KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said many times over the past few months that Apple’s Tenth Anniversary iPhone due next year will move from the current unibody aluminum industrial design to an all-glass front and back plate sandwiched between a stainless steel frame.
In a new note to clients, a copy of which was obtained by MacRumors, Kuo explains that the reason why so-called ‘iPhone 8’ will switch from metal to glass for its casing is to support advanced wireless charging technologies.
From Kuo’s note:
We believe one of the reasons why new iPhones will switch from metal casing to glass casing is to support wireless charging. In order to ensure a superior performance, we believe it is most appropriate for EMS suppliers to develop and make the wireless charger because then a comprehensive test can be conducted. As Hon Hai (AKA Foxconn) needs to deploy most resources to develop and produce OLED iPhone, we expect Pegatron will be the exclusive supplier of the wireless charger.
In other words, while Kuo expects all 2017 iPhones to boast wireless charging capabilities, he’s unsure if the handsets will ship with a wireless charger in the box.
A report last month from Japanese outlet Nikkei said Apple’s contract manufacturer Foxconn is currently testing wireless charging modules for use in the iPhone 8.
Analyst and supply chain sources expect three new iPhone models next year to switch from the current metal casing to a glass back and a metal frame, but only one premium model is expected to use a curved organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screen, while the other two models will stick with existing flat low temperature poly-silicon display.
A January report from Bloomberg said Apple was working on “cutting-edge” extended range wireless charging for 2017 iPhones and iPads that would let the devices be powered from further away than the charging mats used with current smartphones.
Apple is “looking to overcome technical barriers including loss of power over distance with a decision on implementing the technology still being assessed,” said Bloomberg.
Image: ON Charge magnetic wireless charging solution for iPhone, via Kickstarter.