Complete Redesign for iPhone 5?

Beyond engineers getting drunk in trendy NorCal brewhauses, there appears to be one gaping hole in Apple’s previously locked down and absolute security surrounding new product launches, the China/Taiwan/Vietnam supply chain for ramping up production (including the ramping up of production of replacement repair parts) of the products themselves and the production of accessories (mainly cases) based on data acquired from supply chain.

The most recent iPad 2 launch surprise was eliminated with a host of plastic cases showing up at CES and then photos of additional case designs appearing online for a good month beyond that. Now, Taiwanese/Chinese websites have been leaking details of the alleged iPhone 5.

Other product launches leaked by this supply chain would have been the iPhone 4 (if it hadn’t been left in a bar) and the recent iPad Nano redesign. With Apple needing millions of devices ready at launch, there maybe no way for Apple to stop this flood of data leaking out. Apple can no longer announce a product, demo prototypes, and then start final production for availability  5 weeks later. Apple needs to announce and ship, reducing time for competitors to respond and ship in volume to take advantage of the PR buildup creating a captive large buying audience. It’s the difference between selling 6 million Macs a year versus 15 million Macs/30 million iPhones/20 million iPod Touchs/16 million iPads.

Now one of the sites that apparently that leaked accurate data on the iPad 2 back in December is now leaking data on the alleged iPhone 5.

About a month ago, 9to5Mac linked to a photo of the alleged front bezel of the new bigger screened iPhone 5, the photo’s validity is definitely in doubt, but it lead to a great looking mockup of a bigger iPhone which really highlights how dramatic a difference a bigger screen could make for Apple’s flagship device.

Now that mockup is based on the iPhone4 design being retained but simply modified for the larger screen size. Now we have a new rumor generated from Taiwan indicating a complete redesign of the iPhone for the 5th generation.  Here’s the other great looking mockup.

So the first thing that leaps out is that while some folks will comment about how it resembles the original iPhone or the current iPod Touch, it also strongly resembles the new iPad 2. In addition, the mock seems to be using the same 3.5 inch screen dimensions of the original not the bigger screen of the other rumors.

The redesign is based on a level of dissatisfaction with the glass back of the iPhone 4. The back is too easy to crack, scratch and adds considerable weight to the device. Apple instead wants to bring back the aluminum back of the original iPhone (which was dumped for the iPhone 3g due to cost and antenna issues back in 2008) with the antenna using the Apple logo to transmits WiFi and cellular signals.

Mockups experts please get to work to  give us a best of both worlds image (new aluminum back and the bigger screen)

So does MoD buy this whole redesign effort? Initial reaction is no. The iPhone 4 design was going to be used for the next 2 years like the 3g to 3Gs model. However, if Apple has decided to go with a bigger screen version of the iPhone, then a redesign makes some sense. Changes would already have to be made to incorporate the screen changes, so it makes some sense for Apple to reflect back on their designs of iPhone and pull the best elements out of each design.

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