Apple is reportedly planning to use a 'liquid metal' alloy for the back panel design on its next iPhone handset.
Korean news site etnews.com cited industry sources in reporting that the company was working with a new material for the casing on the handset.
Popularly referred to as "iPhone 5," the handset the Korean site reported that the device would be unveiled at Apple's World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) on 3 June.
The site claimed that the new design was part of an effort to keep pace with Samsung, who recently moved to a ceramic casing for its Galaxy S3.
"[The] iPhone5 is likely to take liquid metal, an alloy of zirconium, titanium, nickel, copper and so forth having an outer surface smooth like liquid," the site said in its report.
Previous reports have suggested that manufacturing partner Foxconn began initial manufacturing operations on the handset in January with a summer launch target.
A summer release, however, would mark a departure from the October release Apple went with last year for its iPhone 4S.
The handset is still a top-seller for Apple, amassing some 37 million units sold in Apple's last financial quarter.
Apple has found itself the target of much scrutiny for the way it manufactures the iPhone and other devices. Following a scathing report on employee practices and labour policies, Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn vowed to make a number of changes to the way it does business and handles its workers.
Another unfavourable report on the conditions at Foxconn's facilities was recently retracted after its author admitted to falsifying a number of details.