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.

2020 iphone triad
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.

white iphone 4

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
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

danny842003 Avatar
30 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)
fokmik Avatar
30 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)
iPadified Avatar
30 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)
picaman Avatar
30 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)
picaman Avatar
30 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)
atmc Avatar
30 months ago
I hope they keep the 5.8 size for the Pro model.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole thumb

ProMotion Now Expected to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro Models, Not Expand to Entire Lineup

Sunday January 16, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Continuing the tradition set with the iPhone 13 Pro, only the highest-end iPhone 14 models will feature Apple's ProMotion display technology, according to a respected display analyst. Ross Young, who on multiple occasions has detailed accurate information about Apple's future products, said in a tweet that ProMotion will not be expanded to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and will remain...
safari icon blue banner

Safari Bug Allows Websites to Track Your Recent Browsing Activity in Real Time

Sunday January 16, 2022 3:37 pm PST by
A bug in WebKit's implementation of a JavaScript API called IndexedDB can reveal your recent browsing history and even your identity, according to a blog post shared on Friday by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS. In a nutshell, the bug allows any website that uses IndexedDB to access the names of IndexedDB databases generated by other websites during a user's browsing session....
ipad air 4 video

New iPad Air Rumored to Launch This Spring With A15 Chip, 5G, Center Stage Camera, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 8:05 pm PST by
Apple is planning to release a fifth-generation iPad Air with similar features as the sixth-generation iPad mini, including an A15 Bionic chip, 12-megapixel Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage support, 5G for cellular models, and Quad-LED True Tone flash, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara. Citing reliables sources in China, the report claims that the new iPad Air could be...
Unlikely Products 2022 Feature

Six Rumored Apple Products You're Unlikely to See This Year

Saturday January 15, 2022 2:06 pm PST by
Much has been said about what consumers could see from Apple in 2022, but the company is also working on a handful of rumored products that aren't expected to be unveiled for at least another 12 months, and in some cases a lot longer. Of course, that's assuming they get released at all. Apple works on many potential products some of which ultimately never see the light of day. With that in...
AirPods Pro Gen 3 Mock Feature Red

AirPods Pro 2 Could Start a New Accessory Ecosystem

Friday January 14, 2022 2:34 am PST by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro could arrive alongside a new series of accessories, recent leaked images suggest. Alleged leaked photos of the next-generation AirPods Pro obtained by MacRumors showed a charging case with a metal loop on the side for attaching a strap. Apple has not used this design for any of its other AirPod models and it is unclear why it would be added in this...
netflix2

Netflix Again Raises Prices for All Plans, 4K Streaming Now $20 Per Month

Friday January 14, 2022 12:46 pm PST by
Netflix today updated the prices for its streaming plans, and all of its offerings are now more expensive. The Basic plan is now priced at $9.99 per month, the Standard plan is priced at $15.49 per month, and the Premium plan is priced at $19.99 per month. The Basic plan is $1 more expensive, up from $8.99 per month. This plan allows users to watch on just one screen at a time, and it limits ...
tesla carplay solution

Developer Showcases Apple CarPlay Workaround for Teslas

Monday January 17, 2022 7:24 am PST by
A Tesla Model 3 owner has resorted to a workaround to implement Apple CarPlay in his vehicle, amid no sign of official support from Tesla (via Tesla North). Apple CarPlay and Apple Music support are among the most-requested Tesla features, but with no indication that Tesla is willing to implement Apple CarPlay in its vehicles, Polish developer Michał Gapiński took matters into his own...
top stories 20220115

Top Stories: iPhone 14 Pro Rumors, iCloud Private Relay Controversy, iOS 15.2.1 Released, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 6:00 am PST by
Hole-punch? Pill? Hole-punch and pill? Rumors about what the front camera system on the iPhone 14 Pro will look like are evolving rapidly, and it now appears we might be getting a novel but potentially controversial design later this year. Other major stories this week included some confusion and controversy about iCloud Private Relay being disabled for some T-Mobile customers, increasing...