Although the results are undeniably gorgeous, Apple’s decision to switch from the 3GS’s plastic back to a glass one for the iPhone 4 has been a disastrous one. Not only did Apple have to put out the fires on “Glassgate” shortly after the fiasco of Antennagate thank to the the glass backing’s tendency to crack when used with a slider-style iPhone case, but the glass backing has also proven to be a nightmare for Apple when it came to releasing the white iPhone 4, thanks to the glass’ tendency to leak light onto the camera sensor.
Reports now indicate that Apple wants to ditch the glass in the iPhone 5, instead moving back to the aluminum back found in the original iPhone. Cupertino ditched aluminum in the iPhone 3G because of wireless and cellular connectivity issues, but it’s thought that advances in antenna design might have mitigated the connectivity drawbacks of aluminum.
According to the report, the iPhone 5’s antenna will be housed in the Apple logo, just like WiFi works on the iPad. The iPad, of course, requires a small plastic strip for better 3G transmission: it’s unknown if Apple would be able to eschew that less than aesthetically pleasing requirement for a smaller device.
Apple’s reasons for considering the change go deeper than just Glassgate and the white iPhone. The glass-backing on the iPhone 4 also makes the phone considerably heavier than it otherwise might be, while aluminum would allow for a much lighter and slimmer design like that of the iPod Touch or iPad 2..