Apple’s iPhone is likely to get a major redesign next year, according to an analyst who believes the company is set to completely revamp the look of its iconic smartphone in 2017 with an “all-glass” enclosure and a move to an AMOLED type screen technology.
The predictions, first published by 9to5Mac, come from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has deep supply chain sources and a good track record of predicting Apple’s future plans. Kuo says Apple is preparing to move away from the aluminum unibody design, which has set the iPhone apart from its competition in recent years.
According to Kuo, Apple will make the change because an all-aluminum design will no longer look modern in 2017. Apple will also be seeking to once again set itself apart from the rest of the smartphone pack now that much of the competition offer similar aluminum designs.
It is unclear how Apple will be able to engineer an all-glass design. Previously, Apple has used glass extensively on its iPhones, with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S featuring glass fronts and backs, with a metal band connecting them.
Glass would also be heavier than aluminum, but helping offset this increased weight would be the introduction of AMOLED screens that are slightly lighter than the LCD displays currently used in iPhones. A report last week from the Korean Herald said Apple had signed a $2.6 billion deal with rival Samsung to provide 100 million 5.5-inch AMOLED displays for iPhones.
Last month, in another note, Kuo predicted Apple would completely revamp its entire iPhone range in 2017, adding wireless charging and a 5.8-inch model, switch to an iPhone 4-like design, and introduce AMOLED screens for the first time.
Apple recently launched the 4-inch iPhone SE and is expected to launch updates to its main iPhone range later this year. While nothing official has been announced, reports to date suggest the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be a minor upgrade in terms of design from the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, with the most significant upgrades likely to be the removal of the headphone jack in favor of using the Lightning port for audio while a potential dual-camera setup could be reserved for a new iPhone 7 Plus Premium model, which Kota Ezawa from Citi Research believes will be launched later this year.