Apple to switch up its manufacturing process for iPhone 8

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iPhone 7 black
Apple's making big changes for an all-new iPhone 8.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple will adopt a new manufacturing process to deliver an all-new form factor for iPhone 8, according to a new report. The next-generation Apple smartphone will use a stainless steel forging process for its metal frame as opposed to traditional CNC machining.

To celebrate the iPhone’s 10th anniversary this year, Apple is expected to give us a special refresh complete with curved glass, an OLED display, a new A-series processor, and more. To hold that curved glass together, Apple is reportedly developing a new steel frame.

“The metal bezel will be made of stainless steel using a forging process to enhance its sturdiness and reduce costs and manufacturing time,” reports Digitimes. The publication claims the frame will be manufactured by Foxconn and Jabil — the same suppliers that built the iPhone 4 chassis.

“Sources from the upstream supply chain pointed out that the cost of the forging process is 30-50% cheaper than the current unibody CNC machine process, while quality control is also more stable.”

It’s incredibly difficult for Apple to switch to new manufacturing processes due to the sheer number of devices it needs to build to meet consumer demand. But in this case, it seems like adopting a new one for iPhone 8 would be a win-win in the long run (if the report is true).

Apple’s other suppliers will benefit, too. Catcher Technology and Casetek, Apple’s existing chassis suppliers, are expected to be tasked with building “internal structuring parts” and refining the stainless steel frame after it has been forged.