Although not much more than a questionable confirmation of existing rumors, 9to5Mac is claiming that a source close to Foxconn has told them that the iPhone 5 will have a larger edge-to-edge screen and an aluminum back while otherwise sharing the form factor of the iPhone 4.We’re not sure what to make of these rumors.
A larger edge-to-edge display in the same case size would be nice, and Apple’s move to Retina Displays in the iPhone line does give Apple the leeway of expanding the display size without upping the number of pixels. Also, the Gorilla Glass used by the iPhone 4, while beautiful, is much heavier and more fragile than aluminum, so we can see benefits of shifting back as well.
That said, Apple’s spent a lot of money in the last nine months trying to perfect a way to coat the back glass panels of the iPhone 4 so that light doesn’t leak through onto the camera sensor in the white models, and Phil Schiller says we can expect the fruits of that labor to hit stores this spring. Why would Apple work so hard on this if they were going to drop the glass in just three months?
Also, let’s not forget why Apple ditched the aluminum back of the original iPhone: cellular and wireless connectivity issues. Sure, it’s possible that Apple’s figured out a way around those issues by now thanks to advances in antenna design that might mitigate the connection drawbacks of aluminum… but why would Apple chance it when Antennagate is still fresh in everyone’s minds?
We’ll see, but for right now, my gut says Apple’s sticking with a glass back for the iPhone 4, and it’ll be a modest update more akin to an iPhone 4s than anything else.