Reports late last year indicated the new iPhone 8 likely coming in September this year wouldn't have a unibody metal design. Instead it will feature a glass back like Samsung have done in their recent offerings. It's also said that there will be a metal frame in between the glass front and rear. A ‘glass sandwich' design some pundits like to call it. What isn't clear though is what exact material Apple chose for that frame.
Today though thanks to our contacts who call themselves “sources from the upstream supply chain” we know it will be stainless steel. If true this marks a significant change for Apple for their design and materials used when compared to previous iPhones launched in the past few years. Stainless steel was employed in the build of the iPhone 4, and incidentally, the same firms that were producing the frame back then will be making it for the iPhone 8 too.
The two companies in question are Foxconn and Jabil. They are expected to use a stainless steel forging process for the chassis of the iPhone 8, and will share orders between them.
Our source says that the cost of this forging process is around 30-50% cheaper than the current aluminium unibody CNC machining process.
Furthermore, quality control for the stainless steel forging is “more stable”. And the money saved here could be used to spend big on the AMOLED displays from Samsung which are more expensive than LCDs.
Three companies are building the next iPhone, with Wistron joined by Foxconn and Pegatron. More info coming soon.