Apple is expected to ditch the iPhone’s aluminum unibody in 2017 for a new “all glass” design with an AMOLED display. Reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects this year’s iPhone refresh to come with a much more familiar form factor.
Since it introduced the iPhone 3G in 2008, Apple has launched redesigned models every other year, filling the gaps with more incremental “S” upgrades. But it looks like fans might be waiting until 2017 for another big refresh.
In a new report, Kuo reiterates that Apple will adopt AMOLED displays for the iPhone next year, when it will also introduce an all-new form factor made mostly out of glass. Apple believes that aluminum has become too common and no longer differentiates the iPhone, Kuo says.
However, switching to an all glass design, presumably with some kind of frame holding it all together like we saw with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s, wouldn’t exactly be unique. Samsung’s latest devices have glass panels front and back, as do Sony’s and others’.
It’s thought Apple is unconcerned about durability having already used glass panels for the back of the iPhone before. The move could also make new features — particularly wireless charging — easier to implement.
This all sounds like exciting stuff, and Kuo’s track record is good. However, it does mean that this year’s iPhone refresh probably won’t be too spectacular. It’s likely Apple will stick with a familiar design again, with most improvements happening internally.