Ming-Chi Kuo: next iPhones will get a more scratch-resistant glass body, stainless steel frame & more


Widely regarded as the authority on the subject of future Apple products, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has today revealed a few details on what he expects for 2017's iPhones. In a research note obtained by AppleInsider, Kuo suggests that next year's handsets will get a long-awaited design overhaul complete with a toughened glass front and back, along with more robust, stainless steel edges. 

While Apple's iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have been generally well received, reports have indicated that early uptake may have slowed versus the 6s duo. Kuo's suggestion earlier this year that the iPhone 7 wouldn't have many "attractive selling points" was probably a slight exaggeration, but there's no getting away from the fact that iPhone's design language hasn't changed for three years now. 

We heard this week that work on the so-called iPhone 8 is already underway, and Kuo's insight aligns with the rumored "radical redesign". The notion of all-glass iPhone is not entirely new, and Kuo adds that such a finish will offer better protection against scratches than the current build. The new Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus provides a glossy finish that has proven a popular choice, but it's very susceptible to abrasions.

Kuo's note adds that a strictly all-glass housing won't be possible due to "technological bottlenecks" and as such, will be accompanied by a metal frame. Apparently, Apple will ditch aluminum in favor of a more robust, stainless steel outer edge for "high-end models". This will cost more, but give the top-tier iPhones a sturdy, premium finish. Kuo also expects both the 4.7 and 5.5-inch upcoming models to feature the glass chassis, but only the top-end version(s) will be supported by the steel frame. It remains to be seen whether "high-end" means pricier Plus models as with the Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus, or perhaps the oft-rumored "Pro" model. 

Separate rumors have indicated that each could deploy OLED display tech, among other promising enhancements. Given that the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are still brand new, it's probably going to be a while before we see evidence of these endeavors. Nevertheless, if Kuo's suggestions prove to be accurate, those holding off the iPhone 7 in hope of a next-gen redesign could get their wish in 2017. 

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