“A research note from HSBC (via TechRadar) suggests that [Samsung and TMSC] will not be competing again each other in the next iPhone, with TSMC potentially taking the complete order of A10 chips, likely to be the main driver of the iPhone 7,” Ewan Spence writes for Forbes. “The note highlights TSMC’s ‘integrated fan out’ packaging to allow for a stack of chips to be mounted on top of each other and then directly to the motherboard. That reduces the vertical height from the board, allowing for a thinner smartphone.

“The drive for a thin smartphone continues with Apple, so anything that can reduce the thickness of the internals will be seriously considered,” Spence writes. “This drive for thin components ties in with a number of indications from the supply chain that Jony Ive’s buzzword for the iPhone 7 is thin. Leaks such as the potential removal of the bulky 3.5mm headphone jack and a reliance on the lightning port for, moving the Touch ID sensor into the screen assembly, and dropping the 3D Touch screen from the smallest iPhone, all indicate that Apple’s R&D focus is about reducing component size. And recent presentations across Apple’s portfolio have all been focused on super-thin designs.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: At Apple, as has obviously been the case for many, many years, thin is in.

BTW, such thin devices would require an extraordinarily strong casing material in order to hold their form through everyday use (perhaps why Apple has continued working on Liquidmetal all these years).

I estimate that Apple will likely spend on the order of $300 million to $500 million — and three to five years — to mature the technology before it can used in large scale. — Dr. Atakan Peker, one of the Caltech researchers who invented Liquidmetal, May 2012

That said, as we wrote back in January:

Would you trade iPhone thinness for crazy battery life?

Apple is fairly obsessed with thinness.

iPhone models’ depth (thickness) and weight:
• Original iPhone:s 11.6 mm (0.46 in), 135 g (4.8 oz)
• iPhone 3G: 12.3 mm (0.48 in), 133 g (4.7 oz)
• iPhone 4: 9.3 mm (0.37 in), 137 g (4.8 oz)
• iPhone 5: 7.6 mm (0.30 in), 112 g (3.95 oz)
• iPhone 6 Plus: 7.67 mm (0.302 in), 172 g (6.1 oz)
• iPhone 6: 6.9 mm (0.27 in), 129 g (4.6 oz)

We just pulled an original iPhone out of a drawer. It’s not insanely thick feeling. It feels as nice in the hand as it always did – and the weight’s just fine, too.

We have a simple question: Would you opt for a thicker (and heavier, of course) iPhone if it gave you significantly (double or more) battery life?

The question is not if Apple will axe the 3.5mm headphone jack, but when – December 1, 2015
Apple rumored to replace 3.5mm headphone jack on iPhone 7 with all-in-one Lightning connector – November 30, 2015
Why Apple may axe the 3.5mm headphone jack – June 20, 2014
Apple may be poised to kill off the 3.5mm headphone jack – June 7, 2014
Apple may ditch analog 3.5mm headphone jack for Lightning to make thinner devices – June 6, 2014

Two new Liquidmetal patent applications cover every current Apple product, plus vehicle panels – October 29, 2015
U.S Patent office reveals four Apple patent applications involving Liquidmetal – October 22, 2015
No Home button? Liquidmetal body? What can we expect from next year’s Apple iPhone 7? – October 19, 2015
New Apple patents show continuing work on Liquidmetal – August 11, 2015
The Turing Phone is not made out of Liquidmetal – July 15, 2015
Why does Apple keep extending their partnership with Liquidmetal? – June 25, 2015
Apple extends Liquidmetal exclusivity deal through February 2016 – June 23, 2015
Two new Liquidmetal patent filings from Apple revealed; list watch and jewelry among potential uses – April 23, 2015
Liquidmetal’s Apple alliance yet to bear fruit – September 30, 2014
Apple’s new Liquidmetal-related patent sparks speculation – July 7, 2014
Apple patents method for embedding sapphire displays in LiquidMetal device chassis – May 27, 2014
Liquidmetal-Visser agreement paves the way for more rapid adoption of amorphous metal manufacturing – May 21, 2014
Apple extends Liquidmetal exclusivity deal through February 2015 – May 21, 2014

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]