The iPhone 7? That's yesterday's news, man. All the forward-looking phone fans are thinking about the iPhone 8 and its glossy, all-glass design that's expected to arrive next year.
That's the word from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who's become the go-to source for dependable forecasts on what Apple has planned for its future iPhones. As noted by 9to5Mac, Kuo put out a research note to clients predicting that next year's iPhone looks like it will feature a glass front-and-back design.
That prediction's not coming out of thin air. Kuo bases the forecast on pre-order checks, writing that "30-35 percent and 45- 50 percent of [iPhone 7] pre-orders around the world and in China" are for the jet black model Apple introduced with its latest iPhones. That suggests iPhone shoppers are sold on the glossy look of that design.
The problem, though, is that the aluminum Jet Black phone is susceptible to scratches and scuffs. Moving to a glass design would let the next round of iPhones adopt the glossy look while adding some measure of durability. To that end, 9to5Mac's summary of the KGI research note, points out that Apple could switch to 2.5D glass to make next year's phones better able to withstand drops.
Using an all-glass design would be something of a return to form for Apple, which used all-glass backs on the iPhone 4 and 4S before switching to a mostly aluminum back with 2012's iPhone 5.
As for the frame of the iPhone 8, KGI thinks that Apple will go in two directions: aluminum and stainless steel. That latter option will be limited to higher-end versions of the phone — possibly another way for Apple to distinguish between the regular iPhone and the Plus model, beyond display size and the dual-camera setup introduced with the iPhone 7 Plus.
The glass front-and-back design joins the growing number of rumors surrounding next year's iPhone, which started percolating even before the iPhone 7's release. The next iPhone is expected to do away with the home button entirely, instead incorporating the fingerprint sensor underneath the phone's glass dispaly. (Xiaomi just introduced that very feature in its Mi 5s.) Analysts also expect the iPhone to move to OLED displays in 2017, as Apple looks to make a splash on the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone's debut.