KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a new report that again predicts Apple will switch to non-aluminum casing, with glass being the most likely candidate, for the majority of new iPhone models starting in 2017.
Kuo believes that Apple will be moving to an all-glass enclosure, dropping aluminum completely as it will no longer appear modern or fresh in 2017. Apple’s smartphone competitors are also adopting aluminum designs in droves, making it more likely Apple will want to differentiate with entirely new materials.
It definitely seems like Apple is saving a major new iPhone form factor for 2017, which leaves Apple’s 2016 iPhone 7 refresh somewhat in question. Leaks to date have shown very modest changes for the iPhone 7, with a design largely the same as the existing iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models.
Apple already uses glass casing for iPhone 4/ 4S, and non-Apple brands have also been using glass casings. We therefore think a drop test will not be problematic for glass casing. A glass casing may be slightly heavier than an aluminum one of the same thickness, but the difference is so small that the use of the thinner and lighter AMOLED panel will compensate for that.
He previously indicated that Apple plans to launch a revamped iPhone with a curved glass case and 5.8-inch AMOLED display next year. He expects it to employ curved panels on both the front and back of the device, and use AMOLED technology to realize the new design.