Whether or not this “unibody” iPhone is the next iPhone or not doesn’t really matter when you dive into the design factors associated with such an iPhone the way that Don Lehman did for The Tech Block.
Thinness is a major feature of this design. Take a look at your iPhone 4/4S from the side. Now imagine that the new design is only as thick as the metal band. That’s a big deal. From my estimates, that would make this design anywhere from 2-3mm thinner than the iPhone 4S. That sounds small, but it’s a huge difference. That’s as much as 32 percent thinner. As a point of comparison, the Retina MacBook Pro is only 25 percent thinner than the old MacBook Pro.
If we accept the fact that the new iPhone is going to be taller — whether or not that changes the physical height of the device — I think it will be doubly important for Apple to further reduce the thickness of the iPhone. Currently the 4S is a great phone, but it will always be too thick in your pocket.
You may disagree, you may think the iPhone fits nicely in your pocket, but that’s only because you are used to it. I don’t want any new features in an iPhone, except for it to be thinner.
That said, with a thinner phone you need to make the structure more solid — otherwise you have the potential for the device to snap in half when a user bends his leg with the phone in their pocket. That is what interests me so very much about this design.
This rumored design is 32% thinner as Lehman points out and much stronger than the current iPhone — that sounds like a win to me.