iPhone 5 bumper not needed with fortification

By Alan Ng - Sep 15, 2012

When Apple announced their shiny new iPhone 5 smartphone a few days ago, you may have noticed one major feature missing that went under the radar during the event. Apple are quietly killing off the iPhone 5 bumpers, but on closer inspection you may actually not need one anyway.

As most of you are well aware, Apple provided bumper cases for the iPhone 4 and 4S after the antennagate scandal occurred which resulted in a loss of calling signal due to the way in which the user held the phone – more commonly referred to as the deathgrip.

We’ve seen a lot of questions raised as to why Apple did not announce any official bumpers for the iPhone 5 and why there isn’t any available for purchase on the Apple Store. The fact is, is that Apple has built the iPhone 5 in a way that there isn’t much need for one anymore – due to two underlying factors.

The first is that there is now two antennas located on the back of the iPhone 5 – one at the top and one at the bottom. Due to the increased size of the device vertically, Apple has now eliminated any chance of the deathgrip issue reoccurring as users will not be able to cover both antennas at the same time while making a call.

[example of unibody design, note NFC isn’t included with final device]

The other area that the original bumpers covered was obviously protection, but Apple has once again covered this issue by using a wider area of metal banding around the device, unlike the iPhone 4 and 4S which had its plastic edges exposed and as a result – became more prone to smashing the glass if dropped.

You may not be aware of it, but Apple is actually using Gorilla Glass 2 as well on the iPhone 5, decreasing the odds of you smashing the front glass even more. The back has a aluminum unibody as well don’t forget, so really the only danger area that consumers need to worry about is the front.

Having said that, we’re still likely to get the infamous iPhone 5 drop test videos come up, which will probably result in worldwide attention as the glass is shattered during a heavy drop. Apple is confident however that their new device is built in a way that not only are bumpers not needed, but no case at all either.

What are your thoughts on this – are you surprised that Apple are not making iPhone 5 bumpers available any more? Will you still buy a third-party case anyway, just for that added bit of protection or will you go naked style for as long as possible?

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  • To those who don’t have insurance on their phone definitely needs a bumper. The price of this phone and no bumper. No bueno

  • Sean Raidley

    Ill still buy a 3rd party bumper if apple doesn’t make one. i think they’re perfect minimalist protection, and i dont want my iphone scratched if i drop it. I do hope they make one though…optimism!

  • Leo

    The reason I’ve always used a case is not so much for the crack protection on a drop, but to protect the screen from scratches (which happen way too easily for a glass panel that’s supposed to be this hard, btw) if the phone is laid screen down. The cases elevate the phone, so the screen doesn’t touch the surface it’s laid upon. I know, I know. It would be easier to not lay the phone with the screen down. But one, I don’t want to have to always be so attentive, and two, sometimes I need the notifications to not distract me during meetings, etc. So, I’ll still be getting a case. Apple just won’t be getting the profits over it.

  • Elliott

    carrying a phone worth this much NEEDS some form of protection in my eyes, i would just die if my iphone 5 gets scratched or something!

  • Mux

    I will miss the secure grip I have on my iPhone 4 with the bumper. The “rubbery” edges of the bumper eliminate the slippery feel of the metal, especially with cold and/or arthritic hands.