Battle Of The Back Panels: “iPhone 5’ Versus iPhone 4S [Video]

Battle Of The Back Panels: “iPhone 5’ Versus iPhone 4S [Video]

Is this your new iPhone's back panel?

We’ve seen a good number of images claiming to be the sixth-generation iPhone’s rear panel in recent weeks, all of which feature identical designs. But what isn’t entirely clear from these images is just how different these leaked panels are when compared to those that feature on our iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S.

However, thanks to this video from parts supplier ETrade Supply, it’s easy to see the changes Apple has made to its next iPhone (assuming this is indeed a genuine part, of course). And there are a lot of them.

The most noticeable difference is its size. While the new back panel is exactly the same width as those on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, it’s significantly taller — as those images have already demonstrated. It’s also slightly thinner, suggesting the new iPhone will be a little slimmer than its predecessor, even with a display attached.

The differences in design are easy to see. While there are some similarities, such as the position of the rear-facing camera, volume buttons, and mute switch, there are also some big differences.

First, the new iPhone’s rear panel is no longer made out of glass, but aluminum instead. The headphone jack has been moved from the top of the device to the bottom, alongside the handset’s dock connector. And speaking of the dock connector, that’s significantly smaller than Apple’s existing 30-pin setup.

Although it looks exactly the same, SIM tray is a lot smaller, too, which suggests the next iPhone will be the first smartphone to adopt Apple’s new nano-SIM technology, which was approved by the European Telecommunications Standard Institute (ETSI) just last week.

If you look closely at the bottom of the new frame, you’ll notice the speaker grille is much larger than the microphone grille, and much larger than any of the speaker grilles we’ve seen on any other iPhone. Hopefully, this means the new iPhone will sport a much better speaker.

Finally, one of the biggest changes is the fact that the rear panel and the frame are now one piece, which isn’t exactly great news to us consumers. Sure, it probably helps make the device a little thinner, but it’ll make it a great deal harder to access your iPhone’s internals. Changing its battery, for example, will no longer be a case of whipping out two screws and pulling the back off.

Like the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, you’ll have to go in from the front, removing the display and every other component that sits in front of the battery. With that said, changing your iPhone’s battery will no longer be a five-minute job you can do yourself at home.

This video doesn’t reveal too much that we haven’t already seen from those images, but it does offer a more detailed look at this new panel, and its differences when compared to the iPhone 4.

And I’m not entirely sure I like it. Sure, I’d love a bigger display and a thinner iPhone with an aluminum casing that isn’t going to shatter into tiny little pieces every time it’s dropped. But to me, that two-tone design just doesn’t look like an Apple product at all, and it’s certainly not as pretty as the glass panels of previous iPhones.

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  • Jairo

    Looks like crap, the iPhone 4S looks way better. and i want a wider iPhone not a taller one!

  • Edgar Rios

    yeah i agree, but i kinda like that its taller

  • lclog

    Stop calling it the iPhone 5. It will NOT be called that, it’s the 6th generation iPhone, not the 5th. Calling it that would be moronic on Apple’s part. They will more than likely call it “iPhone”, similar to how they named the new iPad. If you need a label on the Internet at the moment then call it the iPhone 6 or the 6th generation iPhone. Anything else is just stupidity of the highest order.

  • iamcornelis

    The back is probably touch sensitive like on the PS Vita. The difference in texture helps you feel where the touch sensitive area is located when playing games.

  • lwdesign1

    Even if this is the new size of the new iPhone, don’t worry about the quality of the case. This is quite likely a prototype done up in cheap metal and not the final materials. Apple always creates class-leading hardware, so whatever they come out with for the next version, it will be spectacularly engineered and look gorgeous.

  • bernhardush

    It’s funny that the guy in the video doesn’t tell where he found this “prototype”.
    He’s like “woah, what’s this?!”, as though it just magically appeared out of nowhere!

    Anyway, it might just be a genuine prototype. It looks legit, although I’m quite sure the two-tone design won’t feature in the final product – it looks hideous!

  • silentwill

    Ugh. It’s ugly.

  • AdonisBlood33

    If you go to their website. 

    They make replica replacement parts for the iPhones, iPods, iPads, and pretty much every other handheld electronic device. 

    If you look on Apple’s list of suppliers… they are not on it. 

    Also… They were selling the backplate for $700… No company would risk losing Apple as a client, and the lawsuits… just to sell the back plates for $700. 

    Maybe they made these off of the schematics. Maybe they made everything up. 

    But it is their part. And No Way would they be stupid enough to release it on their own if it was in fact a real part made for Apple. 

    They want publicity, and possibly a Samsung contract.


    Also a big give away that it’s fake is the Two Toned back.  It’s uglier than the iPhone 4/s and it’s a big step back to 2007.  That’s not Apple.  
  • Rackmaster

    It can’t be a final US part. It has no FCC marking. It also doesnt have the typical “Designed by Apple” or copyright notices.

  • Dennis Caldwell

    I want a wi-der iPhone not just taller. That looks deformed. as for this thing it is uuuuugly and no way is an Apple product!

  • ApplePr0n

    I will say, if this is true, then that is a very sexy piece of equipment IMO. I mean that aluminum backing is just gorgeous, and I can’t wait to get that into my hands

  • Frank Poole

    so why is everybody talking about the iPhone 5? isn´t the iPhone 4S Apples 5th Gen iPhone??? There´s no way they are going to name the next iPhone the iPhone 5. It should at least be the iPhone 6 but i am pretty sure they are also dropping the number as seen on the iPad. So just plain and simple “the new” iPhone.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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