iPhone 7 design rumours: Non-metal body
We therefore expect to see a metal body (or similar) being used for the upcoming iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
The Weibo source who spills the beans on Apple's waterproofing tests in our new features section also reckons that the iPhone 6s & 6s Plus will be the last iPhones to be made of metal. The iPhone 7 will have a chassis made of something else.
But made of what? We don't know. Although liquid metal, ceramics, plastics and sapphire have all been thrown around as possibilities. We find it odd that Apple would ditch its metal design so soon after upgrading to 7000-series aluminium, but radical design changes cannot be ruled out for a full-number iPhone update, and as mentioned above a report from Business Korea in February seems to suggest that ceramic is indeed a possibility.
Update 19 April 2016: Trusted KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported to 9to5mac that Apple will adopt a full glass case and adopt an AMOLED screen in 2017. Despite this not being a rumour for the planned iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, but rather the following version the iPhone 8 or iPhone 7s/7s Plus, it's still interesting to see the developments towards a ditched design which was present back on the iPhone 4/4s.
iPhone 7 design rumours: Curved wraparound screen
Update 29/03/2016: According to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has often correctly predicted upcoming Apple products - the analyst think the iPhone 7 or a new product-line within the iPhone 7 family could feature a curved 5.8in AMOLED screen. If this rumour is to be true, there would be an understandable shift from Apple to get rid of the headphone jack and produce a smartphone which is immediately distinguishable over its competitors.
We're into the realm of patents here, which we would generally warn readers means we're talking about developments that could easily end up appearing in a shipped product several years down the line or not appearing at all - Apple, like most tech companies, routinely applies for far more patents than it's ever going to use. But this one has actually been granted (it was applied for a few years back) so it could be reasonably close to reality.
Patent 9,146,590 refers to an "electronic device with wrap around display". And essentially it describes a curved screen that allows for more screen elements to be displayed without making the device significantly bigger. (Remember that the illustrations rarely represent what the designer has in mind. In theory the display could wrap entirely around the device, or at least extend over one edge like the Note Edge.)
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.