In a note to clients — as noted by MacRumors — analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the 2020 iPhone will have one feature asking to the iPhone 4 (pictured): a metal frame design.
He forecasts that the design will include a 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.” The “metal frame and 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,” he adds.
He adds that the cost of the metal frame and glass case will rise significantly, with a maximum increase of 50-60% and 40-0%, 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% and 20–30%, respectively.
The Sellers Research Group (that’s me) isn’t sure how to feel about this forecast. Starting with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X begin sporting a glass backing. This move was seen as an attempt to facilitate wireless charging. If the 2020 iPhone switches back to a metal casing, how would this affect wireless charging? On the other hand, one benefit of a metal backing is better durability.