The iPhone 5, though some will argue that it looks similar, is a major departure from its predecessor. It has a larger screen, upgraded internals, and a new unibody design.

And as it turns out, that design could spell trouble for aftermarket back panels. Because instead of a single piece of glass — like on the iPhone 4 and 4S, you have this part-aluminum, part-glass back panel directly attached to internal components….

CultofMac, speaking with mod kit-maker Monolith:

“It’s a tough one for the iPhone 5. It looks like it’s a different animal than the iPhone 4,” Monolith told us. “Similar to the iPhone 3G/3GS, it looks like the structure of the phone consists of the internal components being directly attached to the back. Although the 5 looks to be more unibody than the 3G. I think that makes it impossible to actually replace it, short of a crazy hack.”

This makes custom back plates a lot more difficult, if not impossible. Instead of simply removing two screws on the bottom of the handset and sliding off the back panel, like you could with previous iPhones, you’ll have to completely dismantle the thing. Yikes.

The good news is, it doesn’t sound like personalization will be completely lost with the iPhone 5. Our friends over at mendmyi say they’re already working on different ways to customize the handset, and they’re already having some success in their coulourlab.

It’ll be interesting to see how Apple’s new smartphone ends up affecting the third-party iPhone customization space. At minimum, things just got a lot more complicated.

What’s your take on this, big deal/not a big deal?

  • There’s always a way to make an iPhone look just like the way you wish.. Even though it’s already perfect looking itself! Sorry for the fanboyism but I loved the new iPhone design, I hope some hacker release another hack that makes the apple logo on the iPhone 5`s back glow! :3

  • Honestly , I customized my previous phones with all these crazy stuff, even bought light modification apple logo light on my 4s which thankfully made my iPhone more valuable for resell value. (battery drainer though) This time around, I’m going to leave it alone. All oem parts. I got the black phone looks beautiful the way it is. Doesn’t bother me one bit. I’m happy and excited for the arrival for my phone this Friday !

  • was looking forward to removing the 2 tone design and getting a custom backplate to get the look of iPhone 4s again. shoot

  • The only thing I would have like to have done to it is get a light up apple logo, but the new design wont allow that ¯_(ツ)_/¯

  • The iPhone back wasn’t replaceable on 3 of its 5 years – what’s the big deal? Why is this a story?

  • LAGISSUEZ

    You would never get the level of quality with an after market part. They machined this phone with micron measurement specs. That’s absurd for metal machining. I produce optics and we measure microns with interferometers which is all light and wavelength instruments. I wouldn’t dare mess with this phone.

    • yeah you’re right I customized my 4S with a different back, it was cool for a bit got a lot of attention then I just got over it. Keep it original I say unless someone makes a great quality back.

    • The more I think about it I believe what the article said, ‘iPhone is like the Rolex of phones’

      • KMGT08

        lol, no. You cant compare Rolex to apple. see, Rolex actually MAKES their product where as apple hires other ppl IE: Samsung/foxconn etc. to produce a product that they then market as “theirs”. Apple isn’t a Cadillac or Rolex of anything. There a company with a dying idea of a marvelous product which will soon dwindle away and be overtaken by something else. (that is, unless, they become innovating again and actually make something to truly “change” the world, as they did with the phone and iPod.) Apples cores are Samsung there hdd are Toshiba or “other”. open ur isheep product you purchased for an absurd amount f money and see what labels are there. Hell, go into ur computer information table and see what parts your machine is actually made from.

      • You unbelievably thought way to far into my comment.

  • luka

    apple store has iphone 5 unlocked

  • luka

    unlocked is factory unlocked???

  • Nicek1d

    sorry to say but i know the people over at mendmyi are selling China made front/back covers for their service that cost a fraction on ebay. My 4S has a full housing conversion installed by me and as far as parts and quality go, the Chinese color conversion cases ive got from ebay are good quality and funtion perfectly. The factories in China are good at making knock offs and can probably use very similar parts. I am predicting by next year there will be custom China made color kits for iPhone 5 selling on ebay.

    • LAGISSUEZ

      I guarantee you won’t be able to take the back off without the disassembly getting absolutely nasty.

  • James Latten

    anyone knows any amazing stylish dreamborad themes need help

  • SamsungAppleFan

    so it’s like taking the shell off a turtle…

  • Guest

    Forget the specs !

    I believe this iphone 5 will gather 5 star reviews once it’s out ( we’ll see on friday).

    The key note didn’t do justice to this beauty .

  • iDevizes

    If you see the production proces and how carefully the parts are chosen a don’t think other cases than Apple’s own will fit anymore. If you’ve got a phone problem you have to go to an Apple Store. It’s such a precision work, indeed like a Rolex someone says.