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What will the iPhone 5 be made of?

The iPhone 4 has had its share of design-related issues. First, the external stainless steel wraparound antenna caused reception hiccups that resulted in the famous "antennagate" Apple event.

Now that a much larger number of the phones are in the wild, there was a brief to-do about the relative likelihood of the iPhone 4's glass back scratching or breaking when the device is slipped into a slider case. Gdgt's Ryan Block later noted that Apple is preemptively working this issue from the engineering side, but that didn't stop the Macalope from chastising his eagerness to declare a new -gate scandal involving the phone's reliability.

What could Apple possibly do with future iPhones to prevent similar hardware issues -- widely prevalent or once-in-a-blue-mood as they may be -- from cropping up once the devices are out of the corral?

Blogger Raymond Wong at SyFy's Dvice site gave this question some thought in a post this morning, and he makes some suggestions about what materials the next and succeeding generations of iPhone might be made of. First, he thinks there could be a move back to plastic, since the material was used in the first three generations of iPhones, is transparent to cell phone signals, and is much more resilient to impacts.

Next, he thinks that aluminum is "off the table for good," considering that it is opaque to cell phone signals and can be scratched, but he thinks there is a good chance that the materials made by Liquidmetal Technologies could be used. They remain scratch-free much longer than aluminum or steel, and could be used in an external antenna like that on the iPhone 4.

Wong thinks that titanium and carbon fiber are also out of the question due to cost. Carbon fiber is extremely light, but can crack under shock, while titanium is strong and light, but tremendously expensive.

What do you think the next generation of iPhones will be made of? At TUAW, we're still waiting for the new models made from unicorn tears and rainbows, but we'd like to hear your ideas in the comments.



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iPhone

The iPhone 4 has had its share of design-related issues. First, the external stainless steel wraparound antenna caused reception hiccups...