As we get closer to September 9th, the rumored launch date for the next iPhone, more parts and photos are leaking out. The latest, from Sonny Dickson, shows a scratched up back casing. There's a lot to learn from these photos, assuming they're real, of course. But they do jibe with previous leaks and Sonny has a good record.
As noted by my colleague, Jim Karpen, we can expect a protruding lens. This is likely due to the thinner case of the next iPhone, and the goal of improving the optics. This will force add-on accessory vendors like OlloClip to redesign their gadgets but they probably would have had to anyway, given the thinner phone. The protruding lens will make it trickier for slider cases as opposed to snap-in cases. Apple, especially under Steve Jobs, was never a fan of cases, but in particular, the slider cases can trap particles and cause scratches when sliding on or off.
Speaking of scratches, this leaked part is pretty beat up, but of course it may have been put through the ringer. The Apple logo is clearly a cutout, which we've written about before. This could allow for a plastic opening, to enable radio transmission, for WiFi, Bluetooth, or perhaps Near Field Communication. In this photo, the metal was pinched and bent in a couple of spots, showing this could be a weak link.
Another potential weak spot is the plastic around the border. Plastic was required to separate the metal antennas in previous iPhones, and they appear to play an important role in the next iPhone. Let's hope that the shipping version is a bit more robust, and that the updates to the camera lens and Apple logo offer new features instead of just cosmetic changes!