Rumors of Apple shifting to a new curved glass design has been around for about nine months. In part, the rumor is being supported by a new supply chain report today. The report claims that Apple's next-generation iPhone is expected to adopt a stainless steel forging process for its new chassis frame instead of traditional CNC machining. Component orders are expected to be shared between Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) and US-based Jabil.
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 metal bezel will be made of stainless steel using a forging process to enhance its sturdiness and reduce costs and manufacturing time. Apple's iPhone 4 used a stainless steel frame also supplied by Foxconn and Jabil.
Sources from the upstream supply chain pointed out that the cost of the forging process is 30-50% cheaper than the current unibody CNC machine process, while quality control is also more stable.
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