mobile me features, a couple of extra background APIs for auto downloading content for subscription apps etc so new content is waiting for you, not downloaded when you first try to access it etc. It's all about what you can do with it, not on speed baselines etc. The spec bump on the iPad 2 shows there is only so far they can go with hardware, the real interest in in the OS, and always has been for me. Can't wait to see the next full revision, I think it's an opportunity to make some serious inroads into the small number of places that things like WebOS and Android do better.
post #20 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jcoz View Post

There isn't much left to guess about though is there?

We know the processor, NFC...

Body type/form factor and screen size are basically the only hardware related mysteries out there.

I think I'd rather start seeing the rumor mill churn on iOS 5, which is much more far-reaching for apple, and also not much is known yet.

Well, there's still guessing about if there will be a single phone that works on both Verizon and ATT (my understanding is that the chip in the Verizon iPhone could theoretically support both, assuming they could get the antennas for both in the design. And just for fun toss in speculation if the next iPhone will support LTE.
post #21 of 121
I dunno about all that but the iPhone 4 is so amazingly designed it is bad. It reminds me of the G4 cube, incredible, they learned a lot and it went away.

The glass is so hard it breaks with no effort, won't scratch though. The external frame with the antenna break points creates weak points that send impact energy into the glass even more so.

The edges are sharp and uncomfortable in the hand. It basically requires a case or it is not pleasant. The edges also are too close and the palm of the thumb hits the touch screen very easily.

Even plonking the thing on a hard surface such as a stone table without a case feels risky.
The iphone4 for me, in my hand typing this now is one of those things which is so impressive it kinda fails in being what it needs to be.
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post #22 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by autism109201 View Post

Aluminum? Really? Look, I don't know of a single aluminum-backed iPod that is free of scratches. I do know iPhone 4s that are free of scratches. But yeah, these rumors>_>

i think you've confused your metals.

my aluminum 2nd gen iPod nano is pretty scratch free... there are dings and dents from the several times i've dropped it... but very few scratches.

i really wish Apple would turn to aluminum on the iPod touch... the current stainless steel back scratches way to easily.
post #23 of 121
I truly dislike the way the iPhone 4 looks, especially when placed in a case, what were they thinking?
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post #24 of 121
Oh and if anyone wants to come back with the ol nugget "you should treat it with care"

Forget it!

You should treat an ornament with care, a phone, a computer.. they are tools and should take random handling not be a prissy piece of porcelain.
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you only have freedom in choice when you know you have no choice
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post #25 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by jj.yuan View Post

The nitride treatment is on a stainless steel surface. Maybe Apple wants to use a steel back?

But that is going to almost triple the weight in comparison to aluminum.
So a steel cover with 1/3 of the glasses thickness has still the same weight.

I think they still can save some weight but a lot less.
post #26 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

I truly dislike the way the iPhone 4 looks, especially when placed in a case, what were they thinking?

i both agree and disagree... i think the iPhone 4 is beautiful, but put a case on it and it usually looks ridiculous. especially those bumpers...
post #27 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by eswinson View Post

Maybe we will finally see an application of the transparent aluminum that Scotty invented

In the movie/TV series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (which predates Star Trek) the large windows in the bow of the Seaview were said to have been made out of transparent aluminum. Just FYI.

Anyway, I've had enough of glass, aluminum, and plastic. I want the backside of the next Apple product to be made of something else. Something that feels good in the hand.

Know what feels good in my hand? Money. Yes, I think the back of the next iPhone should be made of money.
post #28 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post

i both agree and disagree... i think the iPhone 4 is beautiful, but put a case on it and it usually looks ridiculous. especially those bumpers...

++

The iPhone is beautiful as it is delivered by Apple. Putting a case on it just makes it ugly.
post #29 of 121
Despite "Antennagate" (which was only a performance issue in the USA because of the comparatively poor quality of AT&T's 3G coverage and not the iPhone 4's design, and even then not for every user), the iPhone 4 remains the best, fastest-selling handset Apple has produced to date. Last Summer's bad press had little baring on iPhone 4's success and has little influence on Apple's plans for the device (specifically, its design) going forward, as evidenced by the iPhone 4's introduction to the Verizon network. If a major design revision was only a few months away, wouldn't Verizon have waited until then to offer the coveted iPhone? The iPhone 5 could possibly get a tech bump (e.g., A5), but a complete design overhaul… just for a version in white? It's possible, but I doubt it. And I really hope not; I like the current design.

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post #30 of 121
The glass was way too brittle so I suppose going back to aluminum is a good idea... but personally I've never owned an iAnything that wasn't in a case, so I don't really see it as much of an issue.
post #31 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by copeland View Post

The iPhone is beautiful as it is delivered by Apple. Putting a case on it just makes it ugly.

You know what: Jobs and Ive and Apple got so caught up in the iPhone design, they completely forgot how the phone would actually be used. That is: By people who would never, ever win a Gold Glove (i.e., dropping things is a way of life), and by people whose hands would inevitably short-circuit the antenna.

Telling people "not to hold it like that" just doesn't work. For often-distracted, average folks, all you can ask is that they hold it without dropping it.

The next phone needs to be less precious and more conscious of the real world.
post #32 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

I had an original iPhone and the aluminium scratched incredibly easily. They should just do the back in gorilla glass.

I had a completely different experience than you. I also had the original iPhone, and it remained in pristine condition despite never using a case for it. I tried using one of those suede pouches for about a month, which was of great help in cleaning the old screen (no oleophobic coating yet). But it took too long to get it out to answer a call, so I went back with no case. I never got any scratches, and found it to be much more resistant to scratches than the 3Gs. I would love a return to aluminum.

As for your comment about gorilla glass on the back, that's what the iPhone 4 has now and I think that is the problem. Even though it looks and feels great, it is still proving to be a bit too brittle with no case. Likewise it has been scratching more than expected.
post #33 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanaCameron View Post

...has little influence on Apple's plans for the device (specifically, its design) going forward, as evidenced by the iPhone 4's introduction to the Verizon network. If a major design revision was only a few months away, wouldn't Verizon have waited until then to offer the coveted iPhone...

I don't think you can look at the lack of design change for Verizon as an indicator of anything. Apple wouldn't have accelerated their design process for that, and they wouldn't have wanted to "ruin" the iPad launch by revealing any new technology (like the A5 processor). And no, Verizon wouldn't have wanted to wait until summer. By then there was a chance ATT would have passed them in subscriber numbers, which would be viewed as a major coup by ATT. If they had waited there would be even more of their subscribers jumping ship to ATT.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Snitch View Post

You know what: Jobs and Ive and Apple got so caught up in the iPhone design, they completely forgot how the phone would actually be used. That is: By people who would never, ever win a Gold Glove (i.e., dropping things is a way of life), and by people whose hands would inevitably short-circuit the antenna.

Telling people "not to hold it like that" just doesn't work. For often-distracted, average folks, all you can ask is that they hold it without dropping it.

The next phone needs to be less precious and more conscious of the real world.

Just like buttonless shuffle. They designed it because they could. Which of course brings us back to the Jeff Goldblum quote from Jurassic Park: "your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."
post #34 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

I had an original iPhone and the aluminium scratched incredibly easily. They should just do the back in gorilla glass.

I still have my original and it has no scratches on the aluminum. The glass (and it's not Gorilla, that's a Trademark) scratches more easily.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #35 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by eswinson View Post

Maybe we will finally see an application of the transparent aluminum that Scotty invented

Scotty didn't invent that, he just mentioned and used it
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #36 of 121
Aluminum? While stronger than the glass on the i4, it still scratches and gets scuffed up too easily. Also, I think this current design just looks great and feels great. I don't have the reception issues. Also, for recording during certain scenarios, lying it on its side and being upright is very convenient.
post #37 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Instead, the report claims that Apple will use a special resin for the Apple logo on the back of the device. Cellular and Wi-Fi data will reportedly travel through the logo, just like Wi-Fi does on the iPad.

Yeah, through the logo AND around the bezel.

And by special resin they mean plastic. "Special resin" ?
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #38 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

Aluminum? While stronger than the glass on the i4, it still scratches and gets scuffed up too easily.

It'll be in a case for 99% of people no matter what they do.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #39 of 121
I doubt very highly if Apple will return to a simple aluminum back, especially a stamped aluminum back. Not only is it "yesterday", but it isn't taking advantage of developments and licensing made by Apple with their LiquidMetal affiliate. Plus, stamped or machined aluminum is now very easy for competitors to replicate, and would probably result in too thick a structure for Jony Ive.

I am predicting that the new back will leverage the inherently scratch-resistant characteristics of LiquidMetal -- which is very stout stuff -- as well as injection moulding, which will reduce the amount of materials used, the weight, resulting in a thinner, lighter, and stronger back. Plus, it would be easy to then insert a plastic Apple logo, given it was "in the mould". With Apple's exclusive license on LiquidMetal, this would provide a substantial barrier to entry for competitors.
post #40 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post

i both agree and disagree... i think the iPhone 4 is beautiful, but put a case on it and it usually looks ridiculous. especially those bumpers...

I both agree and disagree I think the iPhone 4 is beautiful, and the black Bumper looks classy.

"Be aware of wonder." ~ Robert Fulghum

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