Spotted iPhone 5 Prototype With Metal Back Suggests a More Durable Design

By , Mar 18, 2011

A report claims that iPhone 5 prototypes have been spotted at Foxconn, and new intel confirms that the device will have a very similar design to the iPhone 4. Although the form between the two devices will remain similar, there should be two major design changes to set the iPhone 5 apart from its predecessor.

We’ve already heard that there will be a larger display, and a new rumor claims that the iPhone will have a metal back. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about Apple ditching the easily-breakable glass of the iPhone 4 for something more durable

9to5 Mac reports,

“A source from Foxconn who we believe to be reliable has provided us with some information about Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone. Most of the information lines up with past reports but we have also learned a few new details. Most notably is that the iPhone 5 has already been seen at Foxconn and is soon going into the normal mass production stages. In terms of design, the iPhone 5 is said to look fairly similar to the iPhone 4 except for two very important differences: materials and screen size.

The iPhone 5 will keep a relatively similar size and shape as the iPhone 4 but Apple has decided to move away from the back-glass enclosure found on the fourth-generation device and move to something similar to the back of the first-generation iPhone from 2007. Although some reports claim the iPhone 5 will adopt a curved metal back, our source says models have been floating around with a flat metal back. The material of this metal is unspecified.”

The original iPhone had an aluminum back, then Apple moved to plastic for the 3G and 3GS, and finally glass for the iPhone 4. Since the glass back didn’t bode well for the iPhone 4’s resilience, Apple is considering using a more sturdy material for the iPhone 5.

9to5 Mac does say that production for the iPhone 5 is ramping up, which makes sense for an announcement at WWDC this June. This report does hint at liquid metal instead of aluminum, but it makes more sense for Apple to keep unifying their overall product design with an aluminum material.

Another rumor from a different source recently claimed that a major change in the iPhone 5’s design would include an aluminum back identical to the iPad and MacBook’s. It was also said that Apple is considering building the iPhone 5’s antenna inside the Apple logo in the center of the back panel.

Personally, I’m all for a metal/aluminum-backed iPhone 5. While the glass back of the iPhone 4 does look good, there are durability concerns with a material that can shatter easily.

What do you think about Apple bringing back the metal iPhone? Would you prefer a curved aluminum, or a flat liquid metal material?

[Note: Image is of a third-party slider case for the iPhone 4, not an image of the iPhone 5.]

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  • six4seven

    Gay. I wanted a rounded back like the ipod touch 4.

    I’m still going to buy the iphone 5 tho! :)

  • http://miapples.blogspot.com pleask55

    Def a curved background.
    I must admit I really love the glass BG.
    Maybe a more durable glass possible?
    Unbreakable glass & curved & slimmer??
    I wish!

  • Dodgerdeezy

    U can buy that back online. That’s an iPhone 4 with a Modded back.

    • MrE

      I was just about to post this as well. I can’t believe iDB fell for this.

    • Jwelden21

      Try reading

      • MrE

        That note was added in later. It was not present in the original article.

    • rey

      I was thinking the same damn thing. R u people serious??? I hope that is not the “spotted iPhone 5 prototype” ROTFL!!! I think and hope they used the pic just as an example.

  • Leon

    i want duo core cpu… that is the only thing that will excite me for the upcoming iphone 5

  • Rad

    I hope they keep the glass… Phone looks and feels so luxurious.
    Poeple should take better care of their $hit…

    • Thor

      Go buy some glass sneakers. Make sure you take care of your $hit…

    • October

      Ditto… Personally I could live with a change, I just hope it’s not curved… It’s a lateral move IMO…

  • pleask55

    FYI
    This at end of article guys!
    [Note: Image is of a third-party slider case for the iPhone 4, not an image of the iPhone 5.]

  • 00sigma

    It’s a skin…If it was truly metal it would be metal all over!! (look at the camera cut out and the gap between the sides)

    • Twited21

      I agree it’s a skin
      A very nice looking skin where do I get one 

  • http://www.coregeek.net coregeek

    It’s a replacement back by voBack. I have the exact same one on my iPhone. They are made out of plastic and have a thin layer of real metal veneer on it. The used to ship with all of the apple branding but since have been forced to go plain. You can see photos of mine and the install process here: http://wp.me/pOGwK-Kc

  • MALdito

    Hey ALEX, I agree with you but I don’t understand the whole ” flat liquid metal back” thing. Can you clarify this somehow?

    Is it gonna be like the T1000 from Terminator 2,
    and take any shape, then try and kill you? <—(I kidd, I kidd), lol!

    But seriously though, I don't get it.

    • Thor

      Liquid metal makes as much sense as Christian porn.

  • Xepptizz

    It has to be a back made out of mercury, it makes perfect senses so don’t argue against it.

  • anon

    glass all the way
    the feel is right compared to previous generations of iphones
    most unique of all other smart phones

    dont drop the iphone and the iphone will stay as it had been – sexy.

    • Thor

      Wow. Are you implying you have the supernatural ability to never drop anything?

      • October

        I second that, while it’s impossible to keep from dropping it EVER, it is possible to be careful…

  • http://www.newitworld.com Iphone

    This iphone metal is looking good and in best function

  • javierE186

    I do not believe this, it just seems to be an iPhone 4 with a metal back instead of glass (which you can buy). I would need more photos of different angles and a video comparison of the “iPhone 5″ prototype and the iPhone 4.

  • STK10

    Stop looking at the picture it isn’t related to the prototype!!!!

  • Tim Ling

    It seems like iDB is running out of news to report and is trying to pull this “news leak” off?

    iDB itself has posted about this back cover many months ago!!!

    Tomorrow iDB will report Apple planning to fix antenna gate issue on iPhone 5!

    • iPhoNerd

      :O I am stunned and at the same time feeling like well, I am not alone! I was going to use the same words “It seems like iDB is running out of news” not on this article but about the other one about Mobile Me. I am pretty sure Sebastien and the writers will freak out and say “don’t read” lol but yeah if you running out of stories and start selling old wine in new bottle, pretty soon we will not read :P

      • Sober

        It’s nice to know that you are here just for the pictures. If you were really a reader you would have read the entire article, including the end where Alex clearly states that the photo is of a modded iPhone 4.

      • iPhoNerd

        @Sober I hope that wasn’t for me. May be you pressed a wrong place to reply :D

      • http://www.twitter.com/MrMBerman MrMBerman

        If iDB is not good enough for you then jog on and complain elsewhere. For every Moron that feels compelled to complain there are 100’s more new readers who enjoy the style & content of iDB. Your comments won’t be missed.

      • iPhoNerd

        If you don’t like reading anything negative about iDB go screw yourself fucking moron!

  • Ace

    The article is called “Spotted iphone 5 prototype with metal back suggest a more durable design”! SPOTTED!! With a picture of n iphone with a metal cover. Are you kidding me? For anybody that doesnt know that that’s a iphone 4 back cover, which by the way they come in many different colors, was definitely misled into reading this article. This is the first time I come into this website n i click on this article because I couldnt believe that this place is trying to pass this pic for an iphone 5 metal back. This is a huge FAIL! Even if u did put that disclaimer at the end. Which a few ppl have said it wasnt up on the original article.

  • James

    If its going to have the metal back its going to look like the back of the Ipad 1.

  • http://twitter.com/jimmyontheradio Jimmy

    As soon as I started using my free Bumper, I have no problem with the current glass design, although a curved back does give a really nice in hand feel. Not sure how I feel about the aluminum back. It looks cool, but I think I may prefer the glass. Either way, I am stoked for iPhone 5.

  • Avi

    I like the iPhone 4 looks

  • Danny

    The whole reason i didnt get an iphone4 was because of the flat back, i hope the 5 is curved back, or im just going to buy a second hand 3gs