Rumblings from Chinese component manufacturers have it that the iPhone 5 will drop the fancy glass back of the previous incarnation in favour of an old-school aluminium version according to the Chinese language Economic Daily News.
Much of the content of the report could be subject to the usual Chinese whispers, or lost in translation, but the general thrust of the piece seems to be that Apple will drop the beautiful but scratchtastic slab of fingerprint-attracting toughened glass in favour of a brushed metal bottom much the same as current iPod Touches, the original iPhone and, indeed, the latest iteration of the iPad.
Apart from the problem with scratched and cracked panels, the report also suggests that the move is partly to enable the various antennas involved to once again become internal components, nestling behind a glowing, Apple-shaped resin window in the iPhone's rear, much like its laptop offerings.
Much was made of the iPhone 4's external stainless steel antennas and their apparent inability to hold decent signal if gripped in the wrong way.
Switching back to an aluminium back case could also make a white iPhone 5 possible as it's thought that Apple can't make the white glass panels on the iPhone 4 opaque enough to stop the on-board flash bleeding light into the rear-facing camera's innards.
The report also says that the iPhone 5 will use the new A5 dual core ARM chip soon to be seen in an iPad 2 near you, but we all knew that already.