Will the New Aluminum-Backed iPhone 5 Follow the Style of iPad 2? [Mockup]

iPhone 5 Mockup With iPad 2 Motif

Every so often, a new Apple product comes along with a breakthrough form factor that Jonathan Ive’s design team will riff on for years to come. As a result, there are many recurring motifs that provide clues to where Apple’s industrial design is heading.

The original iPod was one-such design. With its metal back and translucent polycarbonate front. Many subsequent generations of iPod classic, iPhone and iPod touch followed its lead. The black bezel on the iPhone proved to be similarly influential – now almost every Mac also sports a similar shiny black bezel. Then there was the bulging and tapering of the MacBook Air, which was reflected in the 3rd generation iPod nano, and the most recent iPod classic. The extruded shape of the 2nd generation iPod nano was reflected in the Mac mini, Airport Extreme and Apple TV… The list is almost endless.

And so, with reports surfacing that the new iPhone 5 may sport an aluminum back-panel, it seems like a good bet that Apple are planning to riff on the new aluminum-backed iPad 2 design. In the iPad 2 promotional video, Ive describes how the three surfaces of the original iPad have been reduced to two. He explains they “got rid of the structural wall around the perimeter of the product and eliminated the edge.” Hmm, like that pesky antenna around the perimeter of the iPhone – wouldn’t it be great to eliminate that?

So, for your enjoyment, we’ve put together a mockup of what the iPhone 5 might look like if it adopted the “two-surface” motif of the iPad 2 – even with its own dinky smart cover. Let us know what you think in the comments.

  • Ritch Boyes

    I hope not. The iPhone 4 looks nice as it is. This design looks too much like the 3GS/iPod touch.

  • samradford

    I have to say, I LOVE the iPhone 4 design. Hope it doesn’t move too far away from that.

  • Derek Martin

    Antenna at the bottom would make the case less rigid around the dock connector port, so I think that’s unlikely. Love the adoption of the SmartCover & aluminum back, though.

  • Snazzymax

    the back of this iphone looks exactly like the iphone 1g… i mean i think they’ll be moving forwards… i think the iphone 4 is the benchmark for further apple products… i wouldn’t be surprised if they kept that design for a while now. Its all for the antenna, so the ipad and ipod touch are bound to remain the way they are, but this design just moves apple backwards, and thats not going to happen. if anything, the iphone 5 should sport a brand new design altogether, but i doubt it, i reckon its going to be similar to the ipad to ipad 2 change, just a few minor spec bumps and a thinner design…

  • LARRYDAVID

    folding a smart cover every time you use the phone? not practical at all. I would say they are going with the liquid metal technology and the color will be gunmetal and maybe WHITE!

  • Scott Parks

    I agree with Sam and Rich. The iPhone 4 is, in my opinion, one of the most beautifully designed pieces of electronic equipment ever. Why go backwards with the design?

  • Scott Parks

    I agree with Sam and Rich. The iPhone 4 is, in my opinion, one of the most beautifully designed pieces of electronic equipment ever. Why go backwards with the design?

  • Carlos Franco

    yeah….i kinda like it :)

  • DAvid

    And, your artist has covered the volume & ringer buttons with the hinge of the cover. Poor design considerations.

  • Shaun

    I don’t like the iPhone 4 design. Will be interesting to see if they unify the iOS products under a common design or make them all different.

  • Affilho

    ZU A DO

  • BlinQue

    if Apple pulls out a 4G 4-inch aluminum-backed iPhone 5, I will name my first child Steve Jobs

  • hooms

    The iPhone 4 antenna design is not only genius, but beautiful! My opinion is that the iPhone and iPod product classes should remain unique in all future iterations without blurring their design elements…

  • sales@custom-ears.com

    I’m thinking that just because they might go to an aluminum back cover, there’s no reason to believe that it will revert back to the same shape as the iPhone 3g series. I think it would look great if it had a similar shape to the iPhone 4. Feels much better in the hand than the slippery 3G & 3GS phones. I currently have an aluminum back on my iPhone 4 (google id America iphone case) and it’s the best of both worlds for me!
    please check out http://www.Custom-Ears.com for custom molded bluetooth earpieces
    and custom molded audio ‘buds.

  • Edward Chamberlain

    it may look great but it functions poorly… how manny ppl do u reckon have smashed that back plate? and its the first thing in the phone so it irreplaceable.

  • Kayneeezy

    its funny cause before the iPhone 4 was seen. I always assumed it would mimic the iPad 3G’s design and they came up with something completely different. My assumption is even if the iPhone 5 is going to be made from aluminum, it will take on a different form factor.. Nothing we are expecting.. If you notice. apple does the most in iPhone,t other iOS devices are trailing behind it.

  • itsme nyc

    I love the design as well but I must admit that it would slide better in my pocket and not leave marks on my pants pocket because of the 90 degree edges.

    The other issue is that they would be losing a lot of cubic millimeters in order to have that shape. There would have to be a lot of component shrinking to get everything to fit.

  • Edward Chamberlain

    think of an iphone 4… but get rid of the fragile glass and just have a sheet of metal… and fix that arial

  • Chris Mason

    Can you redo the mockup to show a potential 4 inch bigger screen iPhone

  • aramishero

    This won’t happen. iPhone 4 redesign curve to flat becoz it need to stand for FaceTime if curvy design like 3GS it cannot stand for FaceTime. iPhone 5 won’t be Curvy design.

  • aramishero

    If they using back iPhone 4 design in iPhone 5 the only thing they will change is the glass. Hope they will use Liquid Metal for the cover becoz Liquid Metal is lighter and harder than Aluminium and Glass. But also need to see the Liquid Metal price. Coz I understand sometime need to see the material price for making a product.

  • AgirlyGirl

    As long as it has a 4″ screen, and A5 processor, a better battery life, and a great iOS 5 (with proper notification system) then i’ll be happy.

  • NickM

    Keep it similar to the iPhone 4 design, swap the glass back for Aluminum or another solid metal & work on the OS, battery life and features! Oh and make sure it is 4G please. I have also heard rumors of Facial Recognition for security which would be very interesting.

  • AlterThending

    If they are going back to this design why did iPhone 4 even happen. What’s the point of changing the design of a phone then changing it back next model? iPhone 4 sucks!

  • Gizmo_eats_tonight

    Would be very happy if it looks anything remotely like the mock up above.. very nice.. Would be great if they had a product (red) iphone 5 too! I love the look of the glass on the iPhone 4 but it’s simply not practical…

  • John Howell

    Apple design always seems to have a flagship product where the design language comes out first. The polycarbonate iPod came out with white iMacs and the polycarb MacBooks. Then the fastest if the MacBooks became black, then the iMac got the aluminum makeover with black front and aluminuum back. This is now echoed in the iPod touch and iPad. The cheapest MacBook, is still plycarb, and the atv is black polycarb, but the remote is aluminum.
    For the future of Apple design, look to the iMac flagship. I can’t see this changing soon, but when it does, that will go first, not last.
    Lambo never copy for the top of the line model, all ther other ones follow it. If truly beautiful, it will last longer than fashion normally dictates.

  • Mynameis_jonash

    I think that this proposed design of the iPhone 5 looks almost identical to the new 4th gen iPod Touch. With the exception of the ear piece and silence toggle switch. The aluminum body would be more durable than the glass backing of the iPhone 4. Let’s face it, most of us have “missed” our pockets while putting our idevices back where they usually rest. So a durable kind of glass for the mulit-touch interface would be a good idea as well. This is my opinion, and I believe this is a step forward.

  • amendment_9

    I went from the iPhone first gen to the 3G S for an increase in performance, but I missed the high quality feel of the aluminum and glass. I love the look of the iPhone 4 but I didn’t pick one up due to my upgrade pricing not being available until January, so I decided to wait for 5.

    Let’s just say, if they bring back the aluminum phone I will be a very happy man.

  • Allan Cook

    Positively stunning. Would buy it in a heartbeat.

  • Iphone4user

    that is a sexy phone

  • kavok

    These mock-ups always make me laugh. They all try to make new products into something that already exists. The iPhone 5 won’t look anything like the iPad (1 or 2). Just like the original iPad doesn’t look like the iPhone 4 or the iPod Touch. I’m sure it will be totally amazing and very drool-worthy. If, by some miracle, the new iPhone 5 comes even close to these pictures, I’ll pass on upgrading.

    As for these artists doing these mock-up pics… There’s a reason why they aren’t in Apple’s design department.

  • Bholi

    I love my iPhone 4, but would gladly trade it if it even remotely resembles the above design. I love curves in hi-tech products :)

  • Fuckyou

    Whichever you prefer, 3g or 4, Apple should not be prodded into changing its design for the sake of having something new. That is not the pursuit perfection; it is an compulsion for arbitrary change. I think the 3g chassis looked awesome, and I’d be happy to see them “go backward” to something like that design, but that’s another story. Apple should decide on the best form factor and stick with it until they think of something that’s actually better. A star-shaped iPhone would be “revolutionary”, but a star-shaped iPhone would still suck.

  • Sorry

    Wow sorry Scott, I meant to put that name as my email address, I didn’t mean for it to look like I was saying it to you.

  • KateAlphaWolf

    looks nice and the iPhone 5 will also have the Smart Cover. i would like that :)

  • ArcLP

    My sisters Father in law is creating the new IOS for the next iPad coming out next year. Still havent asked him whats in it.

  • mike

    i have the macair, 4 gs of ram, 2.16 processor, and am on my 2nd iPhone 4…not the point…what i WANT out of the iPhone 5…very simple:  MORE RAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   I hate lagging and respringing my phone as often as i have to…ALSO lets make the iphone 5 more like my beloved macair, aluminum and if you take notice, the screen is inlaid a 16th of an inch or so.  My point, aluminum doesnt break and a screen that is inlet doesnt break.  Jobs replacement needs to take notes

  • Serge

    I would like the design without the black thing on the back. dunt like that

About the author

Graham Bower

Graham Bower is a digital strategist, writer and fitness fanatic. An Apple-obsessive for over 20 years, Graham's company, Polymath, uses Macs to create ad campaigns for the likes of Nickelodeon, Starbucks and The Economist. Graham is the geek behind MacPredictions, a blog with an uncanny track record for anticipating what Apple will do next. Follow Graham on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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