The first generation iPhone’s metallic underbelly was undeniably magnetic to objects like the sharpest ridges of house keys, and in that sense, the current iPhone’s backing is an improvement: the plastic just doesn’t pick up scratches like the metal iPhone backplate used to.
Still, there’s something ghetto about a plastic iPhone, isn’t there? It just doesn’t feel like an Apple product anymore unless it has been hewed out of a piece of aluminum. Martin Schrotz seems to have felt the same way, because he decided to ditch the plastic backplate of his cherished iPhone 3Gs and replace it with a custom titanium body he forged himself.
The process wasn’t without its pitfalls. “I had the original cover measured digitally, and I then started to draw the new cover in CAD. It’s made out of a special titanium alloy that is RF transparent. I had tried aluminum but that was a complete disaster.”
The Apple logo is a bit big for my taste, but otherwise, I’m jealous: my first-generation iPhone has always felt firmer and more substantial in my hand than my girlfriend’s second-gen iPod Touch, but barring Apple restoring the metal-backed option to their iPhone line, this is about the only way in town to marry the performance improvements of Apple’s later handsets with the heft of their first design.