KGI: 2017 iPhones to sport glass front/back, stainless steel edges on high-end models

By , Sep 29, 2016

iPhone 5 Liquidmetal concept (image 003)

Back in April, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that the Tenth Anniversary iPhone would undergo significant design changes, ditching the LCD screen and unibody aluminum casing for an all-glass enclosure and a wraparound AMOLED panel protected by curved 2.5 glass cover on the front.

In a new report issued to clients today, a copy of which was obtained by AppleInsider, Kuo says that there is “increasing likelihood” that all 2017 iPhones will have all-glass front and back, with a high-end iPhone 8 model adopting a stainless steel metal frame rather than aluminum.

Kuo says that the unexpected popularity of high-gloss Jet Black iPhone 7 models has prompted Apple to revise its strategy and give all 2017 iPhone models, not just a high-end one, glass front and back. The reasoning is that the popular Jet Black finish is more difficult to manufacture whereas glass is easier to produce while being more durable and scratch-resistant than the iPhone’s current aluminum housing.

All-glass design would give the upcoming iPhones a nice sheen like the glossy Jet Black surface. Based on pre-orders for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, Kuo estimated that Jet Black models account for as many as 35 percent of all sales.

While a glossy finish is possible for metal casing, we identify two prerequisites for the 2017 new iPhone to be competitive in terms of casing design, considering competitors will definitely launch smartphone models with glossy metal or glass casing prior to Apple’s launch: (1) adoption of a glossy finish design; (2) enhanced productivity and higher yield will prevent a supply shortage, as has happened with jet black casing, which is manufactured at an unsatisfactory yield rate of 60-70 percent due to the metal material; and (3) better scratch resistance will improve user satisfaction. All things considered, we see glass casing as the only option.

He added that a premium iPhone model will have stainless steel edges while entry-level iPhones may use a less spectacular aluminum frame.

Here’s another excerpt from the report:

Metal frame can be stainless steel or aluminum, with former more likely for high-end models. As all-glass casing is not possible at present given technological bottlenecks, a metal frame surrounding the edge is necessary for reinforced structure design. As stainless steel has a better look than aluminum and costs more, we expect only high-end new iPhone models to come with a stainless steel frame next year.

In other words, all iPhone models related in 2017 are now expected to have glass front and back, but only a high-end model will have the more durable and certainly shinier stainless steel edges.

Kuo added that 2017 iPhones may use curved 2.5D glass like the iPhone 6/6s/7 series versus the so-called 3D glass technology that is more curved at the edges and less durable in terms of withstanding accidental drops.

The entry-level 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone models should have an LCD display, while a new flagship model with a 5.8-inch edge-to-edge AMOLED display should be smaller than the current Plus models by vastly reducing, or completely eliminating the top and bottom chin—Apple is expected to conceal the Home button, Touch ID fingerprint sensor, earpiece and FaceTime camera beneath the screen.

Source: AppleInsider

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  • Ara Rezaee

    If it’s anything remotely similar to iPhone 4, I’ll be buying at least 4

  • Jamessmooth

    5.8″ screen would be perfect, imo.
    I’m looking at my brand new jet black 7+ like its old news now 🙁

    • Sonny

      You’re lucky you have yours. Mine is coming on Oct 4th even though I ordered it at 3:09 ET on Sep 9th.

      • Rowan09

        Mine was suppose to come on the 4th even though I didn’t it as soon as it went live, but it’s on the truck being delivered today.

  • Dao Sasone

    Iph 8 whish list.
    Sd card
    Wireless charging
    Touch id on display
    16 mp camera
    4k @ 60fps recordings

    • Austin

      lets be real, SD card slot will never be there.

      • Abhijeet Gupta


      • Diego Milano

        Plus they wouldn’t burn all the tricks and treats Apple has been holding back for years. They don’t need any of this to shake the competition.
        It’s true though that it would be nice to have a way to switch storage easily for sharing, but at least I wouldn’t give it any use, except offline storage/backup, but they want you to use iCloud for that.

      • Fyouchubbykid

        Good 2 know, it took you 9 years to realize that. Aren’t you a fast thinker lol

    • Rowan09

      Why SD card when phones come with 64-256 GB? Plus the many other options like cloud services, wireless sticks, cases with storage, etc.

      • Dao Sasone

        Sd slot will be cheaper for users who can only afford entry level but uses their phone for business and personal use like me.

      • Rowan09

        How much space would you need on a sd card? Let’s say you buy a 32GB since that’s now standard. You need how much more space? Apple and shareholders don’t care about making it cheaper. Apple already added new space options which in return made every phone $100 cheaper.

      • Dao Sasone

        Alot. Thats why i requested 4k@60 fps. I makes videos, download videos and pictures to produce slideshows for my customers and friends and family. I hate the fact that i always have to move files when it gets full. Plus running a phone on full capacity slows it down. And 32gb becomes about 25 after os and other unwanted apps.

      • Rowan09

        I understand. If you’re doing business you sound like a guy that needs to either invest in cloud services (I have a 2 TB western digital personal cloud), phone case with storage, or just purchase an iPhone to meet your needs instead of the entry level, etc. You don’t sound like an entry level customer to me.

      • Dao Sasone

        Lol but i am. I always get the lowest priced iphone with 2yrs contract price. Because i have a business phone account so att honors the 2 yrs still. And i have a portable lighting flash drive i carry with when im out and about. My point is if they include a sd slot it would be more convenient and cost lest to purchase additional space. Expandable space is more convenient then fixed imo.

      • Rowan09

        I agree but why not just use the cloud?

      • Mike

        With the cloud you need internet access and downloading a big file is slow. If you have an sd card everything just shows up faster and you don’t have to wait. Another plus is that you can take that sd card out and plug it into your macbook and use it like a flash drive which will help a lot since you won’t have to carry wires around.

      •  Just does not care enough to add an SD slot. Everything is fighting for space inside their devices now.

      • Austin

        agreed, i don’t like using sd cards… they just don’t store things the same when its built in storage. some things save to sd some things save to phone its just messy. its something apple will never do.

      • Mike

        The benefit of have a main storage and second storage is that you can put all the things you download on your second storage while only keeps apps and system stuff on your main storage. This will help with phone speed.

  • Dennis Ho

    I loved the glass front and back.

    • Austin

      yet so vulnerable.

  • mwpitt52

    So glad I did not order the iPhone 7 Plus. Been on vacation this week in Hawaii and my 6S Plus is taking just as good pictures as girlfriends 7 Plus. Funny note we were watching movies on plane except girlfriend could not plug her iPhone 7 Plus headphones in headphone jack. Apple does not include that adapter (Think about it!). LMAO

  • Bob Bobsledge

    I hope that only the biggest model getting a AMOLED display will not be true… I would love to have one, but I’m hesitant to carry around such a huge phone. 4.7-5.1 inches is the perfect size for me.

    I passed on the 7 because I’m waiting for a more radical overhaul with a better display.