Next year Apple will present redesigned iPhones featuring a new metal structure reminiscent of the iPhone 4, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo note by MacRumors .
In his research noted with TF International Securities, Kuo says Apple will change its iPhone design significantly next year. In particular, the new devices will have a new metal frame.
Jony Ive design for iPhone 4 was the first to introduce the concept of an aluminum frame with exposed squared edges inserted between two reinforced glasses, a design that has been variously copied in the smartphone industry.
Since then, the Apple iPhone has undergone several changes, including with the latest iPhone 11 using an aluminum frame wrapped around the all-glass case display corners, and the iPhone 11 Pro devices share a glass material matt enclosed in a strong stainless steel frame. And for the iPad Pro, Apple has adopted a different design, which has a more industrial band on the sides that also resembles the iPhone 4.
Kuo believes that grooving and having metal into the iPhone’s chassis next year will reduce the negative impact of metal shielding on the high-frequency transmission efficiency of the internal antenna, while the use of sapphire or tempered glass on the groove will serve to protect the molded metal structure.
Following the design change coming up in the iPhone 2020, Kuo believes that the cost of the metal frame and glass case will increase significantly, with a maximum of 50-60% and 40-50%, respectively. If the grooved cover is made of tempered glass, Kuo sees the cost of the central frame and metal frame to increase by approximately 25–35% and 20-30% respectively.
The report predicts that the new design will be a major selling point that will contribute to supplier revenue and profitability, along with 5G support, Apple’s smartphone will increase shipments to 85 million units by 2020, compared to 75 million new iPhone shipments in 2019.
Previously, Kuo said that 2020 iPhones will be available in new dimensions. Two of the phones will also be equipped with a 3D time-of-flight camera that will support augmented reality and enhance the camera experience.
Kuo also said that all three iPhones next year will support 5G networks, in which Apple will use Qualcomm’s 5G modem. Despite the acquisition of the Intel chip modem business, Apple will not use its baseband until the 2022 iPhone is launched. Instead, Kuo believes that Apple will test its products in a new Apple Watch and other future devices first.