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Next year’s iPhones could have a similar design to the iPhone 4, new report claims

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Ming-Chi Kuo reiterates that the devices will support 5G

The current iPhone design has remained broadly consistent since 2017.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Apple’s 2020 iPhones could feature a metal frame design similar to the one that was used for the iPhone 4 back in 2010, Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted. MacRumors was first to report on Kuo’s latest research note, which says that the phones’ “metal frame surface will be changed to a similar design to the iPhone 4, replacing the current surface design.”

Kuo, who has a good track record of predicting Apple’s announcements long before the company makes them official, previously indicated that next year’s iPhones will have an all-new design. However, he didn’t offer many details on exactly what this new design would be. Apple’s current phone form factor has remained broadly consistent since the iPhone X was released in 2017.

Compared to previous iPhones, the iPhone 4 had a more square-edged design. Apple has recently returned to this design on at least one of its products, the 2018 iPad Pro, which eschewed the curved edges seen on most of Apple’s other tablets. However, Kuo’s note mentions that the phone will still use glass with a slight curve in it on the phone’s front and rear, which is absent from the iPad Pro.

iPhone 4S hands on
The iPhone 4S from 2011.

However, the iPhone 4’s form factor famously fell prey to the antennagate controversy, which saw people lose cell reception if they held the device incorrectly, forcing Apple to give out free cases to solve the problem. MacRumors doesn’t explicitly mention whether Kuo’s note addresses the old controversy, but he says that the metal frame will be designed to minimize any impact the metal could have on the phone’s high-frequency transmission. Apple has also successfully integrated antennas into the sides of many of its more recent phones, suggesting its antennagate days are long behind it.

Kuo also reiterated that next year’s iPhones should support 5G. Earlier this year, Kuo predicted that all three 2020 iPhone models will support 5G. Previously, he predicted that the two OLED models would feature 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch displays, compared to the current sizes of 5.8-inches and 6.5-inches. There are also reports that Apple might release the phones with in-display fingerprint sensors next year, although Kuo has predicted that the technology won’t be ready until 2021.