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Aluminum unibody iPhone 5, low-cost iPhone 4S seen propelling Apple's sales

post #1 of 66
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Apple is expected by one Wall Street analyst to announce a completely redesigned "iPhone 5," with a new unibody aluminum design, as well as a low-end "iPhone 4S," geared toward the midrange smartphone market, in the coming weeks.

The two anticipated new iPhone models are expected by analyst Chris Whitmore with Deutsche Bank to push Apple's smartphone sales even higher. He sees the so-called "iPhone 4S" as a handset with a bill-of-material cost lower than $150, allowing Apple to sell it for between $300 and $350 without a carrier subsidy.

Whitmore sees a low-cost iPhone giving Apple even greater market penetration into the midrange smartphone market, where he estimates there are about 1 billion prepaid customers. Such a move would "drastically expand" the addressable smartphone market for Apple, he believes.

The anticipated iPhone 4S is viewed as essentially an 8GB iPod touch with an added cellular antenna. Whitmore believes such a device could achieve margins of around 50 percent, if it were to be sold for more than $300. He noted the current 8GB iPod touch, which sells for $229, has margins of about 38 percent.

In his note to investors on Monday, Whitmore also made brief mention of Apple's fifth-generation iPhone, which he expects will be a completely redesigned handset. Specifically, he said he expects the device to have an aluminum unibody construction to replace the current glass back of the iPhone 4.

In addition, Whitmore also believes that the so-called "iPhone 5" will sport a better camera and a slightly larger screen size. Various rumors have suggested the next handset will have an 8-megapixel camera along with an edge-to-edge screen.

Claims that Apple's next iPhone will sport an aluminum back first surfaced in March, when it was said that ditching glass could allow the handset to be even lighter. It was claimed again in August that Apple's iPhone 5 will sport a "metal chassis" replacing the reinforced glass on the back of the iPhone 4.



Leading up to an anticipated iPhone announcement from Apple, a number of alleged parts have leaked from the company's overseas supply chain showing a handset largely similar to the iPhone 4. Some reports have claimed that these are for Apple's new low-cost iPhone 4S, while others have said the iPhone 5 will look largely the same as the current model.

Though no components showing a drastically redesigned iPhone 5 have appeared, a number of third-party cases have shown a redesigned iPhone with curved sides leading to a flat back. In addition, The New York Times has claimed that the iPhone 5 will sport a "fairly different" look on the outside.
post #2 of 66
This should be the first release of their exclusive contract with a certain CalTech Materials Science Firm.

Looks like LiquidMetal cleaned up their website.

http://www.liquidmetal.com/

Used to be quite a pile.
post #3 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

This should be the first release of their exclusive contract with a certain CalTech Materials Science Firm.

Looks like LiquidMetal cleaned up their website.

http://www.liquidmetal.com/

Used to be quite a pile.

I have been wondering when Apple would start using this. The arguments previously raged here on AI over the strength to weight ratios of a unibody aluminum design versus liquidmetal can start over
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post #4 of 66
Will all of the antennas have to be external with an aluminum unibody? 4 for wireless communication, and GPS too?
post #5 of 66
I will be happy if Apple does use a strong and lightweight metal body on the iPhone 5. I have been using my Samsung Focus since I sold my iPhone 3GS (my contract is up and I don't want an iPhone 4). At first I wasn't happy with the weight of the Focus, but after a few weeks of day-to-day usage (versus as a back up GoPhone) I really like the lighter weight. If Apple can come close to matching that weight, but with a metal enclosure I will be a happy camper. The iPhone 4 is nice to look at, but the sharp edges and extra weight are really a turn off. \
post #6 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

Will all of the antennas have to be external with an aluminum unibody? 4 for wireless communication, and GPS too?

I was just reading the FAQ on the Liquidmetal web site to see about that. It is non-magnetic and a poor conductor but I have not seen any information regarding its radio frequency blocking properties. Any physicists here to answer that? It is a Zr/Ti based alloy.
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post #7 of 66
It would be nice if the iPhone 5 were a re-imagined original iPhone with a design update. Pretty much a smaller iPad 2 with less tapered back edges.
post #8 of 66
I wonder if the iPad 2 cover technology will find its way to the iPhone 5??
post #9 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

Will all of the antennas have to be external with an aluminum unibody? 4 for wireless communication, and GPS too?

Hopefully, as the iPhone 4 proved this gives much better performance.
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post #10 of 66
I can't wait until these trash guessing articles on iphone 5 end.
post #11 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

This should be the first release of their exclusive contract with a certain CalTech Materials Science Firm.

Looks like LiquidMetal cleaned up their website.

http://www.liquidmetal.com/

Used to be quite a pile.

I sure hope so. The stock has stunk in the past couple of months......\
post #12 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

I wonder if the iPad 2 cover technology will find its way to the iPhone 5??

Excellent call!
post #13 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Whitmore sees a low-cost iPhone giving Apple even greater market penetration into the midrange smartphone market, where he estimates there are about 1 billion prepaid customers. Such a move would "drastically expand" the addressable smartphone market for Apple, he believes.

The anticipated iPhone 4S is viewed as essentially an 8GB iPod touch with an added cellular antenna. That's a device. Whitmore believes could achieve margins of around 50 percent, if such a device were to be sold for more than $300. He noted the current 8GB iPod touch, which sells for $229, has margins of about 38 percent.

More than $300? And defeat its purpose of being a cheap'n'good iPhone?

I'd say $250-$300 TOPS. Apple is going to be as agressive about this as they are with the iPad. And a 35% profit margin isn't exactly small.

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post #14 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I was just reading the FAQ on the Liquidmetal web site to see about that. It is non-magnetic and a poor conductor but I have not seen any information regarding its radio frequency blocking properties. Any physicists here to answer that? It is a Zr/Ti based alloy.

I do not know Liquidmetal's trade secrets. But I am reasonably certain their material falls in the category of bulk metallic glass (this makes sense to me because this company's technology came out of a Caltech lab that specializes in BMG). BMG typically has more than just Zr/Ti - copper, beryllium and nickel are usually present in meaningful percentage (at least 2 of the 3). The neat thing about BMG is that you can tweak its properties by varying the composition. Some BMG alloys have high resistivity; some have low. So, the exact properties of the material that Apple is allegedly using depend on the composition.
post #15 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskymac View Post

More than $300? And defeat its purpose of being a cheap'n'good iPhone?

I'd say $250-$300 TOPS. Apple is going to be as agressive about this as they are with the iPad. And a 35% profit margin isn't exactly small.

$300 off-contract for what basically would be the current iPhone 4 with 8GB capacity would be a steal if you ask me. Some of the crappiest plastic phones I know cost more than $300 off-contract.
post #16 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

I wonder if the iPad 2 cover technology will find its way to the iPhone 5??

Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Excellent call!

That would be a rather cute smart cover. In fact, they can call it that - the Cute Cover!
post #17 of 66
I wonder what Unibody means in the context of the iPhone?

For a laptop, it is quite meaningful. Look at the standard laptop and you see many panels screwed together. Sometimes, changing a basic component requires removing 25 screws. The Unibody design was therefore a significant step forward.

The standard smartphone, however, really has very few structural components. Surely, non-Apple manufacturers have covers for the battery and SIM, etc. But the parts count is quite low. In fact, I wonder if the original iPhone could already qualify as a unibody?
post #18 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I have been wondering when Apple would start using this. The arguments previously raged here on AI over the strength to weight ratios of a unibody aluminum design versus liquidmetal can start over

I suspect they coat the metal surface with liquid-metal, but I can't imagine how they do it. So, only a very clever design can do
post #19 of 66
I'm going to enjoy seeing those Android smartphone vendors trying to duplicate a unibody iPhone. Apple will be able to hold very tight tolerances around the circuitry and keep the body stiff and light. I often wonder how those larger Android smartphones are able to maintain their rigidity being made with nearly all plastic and having removable plastic backs to access the battery. I guess the internal circuit boards take some of the stress and offer twist resistance since they're screwed into place. Most likely the Android smartphone vendors won't try unibody because then they'd have a harder time replacing their batteries. Only the iPhone can get away with having a solid back.
post #20 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by jj.yuan View Post

I suspect they coat the metal surface with liquid-metal, but I can't imagine how they do it. So, only a very clever design can do

Not my area of expertise but I'd have thought if they use Liquidmetal they will more likely cast the entire casing using it not coat anything. The point is to achieve a unibody design without the need to machine it as they do now with an aluminum block.
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post #21 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

This should be the first release of their exclusive contract with a certain CalTech Materials Science Firm.

Looks like LiquidMetal cleaned up their website.

http://www.liquidmetal.com/

Used to be quite a pile.

What are you referring to exactly? a Liquid metal body for an iPhone would have very few advantages and quite a few drawbacks. Most notably the price would be astronomical and the chassis would be even less radio transparent than an aluminium one.

If they use liquid metal at all it will be in the battery contacts where it will actually do some good.
post #22 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

What are you referring to exactly? a Liquid metal body for an iPhone would have very few advantages and quite a few drawbacks. Most notably the price would be astronomical and the chassis would be even less radio transparent than an aluminium one.

If they use liquid metal at all it will be in the battery contacts where it will actually do some good.

As I said earlier in the thread, we will be back to the exact same discussion we have had here numerous times.
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post #23 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacInsider2 View Post

I can't wait until these trash guessing articles on iphone 5 end.

Me either... because then we can get straight on to trash guessing articles about iPad 3 and iPhone 6
post #24 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

If they use liquid metal at all it will be in the battery contacts where it will actually do some good.

Only if they want to add a resistive coating...

From the Liquidmetal website:

"We do not recommend our alloy for conductive applications."
post #25 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

This should be the first release of their exclusive contract with a certain CalTech Materials Science Firm.

Looks like LiquidMetal cleaned up their website.

http://www.liquidmetal.com/

Used to be quite a pile.


Could it be because of this:
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...uce_ipads.html

Now that iPads are being produced in Brazil, it would make sense for Chinese suppliers to see a drop in orders. Apple also recently started buying flash memory from Japan. Some of this, if there is any truth in the report, could be that APPL is simply diversifying it's supply chain.
post #26 of 66
Maybe the antennae will be Liquidmetal:

Since 2003 Liquidmetal has manufactured:
Over 10 million hinges for mobile phones and smart phones
Over 2 million antennas
Over 2 million cases
Over 1 million pounds of coatings materials
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post #27 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskymac View Post

More than $300? And defeat its purpose of being a cheap'n'good iPhone?

I'd say $250-$300 TOPS. Apple is going to be as agressive about this as they are with the iPad. And a 35% profit margin isn't exactly small.

Not really. The current iPhone 4 is $650 without a contract. For people like me who despise the 2-year rip-off cellphone contracts that Verizon/AT&T require for an iPhone, a $300-$400 iPhone that can be used on any provider (including pre-paid) is exactly what we've been waiting for.
post #28 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by willb2064 View Post

Not really. The current iPhone 4 is $650 without a contract. For people like me who despise the 2-year rip-off cellphone contracts that Verizon/AT&T require for an iPhone, a $300-$400 iPhone that can be used on any provider (including pre-paid) is exactly what we've been waiting for.

I wonder if Apple's contracts with ATT/VZN prohibit such products? But, maybe this limitation is being timed out? If so, let the games start!
post #29 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

What are you referring to exactly? a Liquid metal body for an iPhone would have very few advantages and quite a few drawbacks. Most notably the price would be astronomical and the chassis would be even less radio transparent than an aluminium one.

If they use liquid metal at all it will be in the battery contacts where it will actually do some good.

Whatever Apple eventually use it for assuming they ever do, just one point re your comments. I suspect cost isn't an issue. Apple can usually take a previously 'price would be astronomical' issue and make it work well for them through scale or superior engineering while leaving competitors stranded because of that high price.

If you want a clue folks listen to the last few seconds of this video around 10:40 minutes in. This is said by a team ember who knows Apple have a lock on this. : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-P7Dg...layer_embedded
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post #30 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Not my area of expertise but I'd have thought if they use Liquidmetal they will more likely cast the entire casing using it not coat anything. The point is to achieve a unibody design without the need to machine it as they do now with an aluminum block.

At their web site, they have a page on "Industrial Coating" -->http://www.liquidmetal.com/applicati...rial-coatings/

Because the title of this article said aluminum unibody, I thought I have to assume that the bulk of the body structure is in aluminum. But, aluminum surface wouldn't be tough enough to meet Apple's expectation for a cell phone. So, my next guess is to coat the surface. It's just a wild guess. I suppose we won't know until 10/4
post #31 of 66
I just can't figure out why there are so many dualing articles in the press about the iPhone this year. Some say a totally new 5. Some say major differences inside, but pretty much the same outside. Some say both, but with the similar model made less expensively.

What's going on here? We see new, bigger cases, and usually these new cases do reflect a new phone. But by this time before release, we'll see some parts that show the new model. We're seeing nothing this time. But, I don't remember seeing much of the 4's case before the unveiling, so...
post #32 of 66
My question w/an aluminum unibody design is, what happens if your iPhone takes an unplanned swim? Currently if your cell phone gets soaked you remove the battery and stick it in a bowl of rice for a couple of days or use a hair dryer or similar drying techniques. With the unibody design, will we still be able to get to the battery>
post #33 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post

My question w/an aluminum unibody design is, what happens if your iPhone takes an unplanned swim? Currently if your cell phone gets soaked you remove the battery and stick it in a bowl of rice for a couple of days or use a hair dryer or similar drying techniques. With the unibody design, will we still be able to get to the battery>

What the hell? You're joking, right? Since when have you been able to remove the battery from ANY iPhone? What a ridiculous post.
post #34 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by willb2064 View Post

Not really. The current iPhone 4 is $650 without a contract. For people like me who despise the 2-year rip-off cellphone contracts that Verizon/AT&T require for an iPhone, a $300-$400 iPhone that can be used on any provider (including pre-paid) is exactly what we've been waiting for.

Maybe, but Apple already sells the iPod Touch at $229, and it has 16GB, not 8GB from the rumors. The antenna can't be much expensive, and Apple doesn't need to profit more just because it has "iPhone" written on the back, although they can do that and get away with it pretty easily

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post #35 of 66
I hope I'm wrong but I just don't see apple giving us 4g, new design, larger screen, larger storage, better camera, and a faster processor. Looking at pasted events this is what I think apple will give us updated processor, camera and other smaller internals for both the touch and iPhone with two choices of colors white and black and that's it.
post #36 of 66
Just skimming the Wikipedia entry on "Liquidmetal" I can see at least two compelling advantages: faster production and better energy efficiency when recycling the material.

1. "The ability to be cast and molded, combined with high wear resistance, has also led to Liquidmetal being used as a replacement for plastics in some applications."

That would make it easier to create complex metal iPhone / iPad / MacBook enclosures without all that machining. And it's possible that the process could take less time too. Time is money in manufacturing, so that could lead to lower production costs.

2. "The alloys are also malleable at low temperatures (400 °C/752 °F for the earliest formulation), and can be molded."

This could mean that less energy is required to recycle Liquidmetal by melting it and re-shaping it. I'm no materials scientist, but aluminum alloys supposedly melt in the 620 - 650 °C / 1150 - 1200 °F range. That's much more heat than Liquidmetal alloys require.

Apple already has a recycling program for their products. It wouldn't be a stretch to enhance it to get a better recycle rate for devices that use Liquidmetal. Presumably the material is more expensive than aluminum alloy, so Apple would be motivated to reuse as much of it as possible.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquidmetal
http://www.matweb.com/search/datashe...=MA0001&ckck=1
http://www.apple.com/recycling/

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post #37 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by appleinthemountains View Post

I hope I'm wrong but I just don't see apple giving us 4g, new design, larger screen, larger storage, better camera, and a faster processor. Looking at pasted events this is what I think apple will give us updated processor, camera and other smaller internals for both the touch and iPhone with two choices of colors white and black and that's it.

Wow. That's a near-perfect "concern troll" post. Welcome to the forum.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interne...#Concern_troll

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post #38 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by appleinthemountains View Post

I hope I'm wrong but I just don't see apple giving us 4g, new design, larger screen, larger storage, better camera, and a faster processor. Looking at pasted events this is what I think apple will give us updated processor, camera and other smaller internals for both the touch and iPhone with two choices of colors white and black and that's it.

Your point being? Any time anyone has any idea about any collection of rumors, Apple doesn't deliver. It doesn't even need stated anymore; it has been the case since the turn of the century.
post #39 of 66
Hope you dont struck by lighting in the rain.

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post #40 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

What the hell? You're joking, right? Since when have you been able to remove the battery from ANY iPhone? What a ridiculous post.

http://www.rapidrepair.com/guides/ip...pairguide.html

My sister's iPhone 3G got dropped in the ocean, she took the back cover off so she could dry it out and her phone still works. So something like this is my question. Tone things ------

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