Real World Photos: Inside + Outside iPhone 3G’s New Shell | iLounge Article

Article

Real World Photos: Inside + Outside iPhone 3G’s New Shell

Author's pic

By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Articles Categories: Reports

Over the past month or two, you’ve probably seen dozens of faked iPhone 3G images, but overseas, the true size, shape and dimensions of the device have been known with a far greater degree of certainty. Consequently, you’ll note that of the many recent images that purported to be of the iPhone 3G, the only details we published were ones that proved accurate: the tapering, the new holes on the bottom, the colors, and so on.

Now that the iPhone 3G has been officially unveiled, we’ve been seeing more pictures and hearing further details about the rear casing from developers who have spent hours with it, and the verdict is this: get ready to invest in protective film and/or a case. Unlike the original iPhone, which has proved much more resilient to the sorts of scratches and scuffs that plague iPods, the iPhone 3G’s shell is indeed just glossy plastic with a thin layer of clear coating. It’s not ceramic, as some might have guessed, and not covered in a magic material that won’t scuff: as a result, you can expect to see marks similar to the ones on first-generation iPod nanos and fifth-generation iPods, all over again. The black version, as shown here, picks up fingerprints and smudges at an impressive rate; we wish we’d been able to take some pictures without the smudges. Ironically, the white plastic color that Apple discontinued for iPods may wind up being the most attractive color for new iPhones, especially after spending a few days in a pocket or purse.

What about old iPhone-specific cases and Apple’s prior iPhone Docks? Don’t expect them to work. The new iPhone’s dimensions have changed enough, particularly in width, that you won’t be able to use most old iPhone-only products with iPhone 3G. Overseas manufacturers have been quietly working on iPhone 3G cases for nearly two months at this point, and though the first fruits of that labor won’t blow anyone away, we expect the second round of iPhone 3G cases to be much, much more interesting.

Some current iPod- and iPhone-agnostic case and electronic accessories will work fine with the new model. Now that the iPhone 3G’s width has shifted to 2.4 inches, the same as the iPod touch, you may find that armbands and other products designed to fit both the old iPhone and iPod touch will work with iPhone 3G. Universal Docks, including the ones found in many third-party iPhone accessories, will continue to work, assuming you insert Apple or third-party dock adapters, and in-car accessories—except mounts—developed for the iPhone will most likely work with the iPhone 3G as well.

Finally, there’s the subject of that red iPhone 3G color that was noted on our prior image with a question mark. From what we’ve heard, red shells are apparently already being tested, possibly for a late 2008 or early 2009 rollout as the first Product (RED) iPhone. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.

« Multi-Editorial: What Do We Think of iPhone 3G?

Problems transferring music from iPod to Mac »

Related Stories

Comments

1

Guess the white casing it shall be then! 

A friend brought over his black Macbook after a couple months of use…I decided to buy the white version because of all the smudges and scratches.  At least with the white one, it’s less noticeable.

Posted by Adam on June 10, 2008 at 10:46 AM (PDT)

2

Just put an invisible shield on the back.  it will still make the back shiny, but scratch proof…

Posted by John on June 10, 2008 at 12:44 PM (PDT)

3

Why does Apple insist on regressing? The back on the iPhone was perfect. It didn’t scratch and was very attractive. The only thing I think of is completely insidious. It’s that Apple is trying to protect against the reselling of its products on the used market. Which is a completely disgusting yet entirely plausible hypothesis.

Posted by Justin S. on June 10, 2008 at 3:06 PM (PDT)

4

The use of plastic is for GPS functionality, GPS and metal doesn’t like each other. Me, I prefer GPS than a metal back. And you?

Posted by lvidal on June 10, 2008 at 3:38 PM (PDT)

5

Is the front face the same as the old one? Wondering if the original Power Support crystal film will fit…

Posted by Mike on June 10, 2008 at 4:16 PM (PDT)

6

Totally related to all the antennae in it. I think it’s also cost-cutting: cheaper material, one-piece design that requires less manufacturing and assembly

Posted by Japester on June 10, 2008 at 4:17 PM (PDT)

7

The aluminum on the 1st gen. phone back is no prize in terms of durability. The metal is soft and scratches easily and the corners easily get dented by even small impacts. I say bring on the plastic.

Posted by krimpet on June 10, 2008 at 4:54 PM (PDT)

8

is it just me or is there no camera circle in the first picture

Posted by matt on June 10, 2008 at 7:18 PM (PDT)

9

hey matt, i think the camera is the “o” in the ilounge.c"o"m ahahahhaha

Posted by Aaron Ingo on June 10, 2008 at 10:01 PM (PDT)

10

Is the grip any better than the original iPhone?  It tended to slip out of my hands, a little slippery.

Posted by Jamie on June 11, 2008 at 6:08 AM (PDT)

11

krimpet I’ve had my 1st gen iPhone for 4 months and I don’t treat it super great.  And the back still looks brand new, so I’m wondering how terribly you treat your stuff.

Posted by Chad S on June 11, 2008 at 7:42 AM (PDT)

12

I’m wondering if the Power Support and Martin Fields screen films will fit this too.

Want to get one of them on the front and an Invisible Shield on the back and hope for the best! :-s

Posted by nomad on June 11, 2008 at 7:55 AM (PDT)

13

the reason its plastic is to subsidize costs. Being that Blackberry is dominating the market right now, for them to stand a chance they cut costs. i personally think it will sell either way (expensive or not)... i see where they’re going w it, but i prefer to have a phone that i can hold and get a good feel for. Plastic makes it like everything else… oh well

Posted by blah on June 11, 2008 at 8:11 AM (PDT)

14

not only does the material cut cost, but I’ve also learned that it is a more sustainable material.  Looks like Apple is actually working towards “greening” itself.

Posted by CheekyLad on June 11, 2008 at 8:54 AM (PDT)

15

I want the camera lens on the face of the phone… VTC or Video Skype anyone???

Posted by SamEureka on June 11, 2008 at 9:26 AM (PDT)

16

Hopefully more cases are produced before then. I may have to get the white iphone and Seidio will make a black case.

Posted by Mark on June 11, 2008 at 9:30 AM (PDT)

17

Why not have to cameras, a small one on the the front, for video, etc and a larger on on the back. Like the Nokia N95 series. Any news on the what the pixels of the camera will be anyway?? The current 2MB is pretty lame compared to others out there now.

Posted by KPTheProf on June 11, 2008 at 10:11 AM (PDT)

18

Apple is too concerned with museum beauty at the expense of everyday durability. How many other phones (desk, cordless, mobile) use gloss plastics? That’s right, NONE. A quick acid wash of the tooling produces a quality matte finish that is both more attractive and longer lasting.

Idiots.

Posted by Bill on June 11, 2008 at 1:05 PM (PDT)

19

Not too rain on everyone’s the iPhone is teh sux parade but they may well have used a plastic back to get better reception for all the radios. I love my Mac Book Pro but the old iBook G4 I had could run circles around it for WiFi reception. I could walk into a room and find 10 different networks whereas my MBP gets two or three at best.

Just sayin’.

Posted by Matt on June 11, 2008 at 6:17 PM (PDT)

20

Sorry guys. I’ll try to read a few more posts next time.

Posted by Matt on June 11, 2008 at 6:19 PM (PDT)

21

Apple is doing now what Palm has beendoing the last six years: small modifications, cosmetic changes. The problem is that Apple thinks they have the best product, but look around you, 2 mp camera? Google maps online navigation? Still no mms on board? 30% of 3rd party apps? C’mon fanboys! And you still think microsoft is the devil? Do you know what critycal analysis is?

Posted by oldnewpalm on June 11, 2008 at 6:42 PM (PDT)

22

I have the Contour Showcase case for the original iPhone. Can someone tell me if this case will fit the 3G iPhone. Please advise.

Posted by Daniel on June 12, 2008 at 12:52 AM (PDT)

23

i think i will wait for the nokia n96 - until apple starts putting together decent hardware specs (2mp camera ?!?!), then this phone will always be thumbs down.

Posted by rp on June 12, 2008 at 2:08 AM (PDT)

24

Oh, and don’t forget there’s still no LED indicator for new messages. This is a huge omission for enterprise users who have had this feature on every smartphone they’ve ever used. Who wants to turn on the phone just to see if you have new email. That’s tough to do from across the room.

Posted by Bill on June 12, 2008 at 6:40 AM (PDT)

25

@ Daniel

No, it will likely not fit into your contour showcase since the design has changed. Expect Contour to announce new cases shortly now that the new iPhone has been (or is soon to be) released.

Posted by CD on June 13, 2008 at 9:35 AM (PDT)

26

Chad, no thanks for the pot-shot.

As for your lovely aluminum surface, talk to me in eight months.

Posted by Krimpet on June 14, 2008 at 5:22 AM (PDT)

27

Bill, who wouldn’t want to turn on the iPhone in public at anytime, no need for a LED, the thing it’s just beautiful, I just turn it on for no reason at all, just to look how beautiful the darn thing is.

Posted by OSMAC on June 14, 2008 at 11:56 AM (PDT)

28

dude, the first picture to me doesn’t seem real to me because there’s no camera and no writing stuff on the bottom.

but i do like the new shell. i have a problum w/ scrapes on my phones so id get a screen protector for the back and front.

Posted by anthony______ on June 14, 2008 at 6:03 PM (PDT)

29

I’m not going to complain about what Apple did or didn’t do with iPhone 3G.  I still have five months under contract with Verizon, and there’s a chance that Apple will address some of these issues by September 2008 with an iPhone update. 

I would have personally liked an iPhone with more memory (32GB), better camera (5 mega-pixel), and video capabilities (recording & video chat). These items aren’t there yet…but I was looking at some Internet surveys (old ones from before the 3G release), and the most desired upgrades t to the iPhone were 3G service, GPS, and Enterprise solutions.  The other items which I would like to see (and which many of you have mentioned) were MUCH lower on the wish lists.  So, my thoughts…Apple listened.  And Apple prioritized.  That’s what successful companies do.

So, keep expressing your desire to see these other options in the iPhone 3G update, or in the iPhone 3.0 next summer.  Apple WILL get to them…they’ve proved that they listen and that they put out a product that people want.

As for the complaints about the plastic backs…has anyone asked Apple about the change?  And furthermore, has anyone obtained a unit to see how they truly function, before assuming that it will be an automatic scratch-fest?

Posted by Doctor on June 14, 2008 at 8:09 PM (PDT)

30

Bill, you have a good point there, matey. Good idea.

As for better camera etc: nobody buys a phone for the camera. I almost would like Apple to have left out the camera altogether. You want a camera? Buy an attachment which allows some decent image quality.

Apple only put the camera there simply so nobody would cry about not having one.

Just IMHO.

Posted by Pikemann_Urge on June 14, 2008 at 11:36 PM (PDT)

31

“not only does the material cut cost, but I’ve also learned that it is a more sustainable material.  Looks like Apple is actually working towards “greening” itself.”

Hmm. Not too sure about that. Plastic is produced from petroleum products, which as we know, is a limited resource. Aluminum, however is: “

“the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust, and the third most abundant element therein, after oxygen and silicon. It makes up about 8% by weight of the Earth’s solid surface…” according to Wikipedia.

So, I’d be interested to see your source. If your argument is that aluminum is more energy-intensive to produce than plastics, I counter that energy consumption in production does not necessarily equal “less sustainable” - it depends on where the energy is derived.

Posted by cyanmauve on June 15, 2008 at 7:12 AM (PDT)

If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods/iPhones/iPad or accessories, or if you sell or market iPod/iPhone/iPad products or services, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators.

Commenting is not available in this section entry.

Email:

Recent News

Recent Reviews

Recent Articles

Shop for Accessories: Cases, speakers, chargers, etc.