Paul Briden 10/01/2017 - 1:30pm

Apple's 2017 iPhone 8 will use a forged stainless steel frame to hold its glass bodywork together

We've heard a lot of talk in the last six months or so about Apple's iPhone 8 being an "all glass" or clear ceramic handset, fashioned from curved, transparent bodywork, possibly in a similar shape to the iPhone 4S; reports have differed, however, on whether or not it will feature a metal supportive frame. Logic says probably yes, and revered sage of Apple-based predictions, Ming-chi Kuo (of KGI Securities) has previously suggested that there will indeed be a metal frame for the iPhone 8, made from stainless steel, no less. Now, as of January 10, new reports are corroborating with Kuo's analysis; Digitimes claims to have heard from sources which state that US firm Jabil will supply stainless steel frame components for Apple's 2017 flagship; interestingly, the last time Apple used a stainless steel frame was indeed on the iPhone 4S, which may add further weight to the idea of an iPhone 4S inspired design made mostly from curved glass.

This time, the steel frames will be produced differently, instead of being milled by a CNC machine, the 2017 frames will be forged, where the steel is pressed into the desired shape. Stainless steel will potentially make the iPhone 7 more durable than recent aluminium-framed models, but it will also be more expensive to produce, a cost that is sure to be passed on to consumers. However, the forging of stainless steel is cheaper than the CNC milling process, an estimated saving of around 30%-50%.

"The next-generation iPhone is expected to abandon its conventional aluminum back cover design and will adopt a new design using two reinforced glass panes and a metal frame in the middle," the sources said.

"The metal bezel will be made of stainless steel using a forging process to enhance its sturdiness and reduce costs and manufacturing time."