Suppliers gearing up for production of iPhone 8’s curved-glass chassis

By , Aug 31, 2016

iFixit iPhone 6s teardown image 004 Battery

In 2017, the iPhone should undergo a top-to-bottom industrial design overhaul with a number of hardware improvements planned for the handset, such as a wraparound AMOLED display curved at both sides like that on Samsung’s Note 7 and the Galaxy S6/S7 range, as well as an all-new glass enclosure.

According to a recent Chinese-language Commercial Times report cited by DigiTimes, Taiwanese suppliers are now ordering machinery for the production of curved glass chassis for next year’s iPhone lineup. The glass casing should help differentiate the Tenth Anniversary iPhone, as the media affectionally calls the device, and give Apple fans more reasons to upgrade.

Taiwanese supplier Mirle Automation has developed forming equipment for 3D curved glass chassis, allowing it to enter the supply chain for 2017 iPhone series. Foxconn, which assembles iPhones, as well as Apple supplier Lens Technology have ordered Mirle’s machinery, with shipments kicking off in the fourth quarter of 2016.

In an unusual move, Mirle has issued a company filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange saying it was not the source of the report. Knowing Apple is not fond of leaks, that filing right there probably tells us that Mirle went to great lengths to avoid antagonizing Apple, giving more credence to the report.

The report adds that Foxconn’s glass chassis has recently gone through verification by Apple. These firms are expected to supply curved-glass chassis for 2017 iPhones:

  • Foxconn Technology
  • Bern Optics
  • Lens Technology

Lens Technology is especially interesting: Apple recently issued a press releases congratulating Lens’s commitment to utilize 100 percent renewable energy in all its glass production by 2018.

“Lens is the first supplier to make a clean energy commitment for all of its Apple production, and will meet its goal through an unprecedented power purchase agreement with local wind projects,” Apple wrote. Lens’ manufacturing with Apple currently includes two facilities in Changsha, Hunan province.

The iPhone’s metal casing is being produced by Catcher Technology, but its CEO Allen Horng isn’t concerned about potentially losing business to rivals come 2017 because “As far as I know, only one iPhone model will adopt glass casing next year” (and some analysts agree with Horng’s contention).

iPhone 6s teardown photo courtesy iFixit.

Source: DigiTimes

  • Share:
  • Follow:
  • Jamessmooth

    So silly to launch only one iPhone with the supposed new glass casing. Hope this doesn’t happen. I love the offerings they have now, one small iphone and one large one (minus SE). Make them exactly the same!

    • Agreed, I don’t like the splintering of materials either.. but they did it with the Apple Watch. Apple Watch’s display – sapphire crystal versus Ion-X glass. That’s how they are going to start justifying the up-charge on a “pro” type version is my guess.

      • John Smith

        If they can justify segregating their customer base for maximized profits, then I can justify not upgrading my phone until they get things together. 2GB RAM iPhone 6S with 12MP camera, 4k shooting, 64GB storage, not exactly something that can become obsolete unless Apple intentionally decides to slow it down to entice users to upgrade, to which I’ll stop upgrading my iOS version and buy a cheap iPod Touch to do software development on.

  • gXn

    Release Iphone 7 first.

  • 5723alex .

    No crap OLED please.

  • Tommy Gumbs

    What it is????? Manufactures are going to have a hard time making parts for the iPhone 7, like you reported yesterday, and every year prior, or they are gonna ramp up for the iPhone 8…..come on Already.

  • Ernie Marin

    I’ll stick with the 7th (well 6th until 7th is jailbroken) because I don’t really like curved screens, if in fact it’s the only iPhone to have it then i’ll just wait the 3 years until the 9th is out and then upgrade again.

  • DD™

    Haven’t even got the iPhone 7 out and we are talking about the 8 and suppliers gearing up. Wow!