While the upcoming iPhone 13 appears to be an incremental update, the 2022 model could be dramatically different, according to a new investors report from JP Morgan Chase.
As first spotted by MacRumors, the report claims that Apple will eschew its usual aluminium and stainless steel shells for a new titanium alloy chassis on the iPhone 14 Pro models. This would offer considerably more toughness, albeit at the cost of being a bit heavier in the hand. The move to titanium could point to a thinner design for the handset, as it would be a useful barrier against bending.
Switching to titanium wouldn’t be completely unprecedented for Apple from a design point of view either, as the company already uses the material in some of its Apple Watch 6 models. The Apple Card is also made of titanium – something that led to the company warning that leather wallets could cause discolouration.
While titanium has clear drawbacks, Apple appears to have made significant progress on mitigating them if its recent patents are anything to go by. The hardness of the material – the very quality that makes it hard to scratch – makes it hard to work with, but the company has a patent describing how a new blasting, etching and chemical process can improve that.
Equally, past titanium products show up the oil from fingerprints in a manner that’s distinctly unattractive, but Apple believes a thin oxide coating could put paid to that issue.
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Away from the materials involved, the report also corroborates Ming-Chi Kuo’s prediction that this year’s iPhone 13 will be the last outing for the underperforming ‘mini’ handset. The analyst previously stated that next year’s iPhone 14 will come in two sizes whether you get a Pro or regular model: 6.1- or 6.7-inches.