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Apple's next iPhone likely to launch in September 2017 might adopt stainless steel forging process for the device's chassis. The next-iPhone could drop CNC machined aluminium unibody in favour of a new design using reinforced glass panes and a metal frame in the middle.
The rumour comes from Digitimes which says the component orders will be shared between Foxconn Electronics and US-based Jabil. The new design process will sandwich glass and metal, with stainless steel being used for the metal bezel. The process is expected to improve the sturdiness and also lower the manufacturing cost. Apple iPhone 4 used a stainless steel frame supplied by Foxconn and Jabil.
In its report, Digitimes quotes sources from Apple's supply chain 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."
This year Apple has added Wistron as a new assembler which will join Foxconn and Pegatron Technology in iPhone manufacturing. Apple is likely to use CNC machining for internal structures and components but the main chassis will be a fusion of glass and stainless steel.
Apple is also rumoured to introduce a new iPhone this year with AMOLED display and an all-screen design. The smartphone is expected to be the 10th anniversary edition called the iPhone 8, in addition to updates to the existing iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.