iPhone 8 to feature stainless steel and glass design

Posted Apr 18, 2017 by James Walker
Apple is planning a major overhaul of the iPhone's design in recognition of the iconic smartphone's 10th anniversary. According to a report corroborated by multiple outlets, the highlights of the new design will be stainless steel sides and a glass back.
From left to right: the 5.5-inch iPhone 6s Plus  4.7-inch iPhone 6s and 4.0-inch iPhone SE
From left to right: the 5.5-inch iPhone 6s Plus, 4.7-inch iPhone 6s and 4.0-inch iPhone SE
Apple has been rumoured to be working on a radically different iPhone design for several months. References to a glass and metal chassis, similar to 2011's iPhone 4s, have previously circulated. Today, Bloomberg published a report adding credence to rumours from Japanese Apple news site Mac Otakara, claiming Apple's now exploring polished stainless steel to complete the phone.
The concept render developed by Mac Otakara sees the iPhone's front and back layered in edge-to-edge glass. The two faces are joined by sides formed from stainless steel, lending the handset a similar overall look to the Apple Watch. As per previous reports, the new design will only be used on the flagship "iPhone Edition." The rumoured iPhone 7s-series, also to be unveiled this year, will retain the aluminium backs of the current generation.
According to Bloomberg, the iPhone Edition's display will be slightly larger than the 5.5-inch panel currently used on the iPhone 7 Plus. However, the use of edge-to-edge glass means the complete handset will be little bigger than the 4.7-inch iPhone 7.
Apple will be following the lead of its Android-based competitors in cutting down the iPhone's historically large bezels. In a first for the company, it'll abandon its front-mounted home button altogether, instead using a software-based approach already favoured by most Android manufacturers.
Changes will be coming to Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensor too. It's thought Apple is attempting to integrate the sensor directly into the phone's screen, a challenging feat of engineering that Samsung failed to achieve with its Galaxy S8. The S8's fingerprint sensor is instead installed on the back of the phone. It's possible Apple may end up adopting this approach too.
Earlier rumours that the iPhone Edition will feature a curved display now appear to be unfounded. Bloomberg reports that while some initial prototypes of the device did include a curved OLED screen this has now been replaced with a flat panel. The glass on the back of the handset does taper inwards slightly towards the edges. It's thought the troubles faced by Apple suppliers in manufacturing curved screens at scale has prompted the decision.
With iPhone 8 anticipation now increasing as the number of weeks until September dwindles, Apple is heading towards the final stages of completing the new device. With the time until launch fast elapsing, the company will be close to finalising the iPhone's design. Although nothing's official until Apple takes to the stage, it looks like this year's iPhone will draw heavily on the looks pioneered by Apple's rivals and past devices.