Key supplier claims next year's iPhone will have glass case

It is perhaps a bit too late to save this year's model, but the iPhone next year might be more different than ever before. In addition to possibly going with an OLED screen, the 2017 iPhone is now believed to sport a glass case. Yes, Apple is going back to glass, implied by one of its key suppliers, but it is glass enveloping a metal frame. That design decision is supposedly to meant to visually differentiate the iPhone 8 or 7s, whatever its name will be, from the masses.

The hint comes from Catcher Technology, a Taiwanese company that supplies Apple with the metal frames for the current iPhone series. CEO Allen Horng told reporters that he knows only one iPhone model will adopt glass casings in 2017. That pretty much corroborates speculation by media as early as last month that Apple will indeed be switching to glass.

Horng, however, isn't too fazed by what it seems to have already believe is solid fact. He says that such smartphones will still require a sturdy metal frame to support it, which is why the company will still be in Apple's good graces. Still, Catcher is already looking into other business partnerships to offset the hit it will take when Apple does make the switch. Analysts believe that Catcher Technology's loss will prove to be beneficial to Biel Crystal Manufactory and Lens Technology, a Chinese company that already provides Apple with glass covers for iPhones.

As to why Apple will make such a switch, it is commonly held belief that Tim Cook is under pressure to revive the iPhone's hold on the smartphone market. It's switch to a full metal body with the iPhone 6 wasn't exactly as well received as Apple's previous iPhone designs. The iPhone 7 will improve some of those criticisms but will remain mostly the same. The switch to a glass-encased all-metal body next year could indeed differentiate Apple from its competitors, but its success will still depend more on the execution of the design and the quality of the materials used.

VIA: Nikkei Aisan Review