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iPhone 7 May Be Waterproof, Feature Redesigned Antennas

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A fresh set of rumors about the iPhone 7 is out, and this time the rumors deal with the design of the chassis. It sounds like Catcher Technologies will continue to be Apple’s biggest supplier of iPhone casings and that the chassis for next year’s iPhone 7 lineup will be waterproof and cover up the ugly antenna lines that appeared first in the iPhone 6 lineup.

iPhone 7 May Be Waterproof, Feature Redesigned Antennas

Catcher Technologies to supply iPhone 7 components

This latest set of rumors comes from Joseph Tsai of DigiTimes, who cites a report from the Commercial Times, a Chinese language newspaper. The newspaper claims that Catcher Technologies will still be the biggest supplier of chassis for Apple’s iPhones, citing a research firm for the information.

The newspaper also states that the iPhone 7 is rumored to be waterproof and is expected to “use new compound materials to hide the antenna,” reports Tsai. Catcher is expected to provide between 30% and 35% of the chassis shipments for next year’s iPhone lineup.

Apple to change the antenna?

The bit about using “new compound materials” to cover up the ugly antenna lines on the back of the iPhone is particularly interesting. We have seen an iPhone 7 concept which suggested a design in which Apple hides those antenna lines, which people started complaining about immediately after the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant unveiled the iPhone 6.

However, that was just a concept designed by an artist who also suggested that Apple might include Beats Audio components in next year’s iPhone lineup. This rumor from the Commercial Times regarding the antenna redesign is the first time we are hearing that the company might actually eliminate or cover up those much-hated lines.

Will Apple really use new materials in the iPhone 7?

Apple Insider‘s Roger Fingas notes that the inclusion of new materials in next year’s iPhone lineup could be consistent with past rumors we’ve heard about a metallic chassis instead of an all-aluminum frame. New materials might enable Apple to cut the bill of materials for the iPhone, which would be great not only in the long term but also in the short term (for the iPhone 7 specifically when production on it is ramped) because typically the bill of materials is higher for the non-“S” iPhone models because they usually bring a significant redesign.

Changing some of the materials might also enable Apple to improve the smartphone’s structural stability, suggests Fingas. The company did change up the material for the iPhone 6s lineup to 7000-series aluminum to make the chassis tougher, but it’s believed that this raised the bill of materials.

Waterproof iPhone 7 rumor pops up again

We’ve been hearing persistent rumors that Apple will make the iPhone 7 waterproof for quite some time now, but it’s important to note that people have been saying that we will see waterproofing on the iPhone for years. In fact, in late September following the commercial release of the iPhone 6s, there were reports of indications that the smartphone is at least somewhat waterproof due to the addition of gaskets and other new internal seals, perhaps even warranting the adjective “water-resistant,” although Apple never marketed the iPhone 6s lineup as water-resistant.

Because it appears that the iPhone 6s already has some water-resistant features, a waterproof iPhone 7 would be the next logical step, lending some credence to the rumor this time around. This could be much easier said than done though. Apple would have to tweak the design significantly by adding a lot more gaskets to seal off the buttons, switches, and ports in order to make the entire smartphone waterproof instead of only making some components water-resistant, notes Fingas.

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