Kuo: 2020 iPhones to Have Redesigned Metal Frame Similar to iPhone 4

Apple will unveil redesigned iPhones next year that boast a new metal frame structure reminiscent of the iPhone 4, according to a research note by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and seen by MacRumors.


In his research note with TF International Securities, Kuo says Apple will change its flagship ‌iPhone‌ design "significantly" next year. Specifically, the new devices will feature a new metal frame with "a more complex segmentation design, new trenching and injection molding procedures, and sapphire or glass cover assembly to protect the trench injection molding structure."

We predict that the new 2H20 ‌iPhone‌ design will change significantly [...] The metal frame and the front and rear 2/2.5D glass are still used, but the metal frame surface will be changed to a similar design to the ‌iPhone‌ 4, replacing the current surface design.

Jony Ive's design for the ‌iPhone‌ 4 was the first smartphone to introduce the concept of an exposed squared-edged aluminum frame sandwiched between two panes of strengthened glass – a design that has been variously copied in the smartphone industry.

Apple's ‌iPhone‌ has undergone several changes since, with the latest iPhone 11 using an aluminum frame that wraps around the rounded corners of a display housed in an all-glass enclosure, and the iPhone 11 Pro devices sharing a matte glass material encased in a durable stainless steel frame. Notably, Apple has adopted a different design for the iPad Pro, which features a more industrial band around the sides that's also reminiscent of the ‌iPhone‌ 4.

Kuo believes the grooving and injecting of the metal in next year's ‌iPhone‌ frame will reduce the negative impact of metal shielding on the high-frequency transmission efficiency of the internal antenna, while the use of sapphire or tempered glass on the groove will serve to protect the injection molded structure.

The ‌iPhone‌ 4, released in 2010

As a result of the design change coming in next year's iPhones, Kuo believes the cost of the metal frame and glass case will rise significantly, with a maximum increase of 50-60 percent and 40 to 50 percent, respectively. If the grooved cover is made of tempered glass, Kuo sees the cost of the metal middle frame and chassis increasing by about 25–35 percent and 20–30 percent, respectively.

The report predicts that the new design will be a major selling point that will contribute to supplier revenue and profitability, and combined with 5G support, will increase Apple's smartphone shipments to 85 million units in 2020, compared to 75 million new ‌iPhone‌ shipments in 2019.

In a previous note, Kuo said the 2020 iPhones will be available in new sizes. He believes Apple is going to release 5.4 and 6.7-inch high-end iPhones with OLED displays, along with a 6.1-inch model with an OLED display. Two of the phones will also feature a rear-facing time-of-flight 3D camera that will support augmented reality and improve the camera experience.

Kuo also said all three of next year's iPhones will support 5G networks, for which Apple will use Qualcomm's 5G modem. Despite its acquisition of Intel's smartphone modem chip business, Apple will not use its own baseband until the launch of 2022 ‌iPhone‌. Instead, Kuo believes Apple will first test its own baseband products in a new Apple Watch and other future devices.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
9 months ago


Summary: Apple admits it's frame design is responsible for it's abysmal antenna performance and Tim is finally ready to pay for a design change having stretched two 'S' versions from the X template

Wasnt the 4 known for the exact issue you’re talking about?
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago
So after the new ipads pro that takes on the iphone 4/4s design...now we will have iphone 2020 the same treatment? Very nice
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago
If so, I will have to wait to buy a new iPhone til next year. iP4 was a great design.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago
If true I think this is great news. I loved the way my iPhone 4s felt in my hand.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago


An increase in unit costs of 50 percent. Am I reading that right?

They didn’t phrase it particularly well, but I think they mean the unit cost of the individual parts, not the entire phone.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago
I hope they keep the 5.8 size for the Pro model.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Leaker Shares Details on 'iPhone 13' Camera [Updated]

Wednesday May 27, 2020 4:27 pm PDT by
The next-generation iPhone 12 lineup coming in fall 2020 isn't out yet, but Fudge (@choco_bit), a leaker who sometimes shares information on upcoming Apple devices, today offered up details on what Apple has in store for the 2021 iPhone 13's camera setup. A simple design drawing depicts a device with a four camera array, which Fudge claims will have the following features: 64-megapixel...

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished iPhone XR Models

Thursday May 28, 2020 9:50 pm PDT by
Apple today began selling certified refurbished iPhone XR models in select colors and capacities for the first time in the United States. Refurbished iPhone XR models are priced at a roughly 16 percent discount compared to current pricing on brand-new units, knocking $100–120 off of the regular price. In addition to the 64GB and 128GB capacities matching current brand-new iPhone XR models, ...

Powerbeats Pro Debut in Four New Colors: Spring Yellow, Cloud Pink, Lava Red, and Glacier Blue

Friday May 29, 2020 10:00 am PDT by
Following a couple of leaks in recent weeks, Beats today is officially announcing four new colors for its Powerbeats Pro wireless earphones: Spring Yellow, Cloud Pink, Lava Red, and Glacier Blue. The new earphones will go on sale June 9 and sell for the same $249.95 price as the existing color options. Aside from the colors, the new Powerbeats Pro models are otherwise identical to the...

Apple Making It Harder to Avoid Nagging macOS Update Notifications

Thursday May 28, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
With the release of macOS Catalina 10.15.5 and related security updates for macOS Mojave and High Sierra earlier this week, Apple is making it more difficult for users to ignore available software updates and remain on their current operating system versions. Included in the release notes for macOS Catalina 10.15.5 is the following:- Major new releases of macOS are no longer hidden when...

8 Mac Tips and Tricks You Might Not Know

Friday May 29, 2020 12:36 pm PDT by
There are tons of hidden features and shortcuts for Macs that Apple has built into macOS over the years, ranging from shortcuts to keyboard commands to other little hacks to make Mac usage just a bit simpler. In our latest YouTube video, we highlighted several of these tips and tricks, and some of them might just be new to you. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Tr...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.5 With Battery Health Management Features, Fix for Finder Freezing

Tuesday May 26, 2020 1:59 pm PDT by
Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.5, the fifth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October 2019. macOS Catalina 10.15.5 comes two months after the launch of macOS Catalina 10.15.4, which introduced Screen Time Communication Limits. macOS Catalina 10.15.5 is a free update that can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the...

Top Stories: macOS 10.15.5, New Powerbeats Pro Colors, iPhone 12 and 13 Rumors, and More

Saturday May 30, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
This week saw an interesting mix of news and rumors on the Apple front, led by the release of macOS 10.15.5, which brings a new battery health feature to newer Mac notebooks, while we also saw the official announcement of new colors for the Powerbeats Pro earphones. On the rumor front, we heard a few tidbits about not just this year's iPhone 12 but also next year's iPhone, while we saw...

More Photos and Video of Apple's Redesigned Leather Loop Watch Band Surface

Thursday May 28, 2020 10:50 am PDT by
Images of a new version of the Leather Loop that Apple appears to have in development surfaced yesterday, and today, Vietnamese site Tinhte.vn has shared additional photos and videos that give us a clearer picture of what to expect from the new band. The bands come in colors that include red, hot pink, blue, black, and brown, with some of the bands featuring different colored accents at the...

Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box Gains HDR10+ and Dolby Vision Support, Plus Siri Voice Control

Thursday May 28, 2020 12:00 am PDT by
The Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box is receiving a major update today, introducing much-desired features like HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support. Designed by Signify as part of the Philip Hue line of lights and accessories, the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box is designed to let Hue users sync their lights to their home entertainment systems. One of the major complaints about the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box ...

APFS Bug in macOS 10.15.5 Catalina Impacts the Creation of Bootable Backups

Thursday May 28, 2020 3:47 am PDT by
An Apple File System bug has been discovered in macOS 10.15.5 Catalina that can prevent users from making a bootable clone of their system drive, according to the creator of Carbon Copy Cloner. In a blog post on Wednesday, software developer Mike Bombich explained that the CCC team had uncovered the issue in the Apple File System, or APFS, when attempting to create a bootable backup in a...