If they'd stayed with stainless steel...


macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 3, 2009
So, I'm still waiting on my phone but after hearing the aluminum complaints of bending, scratches, gouges, and even some people saying that the iPhone 5 "feels a bit too light", and playing with the 5's at the apple store, I keep looking at the steel on my 4 and really liking it. We will see what they do in the future but I find myself wondering what kind of phone we'd have if they stuck with the stainless steel but went with the new design? With the thinner body would it really be so heavy? What would it weigh? Would there be a big issue with signals getting through if they stayed with Steel? Would it look ok? Was this even possible to do machining-wise? Any science or design minded folk have thoughts?


macrumors G5
Nov 7, 2007
New Sanfrakota
It's because of the unibody construction.

I don't agree it's too light. Hold it at one end and wave it in the air and you'll find it's still "weighty." If they made it any shorter, then yes, they'd have to add more weight to it to feel right.

My iPhone 5 is still flawless to this day so it's holding up quite well to scratches under normal use. We'll see how it fares in several months.


macrumors 65816
Aug 24, 2011
The CNC tooling and machining for stainless steel is much more difficult than aluminum. Apple would have to use a stamped or forged back, which would eliminate the integrated mounts. Anodizing is also much more difficult and powder coating would likely be the solution. Realistically Apple would have to move a carbon fiber back with integrated mounts to improve the strength at the same weight. Magnesium such as camera bodies would also work well, but is much more brittle than aluminum.
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.