We’re only a few months into the iPhone 7 sales cycle, but speculation continues to grow about what Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will release next year.
The iPhone 8 will represent the 10th anniversary of Apple’s smartphone business, and it’s the first release in the new three-year product cycle.
Of the many rumors, it’s looking more and more likely that the iPhone 8 will be made almost entirely of glass.
Wireless Charging: The Latest Glass iPhone Factor
MacRumors reported on a new research note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo — a man known for frequently getting it right when it comes to Apple product predictions. Kuo adds another piece to the growing evidence that Apple is moving toward an iPhone 8 that is all glass, front and back.
It’s been suspected for some time that the company has been pushing toward wireless charging for the new iPhone. There have been reports that China’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd.-ADR (OTCMKTS:HNHPF) — Foxconn to most people — has been testing wireless charging solutions for Apple.
Although it dismissed the technology when it first started showing up on Android smartphones several years ago, Apple adopted wireless charging when it released the Apple Watch. However, one of the downsides to wireless charging is that it can be inefficient when used with metal-back devices.
Consumers may think being able to charge their smartphone without plugging it in is cool, but quickly grow frustrated when it takes so much longer to charge the battery this way. As Wired points out, one of the key reasons Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) abandoned wireless charging in its latest Nexus and new Pixel Phone smartphones (after offering it in earlier models) was the lengthy recharge times with current metal-cased phones.
In Kuo’s research note, he suggests that Apple wants wireless charging in the iPhone 8 and that switching from metal to an all-glass case will allow much faster recharging times. In other words, there’s now a practical reason for an all-glass iPhone, not just the design preferences of Apple’s Jony Ive.
Wireless Charging May Cost Extra for Some
Not all new iPhone owners may be able to take advantage of the feature — at least not without shelling out a few more bucks to AAPL. Kuo raises the possibility that for 2017, AAPL may include the wireless charger with some new iPhones, but not all.
Every iPhone 8 would have wireless charging support, but to use it, buyers of the entry level models would have to purchase the charger itself, separately. That’s been the norm with many Android smartphones that offer wireless charging capability, and Apple has never been shy about charging its customers for profit-padding accessories. The new MacBook Pro and its saga of USB-C dongles is the most extreme example of this strategy.
As always, this latest note by Ming-Chi Kuo is speculation. He has a very impressive record so far as calling these things, but it’s early in the game and AAPL could choose to go a different direction with its new iPhone.
Facing declining iPhone sales, however, it’s a pretty safe bet that Apple intends to make a big splash with the iPhone 8. An all-glass iPhone with wireless charging would likely have people lining up outside Apple Stores, just like the old days.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.