Glass-based iPhone redesign coming in 2017, Apple partner Catcher reaffirms

Posted:
in iPhone edited May 2016
Amidst rumors of an all-new glass-backed look for the iPhone in 2017, the chief executive of Catcher, the company that builds metal casings for the iPhone lineup, added fuel to the fire on Thursday with new comments about next year's model.


Edge-to-edge iPhone display concept by Martin Hajek.


Speaking at his company's annual shareholder meeting, Catcher Chairman and Chief Executive Allen Horng said Apple plans to unveil an iPhone with a glass casing and a metal frame, according to Nikkei. He said the metal frame for the glass-exterior phone will require "advanced processing technology," and that it won't be cheap to manufacture.

Horng said he's been led to believe that only "one model" will adopt the glass casing next year, though he did not express certainty on that. With a year and a half until Apple is expected to launch its 2017 iPhone refresh, it's likely that supply chain scuttlebutt remains in limbo.

Word of an all-glass-exterior iPhone first surfaced from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who indicated in March that next year's model could represent a major revamp for the product design. It's expected that Apple will also implement an OLED panel in the redesigned iPhone, ditching the LCD panels the company has used since the first-generation model 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. And 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.


Edge-to-edge iPhone display concept by Martin Hajek.


Daring Fireball's John Gruber also weighed in earlier this month claiming that the 2017 iPhone will be a radical redesign, featuring the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, FaceTime camera and speaker all embedded into the OLED display. His sources apparently indicated that Apple is working on an edge-to-edge display that will ditch the bezels --?as well as the "chin" and "forehead" -- found on all iPhone models to date.

Kuo originally claimed that the OLED display and glass body could be limited to just the larger "Plus" variant of next year's iPhone model. That would align with Horng's comments on Thursday, suggesting that only one high-end model could get a fresh look. But it would also go against Apple's recent product strategies, where it does not differentiate appearance greatly between different size models, whether in MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, or even the Apple Watch.

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 from the rumor mill point to Apple introducing a new iPhone design next year. Apple's "iPhone 7" is expected to be introduced this September, and leaked parts and details show a device with a nearly identical form factor to the iPhone 6s.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,639member
    Oh, good because they don't break when dropped easily enough as it is. 
    xixo
  • Reply 2 of 20
    roakeroake Posts: 790member
    I can't wait for this year's 6SS+

    And yes, I'm going to buy it.
    levi
  • Reply 3 of 20
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,815member
    Iphone internal or external or both changes every year. It is hard to believe Apple would only select to update one model different from others unless Apple has plan to introduce new PLUS PLUS size.And newer material which can be stronger and less breakable(Scientists made see-through wood that's stronger than glass).
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 4 of 20
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,297member
    Hmm...I'm skeptical that an important Apple supplier like that would leak future product plans. 
  • Reply 5 of 20
    NY1822NY1822 Posts: 621member
    Either way, the user base for the IPhone 7 is 30% larger than it was when the 6 was released...
  • Reply 6 of 20
    I'm thinking this is going to be the design for a mid-2017 intro of an iPhone Pro. That'd allow the price hike necessary for the design and AMOLED screen and not interrupt the launch of the iPhone 7 in September. It just doesn't make sense for a radical form factor change to be on an "s" cycle; unless Apple wants to shake up expectations to make their rollout strategy less predictable. Or maybe they'll just ditch the "s" cycle jump to iPhone 8.
  • Reply 7 of 20
    As I have said before: Liquid Metal is an "amorphous metallic glass". So technically, the back of the new phone could be made of "glass". Just not the type traditionally thought of.
    baconstangcintos
  • Reply 8 of 20
    levilevi Posts: 344member
    Hmm...I'm skeptical that an important Apple supplier like that would leak future product plans. 
    We've heard this rumor for a few weeks now, and all but confirmed by Kuo. The fact that their case supplier is talking about it suggests the rumor is valid. 
  • Reply 9 of 20
    glynhglynh Posts: 133member
    Hmm...I'm skeptical that an important Apple supplier like that would leak future product plans. 
    If he continues to shoot his mouth off he could find himself to be a not so important ex-Apple supplier! :)
  • Reply 10 of 20
    tdsmactdsmac Posts: 13member
    I'll rock the boat and say that this would be a 2016 model. Saying its something coming in 2017 gives competition the idea that they have an additional year to beat Apple to the punch when in reality it shows up in the next 5 months. This is akin to the release of the Apple watch with limited functionality with WatchOS 1.0 only to have 2.0 at the ready a few short months later. Keeps the competition guessing. I'll keep dreaming.
    cintosr00fus1
  • Reply 11 of 20
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,017member
    I hope they use a stainless-steel frame like the did the iP4.  That is still my favorite iPhone design.  Either way, if this rumor does have any hint of truth to it, I'll certainly pick one up!

    jbishop1039badmonk
  • Reply 12 of 20
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 2,111member
    Reaffirms what? He just repeats Kuo. Apparently he's clueless and contractless with Apple for next year. What is that company's position regarding the incoming 2016 iPhone? No info... So why would we take his divinations about next year's iPhone as information?

    edited May 2016
  • Reply 13 of 20
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,297member
    levi said:
    Hmm...I'm skeptical that an important Apple supplier like that would leak future product plans. 
    We've heard this rumor for a few weeks now, and all but confirmed by Kuo. The fact that their case supplier is talking about it suggests the rumor is valid. 
    No. I can't imagine they'd be a manufacturing partner for very long if they were leaking future Apple plans. And how would they even know. I doubt Apple is sharing this stuff with manufacturing partners that early. They have in house equipment and model shops to mock stuff up before it ever gets to Asia.
  • Reply 14 of 20
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    wood1208 said:
    Iphone internal or external or both changes every year. It is hard to believe Apple would only select to update one model different from others unless Apple has plan to introduce new PLUS PLUS size.And newer material which can be stronger and less breakable(Scientists made see-through wood that's stronger than glass).
    Actually this is easy to understand. When it comes to manufacturing you don't put all your eggs in one basket and new manufacturing technology is such a basket. If the design is as advanced as suggested in this article then Apple will likely try to limit its exposure to production issues by using the new technology on just one cell phone.
  • Reply 15 of 20
    cintoscintos Posts: 113member
    tdsmac said:
    I'll rock the boat and say that this would be a 2016 model. Saying its something coming in 2017 gives competition the idea that they have an additional year to beat Apple to the punch when in reality it shows up in the next 5 months. This is akin to the release of the Apple watch with limited functionality with WatchOS 1.0 only to have 2.0 at the ready a few short months later. Keeps the competition guessing. I'll keep dreaming.
    I'm thinking along the same lines. There has been noise already that the 7 will be entering manufacturing early, and Foxon is hiring extra employees a month earlier than normal to allow for the extra training that will be required for a "more complex" handset.
  • Reply 16 of 20
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    levi said:
    We've heard this rumor for a few weeks now, and all but confirmed by Kuo. The fact that their case supplier is talking about it suggests the rumor is valid. 
    No. I can't imagine they'd be a manufacturing partner for very long if they were leaking future Apple plans. And how would they even know. I doubt Apple is sharing this stuff with manufacturing partners that early. They have in house equipment and model shops to mock stuff up before it ever gets to Asia.
    Apple uses multi-year contracts. Apple would know their suppliers capabilities and that they would have to inform them well in advance if they needed to acquire capabilities they dind't currently possess.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 661member
    zoetmb said:
    Oh, good because they don't break when dropped easily enough as it is. 
    Sounds like a user issue.
  • Reply 18 of 20
    xdsrockxdsrock Posts: 2member
    Edge to Edge glass doesn't necessarily mean edge to edge display. Does it?
  • Reply 19 of 20
    xixoxixo Posts: 431member
    misplaced my 6+. started using a 5c I got on eBay unlocked for $89.

    I have dropped it more than 20 times; its not even scratched.

    bring back the polycarbonate case with SE guts.

    i'm done with jumbo, its great having an iphone you cannot break.
  • Reply 20 of 20
    SKSK Posts: 2member
    zoetmb said:
    Oh, good because they don't break when dropped easily enough as it is. 
    I think this is new technology to adapt for anti-scratch and anti-breakage





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