Metal-backed iPhone 5 rumor rides again

That old metal-backed iPhone rumor just won't die, apparently. A new report says Apple is planning to bring more metal and a new case construction to its next iPhone.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read
A third-party metal backing for the iPhone 4/4S.
A third-party metal backing for the iPhone 4/4S. Unpluggd

Stop me if you've heard this one before: A new rumor says the next iPhone is getting a big dose of metal on its backside.

Citing "a close source," Boy Genius Report today posted a smattering of features bound for Apple's next big iPhone, which it says is due next Fall.

On top of that list is an entirely new physical construction that's a mix of aluminum on the back and a "rubber or plastic material" along the sides that will bridge the front and back of the device.

The rubber material, which BGR likens in feeling to Apple's first-party iPhone bumper cases, lets the outside band continue to serve as an antenna, as opposed to Apple having to place a plastic strip on the back of the phone as it does with the wireless antennas on the iPad and iPod Touch.

This, of course, isn't the first mention of Apple considering a metal back for a future iPhone. Citing an anonymous source from Foxconn, a 9to5Mac report in March said Apple was cooking up a model with a flat metal back. Later, in August, while saying that the next iPhone would sport a "smaller than 4-inch panel," DigiTimes also claimed the back of the device would "be changed to a metal chassis instead of reinforced glass."

What ended up happening in October was the unveiling of the iPhone 4S, a device that featured a number of hardware and software improvements but was otherwise indistinguishable from its predecessor--including its back made of glass.

iPhone 4 and 4S owners interested in getting a metal back for their phones have had such an option from third-party case manufacturers since last year. Though that option will void your warranty--as will numerous other unauthorized modifications that require cracking open the device.