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All-Glass iPhone 8? New Report Says Yes

Apple's newest flagship iPhone could take some cues from one of its old iPhones.

Apple is planning to deliver an iPhone 8 design that might resemble the iPhone 4, Digitimes is reporting, citing sources within the company's supply chain.

Credit: TechDesgins/YouTube

(Image credit: TechDesgins/YouTube)

The next iPhone, believed to be known as the iPhone 8, will use two glass panes for the front and back and a metal frame in the middle to keep them together. The metal along the frame will be stainless steel, according to the report.

If that sounds familiar, it's because it's nearly identical to the iPhone 4's design. That handset also came with glass panels on the front and back and used a stainless steel frame.

Over the last several months, rumors have surfaced saying Apple is working on an all-glass flagship iPhone. However, those rumors have said that the entire iPhone body would be glass and wouldn't come with any metal features. The Digitimes report suggests Apple is planning glass for its next handset but won't want to go all-in with a complete enclosure.

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While it's unclear why Apple might choose to revert back to an iPhone 4-like design, the Digitimes report says Apple can bring chassis-production costs down by 30 percent to 50 percent just by transitioning from a multi-part case design instead of the metal unibody it employs now with its iPhone 7.

Delivering a device that is at least inspired by the iPhone 4 might catch the ire of some. While the iPhone 4's design was well-received, when dropped, the device's backplate or screen could easily shatter, causing damage to the handset. Apple would need to make the chassis very durable.

Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 8 later this year. It's believed the device, which will commemorate the iPhone's 10th anniversary, will be offered alongside the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, which will deliver only minor upgrades over last year's iPhone 7.

Don Reisinger is a communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter who has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine and The New York Times, as well as Tom's Guide.