KGI: 2018 iPhones to use more complex metal frame design & casing assembly

All iPhones due in 2018 will feature a “more complex” metal frame design and casing assembly for better cellular reception and improved data transmission quality, one analyst said Monday.

According to revered Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, 2018 iPhone models should improve cellular data transmission quality by utilizing a more complex metal frame.

In his note to clients, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo claims that Apple’s suppliers Catcher and Casetek have won new orders for the redesigned metal frame:

We believe that the metal frame of 2018 iPhone models will be composed of more parts for improving data transmission quality. We believe Apple will need more metal frame and casing assembly capacity and new suppliers because of more complex metal frame design and casing assembly.

We expect Catcher will obtain stainless steel metal frame and casing assembly orders.

If Casetek can pass certification in late fourth quarter of 2017 or the first quarter of 2018, it also may win aluminum metal frame and casing assembly orders.

Kuo adds that Apple will release two OLED models next year that will have a stainless steel metal frame like that found on iPhone X and possibly a 6.46-inch edge-to-edge display.

Since the iPhone 4 redesign in 2010, both the chassis and the stainless steel rim (depending on the model) have doubled as antennae. The stainless steel rim in iPhone X has four parts to it, but if Kuo’s prediction comes true then the iPhones coming next year will use additional parts as the basic metal frame design grows in complexity.


Image: iPhone X and original iPhone, courtesy of iFixit