Forget iPhone 15 Pro — iPhone 17 Pro just tipped for major design change

iPhone 15 Pro cameras
(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 15 is here, and we’ve started hearing big rumors about the iPhone 16, but what’s going to come after that? Despite being two years away from release, there is a rumor floating around about a potential upgrade for the iPhone 17 Pro.

According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple could include resin coated copper (RCC) parts inside the iPhone 17 Pro. According to Kuo, RCC parts can help reduce the thickness on the phone’s mainboard, which would free up some internal space for other things — or potentially allow Apple to make the iPhone 17 Pro even thinner.

Kuo also claims that RCC will make drilling easier, since it doesn’t include any fiberglass. Unfortunately, the material is rather fragile, especially during drop tests, and for this reason it’s being skipped over for the iPhone 16.

Kuo doesn’t say what might change to make RCC more suitable for the 2025 iPhones. Considering fragility is already a problem in smartphones, the last thing you need is to make them even more prone to accidental damage. 

Kuo does say that if Apple can improve the material before Q3 2024, then there’s a solid chance it’ll appear in the iPhone 17 Pro and Pro Max. Unfortunately, he doesn’t give any specifics on how this might happen, only that the work could be in conjunction with Ajinmoto — the current leading supplier of RCC materials.

Analysis: What will RCC do for iPhone 17 Pro?

Saving space inside the iPhone 17 Pro could unlock a whole bunch of new possibilities. There’s always the chance Apple could use RCC’s reduced thickness as a way to make the phone even thinner. It would be very on brand for Apple, to say the very least.

Then again, more interior space means more room for other things — all without having to remove other hardware. Space inside a smartphone is at a premium, and thinner components means Apple Tetris new hardware in to fill the void. Whether that’s a better cooling system, haptic engines for more solid state buttons or even larger battery capacities. We could also see a larger or even second tetraprism lens for even better zooming power. There’s no limit to what Apple could add if there was a little more room to play with.

It’s going to be a while before we see any of these rumors come to fruition — assuming they ever do. In the meantime, be sure to check out our iPhone 15 Pro review and iPhone 15 Pro Max review to see what Apple's latest smartphone has to offer, and our iPhone 16 hub for all the latest news and rumors about next year's devices.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.