Apple to replace iPhone 4 glass backing with metal featuring an integrated antenna

Aug 9, 2010 - 6 Comments

iphone 4 redesign As the tech world froths with more iPhone on Verizon rumors, an overlooked bit of information caught my eye. According to Digitimes, Apple is going to replace the glass back panel of the iPhone 4 with metal that features an integrated antenna:

As for the CDMA iPhone, Pegatron Technology is expected to start mass production in December and will supply to both US-based Verizon Wireless and China-based China Telecom. The CDMA iPhone’s back plate will be forged from metal materials and will feature an integrated antenna, according to Digitimes Research.

While the report specifically mentions the CDMA iPhone (Verizon is CDMA), it would be unusual if Apple kept other iPhone 4 models with a glass enclosure. My guess is that Apple is looking to replace the back glass for two reasons: one, it’s relatively fragile and prone to shattering with minor drops, and two a metallic back panel with integrated antenna could help to aid the antenna problems that have received so much negative press.

iphone 4 broken

I really wouldn’t be surprised if Apple restyled iPhone with a metallic enclosure. From a purely design standpoint it seemed unusual that Apple went with the glass back considering their other products are enclosed in a hardy and attractive aluminum shell. Assuming they figured out a way to help the antenna issues and just make the device more durable in general, this design change is a no brainer before the iPhone comes to millions more customers through Verizon and even T-Mobile in the USA.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, News, Rumor

6 Comments

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  1. Critical Carl says:

    Wow Paul, a post that is NOT about Starcraft? It can’t be!

    On a serious note, I’d welcome the metal. It’d be nice if the new iPhone finally matched the iPad & MacBook Pro better, and I wouldn’t be horrified of carrying it outside of a tough case. The antenna non-issue “issue” is overblown and doesn’t bother me, but I am genuinely concerned about the glass cracking from taking a spill even with a thick rubber shell.

  2. Desmond says:

    This is about the only iPhone ‘rumor’ I have heard that makes sense, and of all places it’s from Digitimes who has a rather dubious background with predictions.

    I tend to believe the supply chain and distributor spawned rumors though, there’s more credibility there than the BS websites that just blatantly make stuff up.

  3. GGeek says:

    This jives with Apple’s recent licensing of Liquidmetal’s alloys:

    http://www.cultofmac.com/apples-liquidmetal-is-tony-stark-stuff/54315

    Can’t wait to see what they do with it!

  4. Mark says:

    lame. suddenly the iphone 4 isn’t so unique anymore though it might have better reception and be less fragile. in that case why the h*** are people waiting for the white iphone. waste of 3 months. would kind of cool if they made it out of liquid metal but still NO..

  5. […] notorious shroud of secrecy around new products. Earlier reports from DigiTimes suggest the new iPhone will have a metal enclosure and feature an integrated antenna, which aims to resolve the reception problems in addition to the sometimes fragile glass backing of […]

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