Apple has a reputation of not only generating a cult-like following for their products, but also innovating and being the leader in sleek, simple and elegant designs. However, most would argue that the leaked two-toned back panel simply isn’t up to par with Apple’s self-established superior standards. But what if it serves a purpose beyond appealing to the public’s eye and possesses a function beyond esthetics?
In a recent report, Don Lehman from The TechBlock took a closer look at, and analyzed, the leaked next-generation iPhone casing. His theory is that Apple has taken their renowned unibody technology – first seen in their laptops and later in the iPad – and applied a similar concept to the new iPhone.
The leaked design has three pieces of metal instead of four. It still has two U-shaped pieces at the top and bottom, but this time the two flat sides become one single piece of metal that also comprises the back of the device. That single piece of metal is the unibody backplate.
The same properties that unibody designs give to Apple’s laptops apply to this design as well: stronger, lighter, and thinner.
While first assessing the design, Lehman notes that it’s crucial to take into account the evolution of the iPhone’s antennas from the original GSM iPhone 4 to the CDMA model iPhone 4, which has since carried over and incorporated in the iPhone 4S. Relocating the antennas out of the general grip area and moving them to the top and bottom of the iPhone solved what most referred to as “Antennagate” (a issue that plagued the GSM model iPhone 4, causing connectivity disturbance and reception loss when held improperly). The awkward two-tone back could serve a similar functionality.
Suggesting that the next-generation iPhone will sport a unique unibody design for increased rigidity and an overall thinner and lighter profile, Lehman speculates that the change in material is related to the antennas. Aligning perfectly with the upper and lower metal antenna breaks, as seen on the CDMA iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S, are two pieces of what appear to be either glass or plastic.
While the majority of the back panel appears to be metal for the unibody design, the upper and lower glass or plastic pieces are thought to serve as “windows” of sorts for the antennas. This two-tone designed would greatly increase the effectiveness of the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, cellular and possibly even NFC (near field communication) signals.
Despite that Lehman’s theory makes perfect sense, would Apple really compromise the aesthetic appeal of the iPhone for functionality? If this is indeed the finalized design for the sixth-generation iPhone, it’s possible that the majority of leaks have been pre-production units and that Apple will better disguise the difference in materials prior to the device’s launch? Whatever the case may be, stay tuned for complete coverage on Apple and their upcoming iPhone refresh.