It has long been rumored that with the iPhone 8, Apple would probably drop the all-metal design for a glass back, similar to the iPhone 4 and the latest Samsung flagship smartphone. It has also been dyed in the wool that the front and back glass will be held together with a metal frame in between, thus being called the ‘glass sandwich’ design. While all this is already known, it has still been concealed what the metal frame would be made of. However, now a report by DigiTimes suggests that Apple could possibly adopt stainless steel for the metal frame.
“The next-generation iPhone is expected to abandon its conventional aluminum back cover design and will adopt a new design using two reinforced glass panes and a metal frame in the middle. The metal bezel will be made of stainless steel using a forging process to enhance its sturdiness and reduce costs and manufacturing time,” the publication reported. Additionally, as for the component orders, they are expected to be shared between Foxconn Electronics and US-based Jabil. The report also suggests that the cost of the forging process is 30-50 percent cheaper than the current unibody CNC machine process, while quality control is also more stable.
While the glass design for iPhone 8 has been in speculation for a while now, nothing was even close to confirmed, because, well you can never tell anything for sure with Apple, until the company announces itself. However, with these reports coming in, the belief in the glass sandwich design is getting stronger. Just a few months ago, Ming-Chi Kuo, a reliable analyst from KGI Securities, had also hinted at the design change for the next year’s iPhone 8. According to the analyst, Apple the iPhone 8 could sport a glass front and back. Kuo’s prediction however was on the basis of the increasing popularity of the new iPhone 7 jet black model, which has a glossy finish but is also vulnerable to scratches. The analyst predicted Apple would want to further ride on the popularity of the jet black model, but tweak it slightly to make it lesser prone to scratches. ALSO READ: Apple could launch a 10-10.5-inch ‘high end’ iPad Pro model this year
The speculated glass rear for the iPhone 8 won’t be something new as Apple has already experimented with the design back in 2010 with its iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s. However, the company moved to an all-metal design after various third-party slip-on case users complained of the device developing cracks and not fitting well enough because of its glass back. From the iPhone 5 to this year’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, Apple has been following a metal body approach with only subtle tweaks.
Then, there have also been reports that this time, Apple will be dropping the LCD for an OLED display in iPhone 8, however that would go for only one of the three expected variants of the device. Late last year, a report by Bloomberg revealed that there are just a handful of suppliers that manufacture components like OLED displays, and because they are just a handful, they may not have enough production capacity to make screens for the new iPhones next year, with constraints potentially continuing into 2018. ALSO READ: Apple’s next iPhone rumored to feature vertical dual-camera setup
The constraint seems plausible considering, OLED screens are more difficult to produce as compared to what Apple phones have been featuring till now. Which in turn, puts Apple at the mercy of suppliers that are still working to manufacture the displays in mass quantities. The four largest producers are Samsung Display Co, LG Display Co, Sharp Corp, and Japan Display Inc. While Samsung is on track to be the sole supplier for the new displays for Apple next year, the South Korean company may also not be able to make enough due to low yield rates combined with increasing iPhone demand.
Kuo had also predicted that the 5.5-inch variant of the iPhone 8 will come with an OLED display and a dual-camera setup. He also said that there will be a 5.5-inch variant with LCD display with a dual camera setup. As for the 4.7-inch variant, presumably the lowest variant, it is said to come with an LCD display but without dual cameras. However, there is no mention of a 5-inch variant of the iPhone 8 by the analyst. ALSO READ: Apple to launch iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus in 2017, plus a variant codenamed ‘Ferrari’: Report