Apple expected to ditch aluminum, release glass-backed iPhone with OLED display in 2017

Posted:
in iPhone edited June 2020
Apple reportedly plans to shake up the materials used for the iPhone in 2017, abandoning the aluminum casing it has used for years and returning to the glass chassis championed with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s.
iPhone 4
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities issued a note to investors on Sunday, a copy of which was obtained by AppleInsider, revealing that Apple is apparently planning to differentiate the iPhone from competitors with a new design. Specifically, he said many of Apple's competitors now sell smartphones with aluminum casings, and he expects next year's iPhone to adopt a glass back to stand out from the competition. In addition, Apple is also expected to adopt an AMOLED display for the 2017 iPhone. Apple already uses OLED technology in the wearable Apple Watch, but its iPhone lineup has relied on LCD technology since it first launched in 2007. According to Kuo, although glass is slightly heavier than aluminum for a smartphone casing, the adoption of an AMOLED display will compensate for the added weight. Kuo said that while 100 percent of iPhones are currently made with aluminum bodies, he expects that number will fall to 40 percent or less following the launch of the 2017 iPhone. Though Apple has stuck to a "tick-tock" strategy with the iPhone for years, redesigning its handset every two years and then refining it with an "s" upgrade, all signs point to Apple introducing a new iPhone design this year and again next year. Apple's "iPhone 7" is expected to be introduced this September.
For those worried about a glass-backed iPhone failing drop tests, Kuo noted Apple already has plenty of experience with glass thanks to the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s. He doesn't share those concerns, and thinks that a glass iPhone will prove just as durable as the aluminum models. He previously indicated that Apple plans to launch a revamped iPhone with a curved glass case and 5.8-inch AMOLED display next year. He expects it to employ curved panels on both the front and back of the device, and use AMOLED technology to realize the new design. Kuo believes that switching to a glass back on the 2017 iPhone will give a "feeling of freshness" to consumers, allowing Apple's handset to stand out from the competition. The KGI analyst is bearish on iPhone sales in the near term, having predicted earlier this month that total iPhone shipments will fall below 200 million in 2016. That pessimistic outlook for the remainder of the iPhone 6s product cycle is apparently shared by suppliers, who suggested this week that Apple is planning to continue reduced iPhone production through the June quarter. The company already indicated in January that it expects to see its first-ever year-over-year decline in iPhone shipments in the just-concluded March quarter. Apple will report the results of that quarter on April 25. Kuo has a proven track record in predicting Apple's future product plans. Most recently, he was first to peg the $400 to $500 pricing range and all of the hardware specifications for Apple's newly launched iPhone SE.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 120
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    Terrible idea. Glass phones are far more breakable. I also hope it doesn't happen to once and for all out Kuo from the prince's throne he has been given.

    For those worried about a glass-backed iPhone failing drop tests, Kuo noted Apple already has plenty of experience with glass thanks to the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s. He doesn't share those concerns, and thinks that a glass iPhone will prove just as durable as the aluminum models.
    Bollocks. The experience Apple has is for 2 years iPhones were seriously breakable. Now they've two years of them being seriously slippery. To keep weight down and to make them more robust aluminium is the choice. Glass is a worse rear material for reasons mentioned, including weight. If AMOLED is lighter it's an oppertunity for the phone itself to become lighter. Not an excuse to use heavier glass on the rear. And a design change purely for design-sake is bad design. Especially—and make no mistake it would be—if it makes the phone less durable.

    iFixit Galaxy S7 tear-down:


    edited April 2016 jetpilottallest skil
  • Reply 2 of 120
    nowadays Apple inc not concentrating on design and app usability..
    tallest skil
  • Reply 3 of 120
    I'm very opened to a curved glass iPhone. I actually can't wait.
  • Reply 4 of 120
    That should boost the bottom-line of Apple's repair business.
    irelandtallest skilmacseekerurahara
  • Reply 5 of 120
    AMOLED sounds good but don't know about glass back
    irelandjetpilottallest skilbaconstangcali
  • Reply 6 of 120
    joninsdjoninsd Posts: 69member
    And in related new: iPhone case manufacturers are drooling over the news of a glass iPhone 7. . .
    jetpilotirelandtallest skil
  • Reply 7 of 120
    JoashJoash Posts: 5member
    Curved glass and AMOLED screen? Sounds an awful lot like the Galaxy S6 and S7. #justsaying
    supadav03brakken
  • Reply 8 of 120
    I can visualize the 6s shape with a glass back: it will be STUNNING. I'll take it over the current one any day.
    ai46diplicationiqatedo
  • Reply 9 of 120
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,454member
    joninsd said:
    And in related new: iPhone case manufacturers are drooling over the news of a glass iPhone 7. . .
    Jony's been looking for a reason to bring back the rubber baby buggy bumper ...
    edited April 2016 brakken
  • Reply 10 of 120
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,034member
    ireland said:
    Terrible idea. Glass phones are far more breakable. I also hope it doesn't happen to once and for all out Kuo from the prince's throne he has been given.

    For those worried about a glass-backed iPhone failing drop tests, Kuo noted Apple already has plenty of experience with glass thanks to the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s. He doesn't share those concerns, and thinks that a glass iPhone will prove just as durable as the aluminum models.
    Bollocks. The experience Apple has is for 2 years iPhones were seriously breakable. Now they've two years of them being seriously slippery. To keep weight down and to make them more robust aluminium is the choice. Glass is a worse rear material for reasons mentioned, including weight. If AMOLED is lighter it's an oppertunity for the phone itself to become lighter. Not an excuse to use heavier glass on the rear. And a design change purely for design-sake is bad design. Especially—and make no mistake it would be—if it makes the phone less durable.

    iFixit Galaxy S7 tear-down:


    Every phone is already half glass. Besides, iPhone 4/4S were damn successful with no complaints about the back glass. Now, all the sudden, back glass is bad...
    BTW, Samsung best selling flagships also have back glass in the last 2 years. 
    In my 7 years of iPhone usage (6 iPhones from almost every generation), I dropped my phone twice: one caused a chip in the corner of iPhone 6 and one shattered screen of my 6+. Both times were my reckless habit for putting the phone into pants pocket without looking.
    edited April 2016 ai46mwhiteanantksundaramjay-tnolamacguy
  • Reply 11 of 120
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,034member

    I can visualize the 6s shape with a glass back: it will be STUNNING. I'll take it over the current one any day.
    Agree with you. I always love classy glass back. Bring back the back glass and take my money, Apple. All I have to need is a bumper to protect the phone.
    diplicationanantksundarampatchythepirate
  • Reply 12 of 120
    stoobsstoobs Posts: 40member
    I'm astounded!
    Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo
    About damned time he was referenced that way...  ;)


    irelandanantksundaramrealjustinlong
  • Reply 13 of 120
    rusty5rusty5 Posts: 1member
    "iPhone lineup has relied on LCD technology since it first launched in 2017." Try 2007 not 2017 ...
  • Reply 14 of 120
    Um... Why does the article keep using the year 2017 to reference the next gen. iPhone? Crazy confusing. The next gen. iPhone will premiere this Fall in the year 2016! It's reasonable to expect the chassis design will carry over in 2017 for the "s" variant. 
  • Reply 15 of 120
    vision33rvision33r Posts: 213member
    Let's call it the new iPhone 7 "Edge".
    saltyzip
  • Reply 16 of 120
    ireland said:
    Terrible idea. Glass phones are far more breakable. I also hope it doesn't happen to once and for all out Kuo from the prince's throne he has been given.

    For those worried about a glass-backed iPhone failing drop tests, Kuo noted Apple already has plenty of experience with glass thanks to the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s. He doesn't share those concerns, and thinks that a glass iPhone will prove just as durable as the aluminum models.
    Bollocks. The experience Apple has is for 2 years iPhones were seriously breakable. Now they've two years of them being seriously slippery. To keep weight down and to make them more robust aluminium is the choice. Glass is a worse rear material for reasons mentioned, including weight. If AMOLED is lighter it's an oppertunity for the phone itself to become lighter. Not an excuse to use heavier glass on the rear. And a design change purely for design-sake is bad design. Especially—and make no mistake it would be—if it makes the phone less durable.

    iFixit Galaxy S7 tear-down:


    Remember, Liquid Metal is an "amorphous metallic glass". So technically, the new phone could be made of glass. Just not the type traditionally thought of. 
    radarthekatmac_dogksecnetmagejustadcomics
  • Reply 17 of 120
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    Remember, Liquid Metal is an "amorphous metallic glass". So technically, the new phone could be made of glass. Just not the type traditionally thought of. 
    If my barely used SIM ejector tool is any indication Liquidmetal scratches easily and a lot.
  • Reply 18 of 120
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,328member
    Not too fond of he iPhone 4-5 glass back. But turning an iPhone 6 around to make the front act as a back feels pretty nice. The back glass doesn't have to have the same optical specs as the front, so it could probably be more robust. E-ink under that back glass would be nice.
  • Reply 19 of 120
    lukeilukei Posts: 358member
    nowadays Apple inc not concentrating on design and app usability..
    Nice of you to create an account just for those pearls of wisdom
    baconstangpropodaaronjcalicornchipirelandanantksundarammatrix077redgeminiparoundaboutnow
  • Reply 20 of 120
    I can visualize the 6s shape with a glass back: it will be STUNNING. I'll take it over the current one any day.
    The only thing I can visualize is the headlines... "Shattergate" Endless videos showing how the iPhone somehow becomes a deadly shrapnel producing device. Hundreds of shards of glass flying everywhere. I know how the news media is when it comes to anything Apple makes.
    cornchipireland
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