This rumor first began circulating back in April of 2016, but now it seems to be “confirmed”. That is, if you believe Apple analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo , who has a pretty good track record of predicting new features as early as 2 years before they come to reality.
If you don’t want to believe Ming-Chi Kuo, you might be able to believe this. The rumor was “confirmed” this week by Allen Horng, chairman of Catcher Technologies whom Apple has worked with on previous iphone models.
” […Allen Horng] said Apple will make its 2017 iPhone using a glass casing. Breaking down the radical shift, Horng said using a glass chassis would prove expensive and that Catcher requires “advanced processing technology” to pull it off. He also explained that the chassis would need to be reinforced by a metal frame.
Horng said that “As far as I know, only one [iPhone] model will adopt glass casing next year” and, given the range’s pricing, that would suggest the iPhone 8 Plus (Apple is expected to skip the iPhone 7S moniker for the iPhone’s 10th anniversary) or even the hotly rumoured iPhone Pro.” (Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2016/05/27/apple-news-digest-glass-iphone-8-leak-prototype-ios-10/#426ff64d33cc)
What would an “All Glass” phone be like in reality? Gorilla Glass has an 80% chance to not break when dropped from a height of 1 meter (roughly about 3.2 feet). This may be okay when you’re texting – but if you have the phone by your ear, making a call, chances are if you drop it, it’s falling further than 3 feet. Also notice that it’s not indestructible – there’s a 20% chance it’s gonna break regardless of how high off the ground it is – that’s almost a 1 in 4 chance of breaking. And recent studies have shown that the chance for breaking may be even higher than that number.
But an “all-glass” phone does have it’s advantages – such as stronger wireless connectivity, faster charging speeds, and of course a modern look, lighter weight, and more viewing area.
Perhaps Apple is working on something that will be even stronger than Gorilla Glass – It is just too soon to know for sure.
Iphone is not the first phone to go with an All-Glass approach. The Galaxy S6 Edge is one of the first all-Glass phones to hit the market. The Xperia Z3 is also all-Glass, and despite a lot of controversy, it has proven to be quite durable. Check out this drop test below.
You can read more about this drop test right here: http://www.xperiablog.net/2014/12/23/xperia-z3-drop-test-phone-nearly-holds-out-till-the-end/
Also the following article lists the advantages and disadvantages of glass vs metal vs plastic phones.
With still a year +change to go before the “next big thing” it is just too early to know if Apple may have some tricks up their sleeves with new technology that could make the glass even stronger than ever. Apple has a great track record of innovating new technology. Things usually appear, not only on their smartphones, but on MAC computers years before working their way to competitor devices.
A Few “Apple Firsts” that come to mind include:
- First Computer with a Graphic User Interface
- First USB Ports
- First WiFi Enabled Devices
- First Floppy Drive / CD-ROM / Zip Drive / Flash Drives
- First Color Monitor
- First “Plug and Play”
- First Sound Support
- First Color Matching Screen to Print
The List Goes on —
With all of these amazing firsts (and billions of dollars on hand) – who is to say that Apple won’t find a way to overcome the disadvantages of an all-glass casing.
We’ve also seen instances already where Apple has used Sapphire instead of Glass which is much more scratch resistant. Such as reports of it being used in Iphone screens from http://gizmodo.com/whats-sapphire-glass-and-why-would-apple-want-it-in-yo-1603457905 and Apple Watches http://gizmodo.com/is-a-sapphire-glass-apple-watch-even-worth-it-1714660999
So it may not even be “All-Glass” at all, but instead “All Sapphire” – which would be another “first” for Apple to claim.
Only time will tell. I doubt I’ll upgrade that soon as I’m content with my Iphone 6S. But for those hoping to get the new handset, they’ll just have to wait for the official word from Apple themselves.