Apple's latest iPhones have been on the market for less than a week, but the rumor mill for next year's models is already moving. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who often shares predictions for upcoming Apple products, has shared a new research note suggesting that the design for the metal frame of next year's models will be different.
Specifically, Apple will reportedly be using a flat metal frame, similar to that of the iPhone 4 and 5 families, the iPhone SE, or the 2018 iPad Pro. However, it will keep the glass back, so it will be more akin to the iPhone 4 and 4S, which also used a glass sandwich design. The company will also reportedly use sapphire or tempered glass on the groove between the metal frame and the glass cover in order to protect the structure.
Kuo expects this change to significantly increase the cost of producing the new iPhone models, with a maximum increase anywhere between 50% and 60% for the metal frame, and between 40% and 50% for the glass cover. Kuo also expects this to play a major role in Apple's marketing strategy for the new phones, contributing to higher shipment numbers than the current generation is expected to achieve.
Current iPhone models are already somewhat expensive, so an increase in production cost - and potential increase in the final retail price - may drive away some consumers. We're still a long ways off from the release of the next iPhone models, so all this information is subject to further confirmation.