The iPhone 13 isn’t even out yet, but rumor has it the iPhone 14 will bring some dramatic upgrades, including at least one high-end model with a chassis made of titanium alloy.
The news comes via a JP Morgan Chase analyst report, and the shift would mark one of the more significant design changes to next year’s iPhones. According to MacRumors, there are also two recent patent filings that lend some credence to the rumor. The first involves a way to give titanium a more glossy finish, while the other details an “oxide coating” to reduce fingerprints. Both address titanium’s weakness when it comes to consumer electronics—it’s too hard to easily etch and therefore not as visually appealing, and it’s a magnet for smudges.
This wouldn’t be the first time Apple’s used titanium. It’s why the Apple Card clanks so hard when you drop it, and it’s also used in certain Apple Watches. And while previous patents have hinted that Apple has been considering the material for future devices, thus far the company has stuck to aluminum and stainless steel for its smartphones. But Apple may want to make the jump now, because titanium is not only a stronger material, it also allows for a lighter device as you can use less of it.
The JP Morgan Chase report also echoes some of the other iPhone 14 rumors we’ve been hearing. Namely, the iPhone Mini is truly dead after this year, and the 14 lineup will have two 6.1-inch phones and two 6.7-inch phones. It also suggests that updates to the iPhone 13 won’t be quite as dramatic as what Apple’s got in store for the iPhone 14.
On top of replacing notches with hole-punch displays, Apple prognosticator Ming-Chi Kuo also says the 2022 iPhones will bring back Touch ID as an in-screen fingerprint reader. The JP Morgan Chase report notes that Apple views the 2022 iPhones as a “supercycle”—or a year when a bevy of new features entices more people than usual to upgrade their phones. See: Adding 5G to the iPhone 12 in addition to a redesigned body.
As always, rumors don’t always pan out and there’s still a while yet before the iPhone 14 will enter mass production. Still, given what we’ve heard so far, a titanium iPhone doesn’t seem too far off the mark.