If we are to believe the latest iPhone rumours, the next generation of the smartphone will move away from the gorilla glass that gave the iPhone 4 series it’s distinctive look and feel in favour of a futuristic type of metal, dubbed ‘metallic glass’.
The antenna issue that came along with the iPhone 4 pretty much required every user to purchase a case for their phone that had the additional benefit of protecting the rear of the device from drops and shocks.
Those few that didn’t bother with a case may have found that the glass wasn’t quite as resistant to shattering as we were led to believe, so Apple may have needed to find a solution that still maintains the sleekness of a glass look, but with more resistance to damage – hence liquidmetal.
Apple have held an exclusive commercial license to Liquidmetal in late 2010. The technology, which Apple has used only for the SIM ejector tool it includes with some iPhone and iPad models, is billed as a metallic glass.
A move back to a metal back for the iPhone 5 would please original iPhone owners as metal was used in the first three generations and let us throw the phone around a bit, without risk of breakage.
According to the Liquidmetal documentation, it offers more strength, elasticity, and hardness than aluminum and titanium alloys, as well as stainless steel.
If Apple go down this route, they won’t be the only smartphone makers moving away from glass an plastics, as Samsung are supposedly going to use ceramics in their new handsets.