iPhone materal

The recent topic about the surface continuity made me think. The previous gen. iProducts were all using aluminum extrusions for the enclosures. The iPhone can’t be an extrusion. I was looking at photos and it seemed like a casting. Does anyone know what material it is and what finishing techniques may have been used?

Best thing to do is google an iphone disection, there are plenty. I’m pretty sure it’s MIM with anice satin finish.

I have nearly zero experience with aluminum. However, I’ve read and heard from suppliers that anodizing works best with extrusions. Is it just a question of quality control to get an equally good finish on MIM?

The bezal around the screen is pressed SUS, polished and chrome plated. There are a bunch of small clip detail on the inside which are laser welded on before finishing.

The main back cover is pressed aluminum, which is acid eteched then anodised. The fixing parts are bonded on with glue, as welding alloy will cause a surface belmish when anodised. You can see this in the image below:

If you look at the quality of the parts Apple produce (and talk to the suppliers) you will see that they post machine almost all partlines on the pressed parts to achieve the edge crispness and hold tighter tolerences.

The bezal on the touch is extruded sheet, which is then impact formed (similar to forging) then machined. If you look closely, you can see the mahcine marks form the high speed cutting which the acid etching had not been able to smooth out.

MIM and casting can be anodised, but look like crap.

Hope that helps!


me: you rock!

My first thought was some kind of pressed metal, but I thought that it would be too difficult to assemble. Gluing the other parts in is interesting.

Thanks a ton!

Me – I think you are wrong about the back being pressed. The detail and fit around the jack and Sim slot show an additional material thickness that isn’t going to happen if pressed.


I’m pretty sure both of those details are deep drawn then machined to create the sharp edge and square off the holes, but I could be wrong…

Remember that Apple have been using pressed and machined alloy for a few years now and have pushed the technology a long way… look at the new Air!