Major changes to the iPhone's form factor are reportedly in store for 2017 models including a curved body and a larger display.
KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a recent note to investors that Apple's 2017 iPhone will arrive with curved glass panels on both the front and back, somewhat similar to the "glass sandwich" that was the iPhone 4 / 4S. Glass is easy to mold and is said to facilitate thin-and-light form factor designs.
It's unclear, however, if the panels would be constructed of hardened glass found on earlier iPhones or the long overdue sapphire crystal. The latter could be a possibility as it would be an "exotic" material that could help differentiate the iPhone from the competition.
Elsewhere, the new iPhone will reportedly feature wireless charging and new biometric recognition technology (possibly iris and / or face scanning). Apple's larger iPhone is also said to be getting a new 5.8-inch AMOLED display which would be a bit larger than the 5.5-inch panel on today's flagship iPhone 6s Plus.
Assuming Kuo is correct, the changes would leave Apple in a particularly odd spot for this year's iPhone refresh. With last year being an "S" model refresh, most are expecting to see Apple launch an iPhone 7 this fall. Early rumors claim that device will ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of its Lightning jack, add waterproofing, adopt a larger battery and offer a 256GB local storage option.
If Apple is planning a total redesign in 2017, does that mean 2016's model will carry the same design it first introduced with the iPhone 6 in 2014? I mean, why redesign the iPhone 7 only to overhaul it a year later?