Report: Apple Ditches Glass for Aluminum Back on iPhone 5

| Rumor

Apple is ditching the glass back introduced with the iPhone 4, and will return to an aluminum back, according to a report originating with Chinese newspaper Economic Daily News, translated by Google, and interpreted by a Japanese blog (that was then translated by Google). In other words, there’s a lot of links in this rumor chain, so keep a bag of salt handy, just in case.

We offer that trail because the straight Google translation from Chinese to English leaves much to be desired, but the translation from Chinese to Japanese appears to offer better results (any of our readers that can offer some help on the translations are encouraged to do so in the comments).

Nonetheless, the report, which was attributed to a source in Apple’s OEM chain in China, is in sync with other reports that Apple plans to abandon the iPhone 4 form factor, in part to address issues with antenna signal attenuation that came with the device’s use of an external antenna.

Japanese blog Macotakara wrote, “EDN reported [that] a Chinese source [said] Apple seems to [be] changing [the] form factor of iPhone [back] to [an] aluminum case, which was [originally] used, […] and to give up using glass.”

Other tidbits from the source include the not-so-surprising news that iPhone 5 with use the dual-core A5 processor Apple introduced with the iPad 2, and that the device is likely to be announced at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference in June or July of this year, the usual schedule Apple has used for the device.

Popular TMO Stories



Let’s hope that Apple uses chips that allow the phone to work on both GSM and CDMA systems. Then Apple only has to make one version, and the user gets a phone that, when the initial contract ends, can be used on any system. A win-win for Apple and the user. Not so much for the cell phone carriers. (cue crocodile tears.)


aluminium is liter than glass


I thpught that Apple switched to the glass back for signal
attenuation purposes (like the 1st gen had) but then I put an aluminum back on my iPhone 4 (a vanity modification, basically), and it made no noticable difference to my signal quality. I didn’t do any scientific testing, but I thought it was interesting that the aluminum didn’t have the adverse effects people have talked about.


Transparent aluminum?


Transparent aluminum?

LOL Brian.  Good one!!  grin


Of course Consumer Reports will then discover a significant loss of signal when you hold the iPhone5 in a certain way (while standing in a Faraday Cage) and so not give it a Recommended rating.

Nicolas diPierro

maybe the whole back will be the antenna, expanding on the idea with iphone4’s side frame.

i’m sure they’d do it in such a way as to prevent the antenna attenuation issue we saw in “antennagate” (dun dun dun!) gasp!

i don’t believe the first iphone’s aluminum back had any functionality. in that case it needed the plastic tailpiece for the signal to escape/enter.

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account