Rubber, Aluminum Join the iPhone 5 Rumor Mill

A new source is claiming that, in addition to a 4″ screen, the iPhone 5 will also feature a remarkably different form factor, complete with an aluminum back and built in rubber bumper.

Little has been said about the form factor of the iPhone 5 lately, with the exception of the addition of a 4″ screen. But today, a new story indicates that Apple might incorporate some new materials into the form factor of the iPhone 5 that would give it a dramatically different look — and feel.

According to InRumor, the ever-rumoring BGR says that the iPhone 5 will feature both rubber and aluminum in its new form factor: “BGR claims that sources close to Apple are saying that the next-generation iPhone will ‘use a rubber or plastic material — similar to the material used in the company’s bumper cases — that will be built into the new iPhone case.’ In addition, the rear panel is said to be made from aluminum. The site speculates that the new materials will help join the front glass and the aluminum back.”

The aluminum backing rumor for the iPhone 5 is nothing new, and we here at the Blog have reported on it for quite some time now. We wrote about it back on September 16th, based on a report from 9to5Mac of Apple discontinuing the iPhone 4′s bumper. Also, Apple has made heavy investments in metal alloy technologies, such as LiquidMetal. It stands to reason that they will eventually begin to utilize aluminum, LiquidMetal, and other alloys for their mobile devices.

For the built-in rubber bumper, however — that’s a bit harder to swallow.

It is hard to imagine that Apple would build a rubberized bumper into the form factor of the iPhone 5, considering that it would be both an admission of a continued design flaw of the iPhone’s antenna, and also a poor solution to the problem, since any rubberized component would break down very quickly if not covered by an iPhone case. And if the user does have the iPhone covered with a case, then the bumper would become redundant anyway.

Strangely, this isn’t the first time this crazy rumor has surfaced, either.

I wrote an article about it back on August 7th . . . 2010! My opinion piece was based on rumors spinning out of the early iPhone 5 rumor mill, which was being influenced by “antennagate.” It made little sense then, and it makes little sense now.

It remains to be seen how and where BGR gets its rumor fodder. Do they simply mine the old iPhone 5 rumors from two years ago and reconstitute them into new rumors? Perhaps — perhaps not. But it does prove one thing: just as history tends to repeat itself, so too does the iPhone rumor mill.

If you’ve been away from the iPhone 5 rumors lately, you haven’t missed much. As usual, we know nothing, and we will know nothing up until the day that Apple wants us to know something. But based on our own source, as well as some of the more credible tech analysts out there, I believe that the iPhone 5 will be 1) called the “iPhone 5 2) Have a 4″ screen and 3) Be announced and/or released in June 2012, along with the A6 processor, iOS 6, and LTE.


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