iPhone 8 News: Apple To Use Stainless Steel Rather Than Aluminum For Its 2017 Flagship Smartphone's Chassis?

11 January 2017, 6:23 am EST By Vittorio Hernandez Mobile & Apps
After using aluminum casing after the iPhone 4S, Apple is reportedly shifting back to stainless steel chassis for the upcoming iPhone 8, although it remains a speculation.  ( ZONEofTECH/YouTube )

Apple’s upstream supply chain in Taiwan hinted on Tuesday that the upcoming iPhone 8 would not have an aluminum body. Instead, the flagship would be glass-encased that used a forged stainless steel crafting process.

The iPhone 8 would use two reinforced glass panels and a metal frame in the middle. The forging process will create a metal bezel made of stainless steel. Apple opted for a new chassis to make the new phone sturdier and cut production time and cost, according to DigiTimes.

Why The Shift?

The Cupertino-based tech giant, expected to release the iPhone 8 in Q3, previously used the stainless steel process for the iPhone 4S that was encased by a glass sandwich in two steel bands machined by CNC. After that model, Apple opted for aluminum as chassis because of the “heightened structural rigidity” offered by the alloy, yet the material is relatively lightweight.

The shift back to stainless steel for the upcoming iPhone 8 is because of the lower cost of the forging process, estimated to be 30 percent to 50 percent less than using the unibody CNC process that Apple currently uses. It would also provide a more stable quality control.

Reverting To Stainless Steel

However, even if Apple would revert to using stainless steel for the iPhone 8, the company would still maintain Catcher Technology and Case talk as its outsourced supplier for internal structure parts. The choice of the two companies is due to stainless steel bezel needing more refinement using traditional CNC machining.

But Business Insider UK points out that DigiTimes is not so reliable as a source of Apple rumors. The basis of DigiTimes in reporting the shift in the casing for the upcoming iPhone 8 is that Apple allegedly placed orders for the casings with Jabil, its manufacturing partner, rather than Foxconn, the usual supplier.

However, the report matches the prediction by Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at KGI Securities that Apple would use stainless steel chassis for its high-end new smartphones when the company launches the iPhone 8 in September. He explains the shift to stainless steel looking better and aluminum costing more.


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