“Apple Inc. has decided that it will change iPhone casings from metal to glass to differentiate itself in the saturated global smartphone market in 2017, according to Allen Horng, chairman and chief executive of Catcher Technology, a key supplier,” Cheng Ting-Fang reports for Nikkei. “There has been media speculation that the Taiwanese metal casing maker will lose Apple business next year to China’s Biel Crystal Manufactory and Lens Technology, which already supplies glass screen covers for iPhones.”

“‘As far as I know, only one [iPhone] model will adopt glass casing next year,’ Horng told reporters after the annual shareholder meeting on Thursday. ‘I don’t think this move will have an impact on Catcher’s revenue as glass casing still needs a durable metal frame which requires advanced processing technology and would not be cheaper than the current model,'” Ting-Fang reports. “Horng said there will be no Apple handsets using glass-only casings without metal frames next year.”

“Catcher is now deciding whether to supply smartphone makers in China to mitigate the risk of Apple’s move to glass casing,” Ting-Fang reports. “One reason for Apple to phase in glass casings is pressure on Chief Executive Tim Cook to improve sales by making iPhones more distinctive, according to Jeff Pu, an analyst at Yuanta Investment Consulting. ‘Apple’s decision would definitely hurt Catcher while giving a major boost to Biel Crystal Manufactory and Lens Technology,’ said Pu.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Make that “former Apple supplier.” Well, if Steve were alive.

Now, is this “glass” Gorilla glass or is it bulk metallic glass (as in: Liquidmetal) or both?

The timeframe would be right for Apple to begin using Liquidmetal in earnest.

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

SEE ALSO:
Apple granted key U.S patent for Touch ID fingerprint recognition integrated into Multi-Touch display – May 18, 2016
Apple supplier LG Innotek embeds fingerprint sensor into display – May 4, 2016
Why the 2017 iPhone will be made of Liquidmetal – April 18, 2016
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple’s 2017 iPhone to feature new ‘all glass’ enclosure – April 18, 2016
Professor behind Liquidmorphium Turing Phone invests in Liquidmetal, named to Board, enters into cross-licensing agreement – March 14, 2016
3D fingerprint sensors under Gorilla Glass may let Apple kill iPhone’s Home button – July 21, 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
Apple working on eliminating the Home button on iPhone, iPad, sources say – June 22, 2015
Two new Liquidmetal patent filings from Apple revealed; list watch and jewelry among potential uses – April 23, 2015
Apple files for patent to move Touch ID fingerprint scanner from home button to display – February 9, 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