Apple supplier attempts to confirm glass-enclosed iPhone for 2017


Apple smartphone designs feel like they're right on the cusp of reinvention, but some of the biggest changes may end up skipping this year's presumptive iPhone 7 and wait for 2017's lineup. Beyond possibilities like moving to an OLED display, we've heard the theory that Apple could be moving away from metal and embrace an all-glass iPhone. The idea's been put forward a couple of times by prominent analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI, and now it appears to be picking some stronger support as the head of one of Apple's manufacturing suppliers comments on the idea.

Catcher Technology makes smartphone bodies, and among its clients has been Apple, tapping the company to help fabricate the metal frames of its recent handsets.

Now Catcher chairman and chief executive Allen Horng is speaking out about this idea of a glass iPhone, and what it could mean for his business.

In regards to a glass iPhone, Horng told reporters, “as far as I know, only one model will adopt glass casing next year,” supporting the idea that Apple may not introduce this new look across the entirety of its lineup. That theme of Apple holding back certain features for its highest-end iPhone offering has been a recurrent one of the latest rumor cycle.

Despite the move to an all-glass facade, this iPhone would apparently still have a metal frame within, and its the presence of that metal component that has Horng feeling optimistic that Apple's embrace of glass won't have a pronounced negative effect on his company's sales.

Horng went on to explain how this glass-on-metal construction would require “advanced processing technology” and as a result would almost certainly not be cheaper to produce than the hardware used in current-gen iPhones.

We continue to have some serious doubts about the durability of an all-glass iPhone, but maybe a little faith is in order. After all, Apple's made some high-profile missteps when it comes to material choice and ruggedness over the years, but it's also a company that seems willing to learn from its mistakes – and that includes not launching a new design without strong confidence in it. Will it make believers out of us all? We've still got a long wait before we find out.

source: Nikkei via Apple Insider

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24 Comments

1. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Meh. It'll look cool if it happens I suppose.

2. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Just what the world needs, more phones that are easy to break. All OEM's should refuse to make dual glass designs. No matter how good it feels, or how good it looks, no matter how much I like it; it is a bad design choice.

13. Bankz

Posts: 2550; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Yet, somehow you've being praising samsung's design since they moved to the glass design.. I never heard you complaining bout it, not even once, but off course its apple and you find a reason to hate it. Or has it not being you who's being crying unending for apple to bring something new in the design department? Now they do just that and you still look for something to say? I'm not trying to bash you or anything, but you really do need help.

3. Kumar123 unregistered

I hope Apple knows what they are doing. Glass is not a great material to be used on the back of a phone. I hope for 2017 iPhone Apple will secure a much tougher glass than the glass used in recent flagship android phone or they come up with a innovative way to prevent glass from breaking easily.

4. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Please don't use "innovative" here. It'll only attract trolls. They've put out glass backed phones before, so I think they know what they're doing. On a side note, hopefully they go back to "normal" colors on the backs of their phones. I want Black, not Space Grey!

7. Kumar123 unregistered

You are right about using the word 'innovative' here, they only attract trolls. I know Apple put glass backed phone way before it become popular trend in android world. I used to owned a iPhone 4s that's why I'm concerned. I broke my iPhone's glass before. And Seeing how easily S7/S7 edge broke from simple drop test even though they are suppose to have the latest and greatest glass made me concern about the glass back phone. Maybe Samsung's poor designed has something to do with easily broken glass. I wish they have atleast dramatically improve the toughness of the glass by the time they release 2017 iPhone. Still prefer metal over glass though.

9. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Yeah I prefer metal as well in terms of functional protection, but the latest trend seems to be leaning towards aesthetics. Hopefully GG5 or whatever has some sort of shatter protection implemented.

10. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

I still don't know what people have against plastic! Tough, allows signal through, can be any shape, can have various textures from gloss to rough and doesn't have to feel "cheap". The iPhone 3G felt better in-hand than all subsequent models. Metal and glass are both compromises.

14. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

That may be true, but you and I both know the trolls would be out in full force to destroy the very notion of Apple making a plastic phone. Plus metal disperses heat better than plastic, which is better long-term for the internal components.

18. 444777

Posts: 399; Member since: May 02, 2016

This is typical Apple greed. From the beginning Apple has represented itself as the Rolls-Royce of the field and charged excessively and accordingly, thinking that the world would go along. Instead, the world refused and went with clunky old Microsoft for a couple of very good reasons. 1, Apple's closed architecture shut a world of designers and innovators whom MS welcomed w/open arms, expanding horizons beyond recognition. 2, Greedy Steve Jobs insisted that all peripherals be Apple products, and priced accordingly. As a result, Apple as a single-digit percentage of the computer market, and that's that. When it comes to phones, Apple leapt out in front and apparently never considered the idea of serious competition. But now here's Samsung, outpacing Apple in many respects. Inductive recharging, for one thing, is something Samsung has but Apple hasn't? Why? Because apple continues to hold as true Jobs's belief in appearance above all else. That started with the original Macintosh, the computer that was cute as Jobs wanted it to be but had to be scrapped in a couple of years because that cuteness meant the machine was of very limited utility. So today iPhone have to have sleek sexy metal cases even if it mean no inductive recharging. Frankly, I don't get tis approach, neither do I get the penny-ante nonsense described above, but it seems clear that so far Apple addicts are still so drink on the Jobsian Kool-Aid that they don't notice or care how often Apple says FU to them. They appear to like it. In the meantime I have as they say no dog in this fight, except that my wife long ago bought a lot of Apple shares cheap and I'm glad to see it going through the roof. But I don't own Apple or Samsung phones. I own a $50 BLU which gives men something Apple and Samsung don't--two SIM cards, one US, one Euro I use it as a phone only because that's all I want.

20. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Yeah.... I'm not reading this nonsense. Learn to summarize man.

6. nctx77

Posts: 2540; Member since: Sep 03, 2013

Till this day, the iPhone 4/4s is regarded as the best iphones. Broke rear glass and all. If the Galaxy S6/S7 can be on the market with a glass back and be called the perfect phone(lol!), Apple can go back to its old design. If this happens though, the first crack phone will be on national all news and shattergate will return once again.

8. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

That's the price of popularity I suppose. If they rehashed the 4/4s design with a bigger body, they would be looking at 50 million sales easy. But every idiot and their unquenchable thirst for Apple's blood will have a fit as soon as the first shatter report happens. I can already hear them saying "Haha, the S6/S7 never broke....ever!!!" with straight faces. Hypocrisy at it's finest.

11. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

At least the online "bend testers" wouldn't be able to do much with it. :)

15. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Guess that's true. I still don't see how or why anyone would been an $800 dollar electronic device, but YouTube probably isn't the place to look for logical decision making.

19. 444777

Posts: 399; Member since: May 02, 2016

This typical dumb person doesn't understand anything. Companies compete with each other to attract consumers. Consumers discuss and argue why their decision is more desiarable than others. If these things did't happen, how is it different from communism where no one complains about anything? Yes, there is no one forcing you to buy something, but if there was no article and people like this who criticize a company's greedy market strategy, then it would be disastrous. That's when a company has full control over its buyers. Monopoly is prevented when there are multiples of companies in the same market and people have multiple options to buy. Apple charging people $100 to get more storage when most other people can spend only $20 is clearly making people ripped off and if you deny, then you obviously do not recognize things I just said. Companies grow and improve by listening to people's complaints, but Apple just doesn't seem to do so.

22. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

"Consumers discuss and argue why their decision is more desirable than others." Ahhh...No they don't. Fanatics do this yes, but normal consumers have very distinct reasons for buying a particular brand over another. Price, past experiences, and convenience are just a few of these factors. Normal people aren't arguing about which phone is better friend because guess what? No one cares. "If these things did't happen, how is it different from communism where no one complains about anything?" Hahahaha....oh god, my sides....Communism??? Really? Do you even understand the actual political/economic practices within Communist regimes? Jesus dude, what the actual hell are you even talking about anymore? You troll every Apple article with BS like this. Do you not have anything better to do with your time? If course you don't, not making statements like the one quoted above.

21. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Will iphone fanboys did it to Samsung, oh but that's ok.

23. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

I doubt the sincerity of that claim. Remember, the iPhone 4 came with a glass back. If anything, Apple Fanboys would have called Samsung a "Copycat" but the actual structural properties of the phone wouldn't have been criticized.

5. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

It would be pretty cool if they took inspiration from the Palm Pre's "polished stone" look, only glass instead of plastic. Cool and totally impractical.

12. Bankz

Posts: 2550; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Apple probably knows what they're doing. Or are people forgetting that they first made a glass front and back phone some 5 years ago before it became cool? And that design is probably the best ever designed phone of all time. Now, Samsung is doing the same thing and I didn't see anyone complaining bout it when they were released. On a second thought, what if they're using sapphire glass all through? Anyway, whatever apple will put out would probably blow every other phone out the water in 2017 (in the design department at least) in my opinion.

25. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

sapphire glass is impossible, the manufaturer that suppose to supply it for apple already bankrupt (thanks to apple), some chinese company also can make that sapphire glass but they wont have enough production capacity to supply apple and its easier to shatter compared to other glass

24. Plutonium239

Posts: 1244; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

Apple as a company willing to learn from their mistakes? I don't think so, they have always been arrogant and trying to scam consumers, even during the period where Microsoft saved them...

26. BradyCrack

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 29, 2015

Much prefer metallic glass.

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