Rumored 'iPhone 8' stainless steel chassis could expand Apple's American supply chain

in iPhone
If Apple does indeed switch to a Jabil-made stainless steel chassis for the "iPhone 8," the company could expand its comparatively small American supply chain and appease U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump, who has pushed for more domestic manufacturing.

Jabil's headquarters in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Jabil is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and has numerous other facilities around the U.S., in states such as New York, Idaho, and California, according to its website. While it also has an extensive presence in China and Taiwan -- where most of Apple's supply chain is based, and where it might be cheaper to manufacture on the scale Apple requires -- the option for domestic manufacturing is a possibility.

At the least it would put another key iPhone component under the wing of a U.S.-owned company, and even without manufacturing, it's possible that American offices would be involved in associated tasks. Another example of an American Apple supplier is Qualcomm, which produces wireless chips.

The alleged switch to Jabil may be coming at the expense of Taiwanese firms Catcher and Casetek, who currently handle Apple chassis work. This depends, however, on whether 2017 iPhone rumors pan out.

The rumored flagship OLED-based "iPhone 8" is typically expected to feature a 5.1- or 5.2-inch "glass sandwich" design. But Apple is also believed to be working on two LCD models sized the same as the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which could also rely on the aluminum chassis design Apple has favored for the past several years.

Concept rendering of next-gen iPhone with edge-to-edge display.

Apple hasn't used stainless steel casings for its smartphones since the iPhone 4s in 2011. The company also gradually shifted away from glass backs, which people complained were vulnerable to scratching and cracking. That problem may be less likely in 2017, given tougher material from the likes of Corning, and glass would be better-compatible with rumored wireless charging support.

President-elect Trump has put pressure on a number of American companies to grow U.S. jobs. During his election campaign he in fact singled out Apple for manufacturing overseas, telling an audience he would "get Apple to build their damn computers in this country instead of other countries."

Only one Apple product -- the largely outdated Mac Pro -- is assembled in the U.S.


  • Reply 1 of 16
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,438member
    Too bad the whole sapphire experiment with GT didn't work out -- that plan had a trumpazoidal shape to it. 
  • Reply 2 of 16
    So back to the steel chassis and glass back in the iPhone 4 hmm...
  • Reply 3 of 16
    What I'd like to know, if this rumor pans out to be true, how does Apple or anybody get past the ear speaker, and front-facing camera etc that's embedded in the screen real estate from not getting in the way of the screen content being displayed? Especially on a web page or watching a movie in landscape mode? I think that would be a concern.
  • Reply 4 of 16
    How close is this display to professional graphics grade liek EIZO and high-end NEC? IS it anti-glare as well?
    So back to the steel chassis and glass back in the iPhone 4 hmm...
    At least it was not breaking. I still have iPod Touch 1Gen as first iPhone's and I can drop it on floor without case and it will not break. It still works even if it runs iOS3. So?
  • Reply 5 of 16
    Maybe president elect Chump could use some of his ill gotten gains to help us pay for an iPhone totally made here in the US? We certainly can't do it on our own.
    edited January 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 16
    Appeasement never works. Just ask Neville Chamberlain.
  • Reply 7 of 16
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    Appeasement never works. Just ask Neville Chamberlain.
    I was thinking along similar lines. It's worse this time because this autocrat has nuclear weapons. And he's appeasing another autocrat who also has nuclear weapons.

    Anyway, it's disgusting that the press gives him credit for business decisions that companies would be making anyway, or ones they made way before he got "elected."
  • Reply 8 of 16
    zonezone Posts: 54member
    Chump has no idea how to run a business and Apple will make decisions that will help the company period. He has never had a product remotely close to as successful as Apples. They do not care what he thinks and the beauty is Apple will make Chump think its was he idea. His massive ego clouds any judgment he has...
  • Reply 9 of 16
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,799member
    blastdoor said:
    Too bad the whole sapphire experiment with GT didn't work out -- that plan had a trumpazoidal shape to it. 
    Isn't the current glass made in the USA anyway?
  • Reply 10 of 16
    tshapitshapi Posts: 344member
    If Apple made an edge to edge screen. Then the ear peice can be placed at the edge between the screen and the bezel.  Or they dan use the technology from the watch with water resistance and put micro sized holes into the screen separating the oled by micro sized very non noticeable holes

    I go with the first option. Imagine having a small break on top after the screen before the metal chassis. And this is where the speaker would be. 

    The camera is kind of easier.  Most cameras generally see right through what's directly i front of it. All Apple has to do is program the camera to maybe factor out those pixels. After all it only takes software to create an algorithm where the camera essentially makes the photo whole by fixing the missing pixels. And or the oled screen is transparent enough that the camera can pretty much see through it. 
  • Reply 11 of 16
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,352member
    Nobody cares what that thin-skinned man-child says.
  • Reply 12 of 16
    brakkenbrakken Posts: 687member
    I'm thinking Apple Watch 2 speakers at each corner for quadrophonics and waterproofing. With a smaller earphone speaker along the top bezel for fidelity, it may work. I'm sure Apple will design it just so, in any case ;)
  • Reply 13 of 16
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,034member

    Shut up and take my money!
  • Reply 14 of 16
    No chance that Apple would finally employs LiquidMetal?
  • Reply 15 of 16
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,268member
    Yeah, Liquid Metal kinda disappeared - wonder what happened or if they just decided it wasn't a good material.

    Wonder what the weight/strength/size trade off would be for stainless vs aluminum. Steel is stronger, so they could make it thinner, but the thickness of the Al never struck me as a issue. As far as strength goes, steel is about twice as strong but weighs about 3 times as much, so one would expect the phones to be somewhat heavier, depending on the design. Maybe they'll make them out of spring steel so when they get bent they'll bend back! :smile: 
  • Reply 16 of 16
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,045member
    fallenjt said:

    Shut up and take my money!
    Yeah, baby! I'd give up my 5s for that!
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