iPhone 8 rumor rollup: Making the case for zirconia ceramics

Research report reveals Apple might keep dual-lens camera as high-end exclusive even in iPhone 8

iPhone 8 rumor rollup: Making the case for zirconia ceramics
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The hardest news out of Apple during its iPhone 7/7Plus and Apple Watch 2 extravaganza last week is that the company will release a version of its Apple Watch made from ceramic, which as Apple says, is "one of the hardest materials in the world." Speculation this week is that Apple might use some of that zirconia ceramic to build its iPhone 8, too. 

Why deal with messy Bendgate issues involving its aluminum-body iPhones when it can build its smartphones from stronger material?

Geek.com, citing Apple patents related to ceramic case designs, says that ceramic smartphones have the potential to be more scratch resistant than current models. What's more: "The most relevant benefit in the iPhone would be that zirconia ceramic is transparent to radio frequencies. There are antenna lines on the back of the iPhone allowing the signal to escape from the aluminum case. That wouldn’t be necessary with a ceramic phone."

Boy Genius Report cites a post on Quora in which Brian Roemmele, a self-described alchemist and metaphysician, explains why Apple will create its 10th anniversary iPhone primarily from ZrO2, or zirconian ceramics. BGR points to Roemmele's discussion of why zirconia ceramic might even be easier to mass-produce than you would think, and might work, whereas Apple's sapphire plan has not.


One perhaps disappointing bit of scuttlebutt, based on a fresh research report from the seemingly all-knowing KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, is that the dual-lens rear camera introduced in the new iPhone 7 Plus will likely remain a Plus feature with the iPhone 8 as well.

MacRumors, picking up on the report, says Kuo cites cost considerations and the perhaps niche nature of the technology as reasons for Apple not making the wide-angle and telephoto lens duo more broadly available. He does say that Apple could add optical image stabilization to the telephoto camera in 2017, whereas OIS has been included initially in the wide-angle camera initially.

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