By Todd Bernhard on Tue, 07/22/2014
MacBook owners have (usually) appreciated the glowing Apple logo on the back of their MacBooks. It's a neat touch that shows Apple's attention to detail. Now iPhone owners might see something similar when they turn their phone around. The previously etched-in Apple logo on other metal iPhones may now be replaced by a plastic opening, according to the latest spy shots from Uswitch.com.
This design change leads to all kinds of speculation. For starters, it could allow for an illuminated logo. MacBook owners have (usually) appreciated the glowing Apple logo on the back of their MacBooks. It's a neat touch that shows Apple's attention to detail. Now iPhone owners might see something similar when they turn their phone around. However, that seems like a waste of precious battery life, and could be a giveaway that you're using your device when you shouldn't! But it could also be a way to notify users of incoming messages, calls, etc. Perhaps it could even change color based on the contact, like a Philips HUE light!?
Another potential use of the plastic opening would be for an antenna. Apple suffered some embarrassment during "AntennaGate" when the metal design of the iPhone 4 interfered with transmission, leading to poor cellular reception. By using the Apple logo as a route for wireless transmission, they can use an otherwise all metal case and not hurt networking performance. So which antennas could benefit from this? Cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or perhaps an all-new NFC (Near Field Communication) wireless radio allowing for payments by touch or proximity? Still, there are plastic separations in the latest spy shot, so the antennas could already be accounted for.
Whatever that logo is used for, it could throw a wrench in case makers' plans. If the logo is used for radio communication, the case must not interfere. Even if it's just for (a light) show, users will probably not want the glow covered up. OtterBox is one vendor that has often left an opening for the Apple logo. I expect more will follow suit if these leaked photos are accurate.