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.