A new report from KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that Apple will switch up some of the materials in the iPhone in 2017: namely, ditching the aluminum casing and switching to an AMOLED display, leading to a whole new design.
With this year’s iPhone 7 expected to stick with an aluminum casing, it will mark five consecutive years of Apple using the material in its flagship device. Kuo explains that aluminum no longer provides an edge, as many competitors have adopted similar casing designs. A return to the glass casing of the iPhone 4s could “enhance the competitive of iPhone by offering an all-new form-factor design.”
We’ve reported previously that Apple is investigating moving to the AMOLED screens already popular with high-end Android smartphones. These kind of displays offer “better power efficiency, contrast and more saturated colors” when compared to the LCD screens used in current-generation iPhones.
A 2017 release would likely tie in with the iPhone 7s, which would be an unusual point to make a big design change. Over the last few years, Apple has made a habit of changing the design every two years, with a freshly numbered iPhone. The interim ‘s’ models tend to be technical rather than aesthetic upgrades, although the new features included in the iPhone 6s launch last year (3D Touch, Live Photos) show that Apple isn’t afraid to do big things with these interim releases.
It’s even possible we could witness a shift away from the ‘s’ model and launch straight to the iPhone 8. Only time will tell, but Kuo has a good track record of predicting these things. We certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple release a fresh design next year.