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iPhone 5 coming autumn, wearing rubber

The next-gen iPhone is due a year on from the 4S, according to rumours, and will feature rubber. Yes, rubber.

If you're looking forward to the iPhone 5... you may be in for a bit of a wait, we're afraid. The latest rumour says it'll come in the autumn, a year on from the iPhone 4S, BGR reports. And it'll be wearing rubber.

Yes, you read that right. It'll use rubber or plastic, according to BGR's sources, similar to that used in the bumper cases Apple gave away following the iPhone 4's antenna debacle. So what's it there for?

The rubber or plastic will most likely be used as a bezel surrounding the front edge of the phone. It'll join the glass screen with a new aluminium back plate. It'll also cover a redesigned antenna that'll surround the handset, allowing Apple to use an aluminium back without needing a large plastic insert above the antennae, as it does on the iPad 2.

Presumably the rubber or plastic would also help protect the device, acting as a cushion if dropped on a hard surface.

Like all Apple rumours, we'll naturally take this with a pinch of salt. But it would make sense: the iPad 2 features an aluminium back, so why not standardise across the range? And rumours of an aluminium back surfaced as long ago as March. The iPhone could do with some better protection too: we've heard stories of the screen shattering from being dropped on surfaces as innocuous as grass.

Other rumours reckon the handset will have a bigger screen that'll be made of curved glass. Check our full round-up of rumours right here -- but if you're sick of waiting, you could just make your own.

What do you want from the next iPhone? Let us know in the comments below, or over on Facebook.