One of the disappointing aspects of the Apple iPhone 6 was the ‘bendgate’ controversy which dogged the otherwise commercially successful handset. This embarrassing tendency of the iPhone to bend out of shape garnered a huge amount of media coverage, and Apple will be wanting to avoid a similar eventuality when the iPhone 7 is released.
This was a particularly humiliating incident for Apple as the company has always been associated with extremely high class design parameters. Apple has made ensuring that its devices are the best design on the market its bread and butter, and such an oversight as bendgate, even on the relatively small scale which it was experienced, is not good for the image of Apple.
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Apple has never been a company to stand still, so there is no doubt that it will be addressing this issue when it releases the iPhone 7. But what will the consumer electronics giant put in place to prevent the issue arising again? The answer could be a sophisticated material which Apple intends to utilize in their production of this next generation smartphone.
The Taiwanese-language website Economic Daily News, which has close links to the Apple supply chain, has already reported that the company is working with its Series 7000 aluminum alloy with a view to including it in the iPhone 7. This would be a logical move for Apple, as the aluminum in question has already been utilized in the production of the Apple Watch Sport. And it is reputed to be stronger than the metallic elements which Apple presently utilizes in the construction of the iPhone.
According to proponents of the material, this particular alloy is 60 percent stronger than any other type of aluminum, despite the fact that it is also ultra-lightweight. The material is something of a phenomenon, considering that it is actually only one-third the density of stainless steel, but obviously considerably stronger than this material. It would appear that Apple could produce an extremely slim design for the iPhone 7, and still manufacture it by utilizing the advanced Series 7000 aluminum.
While many of us take smartphone technology for granted in this day and age, it is worth pointing out that all manufacturers of major smartphone technology are continually walking a tightrope. On the one hand, consumers expect devices to be continually upgraded and deliver increasing specifications and functionality. But on the other, this is an industrial niche in which design plays an incredibly important part in commercial success. There has been a mania to produce ever more compact and slimmer smartphones, and this has ultimately resulted in the bendgate controversy.
Bendgate is not the only physical problem that Apple has experience with its devices. It has been asserted for some time that the iPhone series is not as durable as other smartphones, and Apple has moved to attempt to address this with recent devices.
iPhone 7 to include sapphire glass
It is expected then that in order to advance this process still further that Apple will include sapphire glass in the iPhone 7. This is considered to be a considerably more durable material than the gorilla glass which Apple utilizes in the iPhone range at present. It is thought that by utilizing sapphire glass that the iPhone would become much more resistant to scratches, which would obviosuly be welcomed by consumers that want their iPhone purchases to remain pristine for as long as possible.
However, the usage of sapphire glass in the iPhone 7 is not guaranteed. It was continually rumored throughout the build up to the release of the iPhone 6 that sapphire glass would form part of its make-up. This rumor emerged due to the fact that Apple had bought up industrial quantities of the material in the lead up to the release of the iPhone 6.
But as it turned out, this was perhaps earmarked to some extent for the release of the Apple Watch, which does feature sapphire glass in its construction. However, the fact that Apple has included this material in its most recent smartwatch suggests that it could be included in the iPhone 7 this time out. Apple has clearly attempted to mark the Apple Watch out as a companion device to the iPhone series, and manufacturing both devices from the same material would obviously make commercial, logistical and aesthetic sense.
iPhone 7 release date to influence build
Another issue which particularly relates to the inclusion of sapphire glass and the ability of Apple to alleviate bendgate will be exactly when the iPhone 7 is released. Rumors increasingly suggest that this revolutionary device will be delayed until 2016, and that Apple will instead release an upgraded version of the iPhone 6, likely to be dubbed the iPhone 6s, later in 2015.
This would pose the question of whether Apple will utilize this state-of-the-art aluminum for the Apple Watch which launches in 2015, or whether it will delay this process until next year. Certainly Apple would not want any more unfavorable headlines about 2015 iPhones, but at the same time production deadlines might necessitate that this hi-tech material cannot be included in the iPhone range this time round.
Additionally, if Apple does delay the iPhone 7 until 2016, it will want to market the device as a truly next generation mobile. It will be far easier to do this if it features physical elements which have not previously been included in the iPhone.
So as Apple attempts to address the bendgate phenomenon, the notion that it will utilize sophisticated aluminum in order to do so will be one of many rumors attached to the smartphone. These presently include the possibility of extremely sophisticated camera technology being included in the iPhone 7, the inclusion of Force Touch, the notion of a curved screen iPhone, wireless charging, and the remote possibility that Apple will release a 4K resolution iPhone in the near future.
For the time being, Series 7000 aluminum can be chalked up to the list.