By David Goldman
PHILADELPHIA (CNN) — If the rumors are true, the next iPhone could be the most radically different yet.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is more often right than wrong with his Apple predictions, wrote in an analyst note this weekend that in 2017, Apple will introduce an iPhone with a curved front and back, wireless charging and a larger screen for the “Plus” model. Kuo’s note was first reported by Apple Insider.
Like the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, Kuo says the new iPhone will return to an all-glass enclosure, with both the front and the back made of the same material. Some iPhone owners disliked that look several years ago, noting that the back was prone to shattering and it was difficult to know which side was the front when pulling the phone out of a bag or a pocket.
Kuo says the move to glass will help to make the iPhone lighter than its aluminum iPhone 6S predecessor.
The glass will curve around the edges on both the front and the back, giving the iPhone an even more rounded feel than the iPhone 6S.
It’s unclear exactly how curved the glass will be. The popular Samsung Galaxy S Edge models have a slight curve at the very edge of the screen. But other phones, including the LG Flex, have had a much more noticeable curve.
The screen will also use AMOLED technology, which has been used in Samsung’s phones for years. AMOLED uses less battery, and it generally has blacker blacks, and whiter whites than the LCD technology that the iPhone has used for years.
And the “Plus” model of the phone will be bigger, with a 5.8-inch screen instead of the iPhone 6S Plus’ 5.5-inch dimensions.
As it makes its iPhones thinner, Apple is expected to be slowly getting rid of ports. The iPhone 7 has been widely rumored to be without a headphone jack (though Kuo made no mention of that in his note).
Though the Lightning port will almost certainly still be present on the iPhone 7 and iPhone, Apple is expected to introduce wireless charging to the new iPhone.
Many smartphones have wireless charging, though it hasn’t been widely adopted by customers. Starbucks has wireless charging pads in all of its coffee shops, and Ikea has embedded wireless charging in some of its furniture. But most people still plug in their phones to charge them.
Kuo says the new iPhone will have better biometric security, implementing facial recognition.
Facial recognition could be tougher to crack than the iPhone 6S’ Touch ID fingerprint reader, which security experts have been able to spoof. It’s easier to use too: with infrared cameras, all you’d have to do to unlock your iPhone is look at it — even in the dark.
Microsoft has put infrared cameras into its Surface tablets to provide corporate-grade facial recognition. It can’t be spoofed with a photo, since it takes a 3D image of your face.
iPhone 7 or 7S?
The iPhone that Kuo predicts isn’t expected to come out until 2017, so Kuo’s phone will likely be the iPhone 7S and not the iPhone 7.
But Apple typically refreshes its iPhone lineups every two years. Since the iPhone is due for a refresh this year, there could be some innovations that appear in the iPhone 7, which is slated for release this fall.
Among other correct predictions, Kuo correctly forecast the release of the four-inch iPhone SE this year.
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