Apple using titanium for iPhone 14 would be interesting, but why switch?
Rumors starting swirling today that have Apple planning to move to titanium for future iPhones — specifically, iPhone 14. The rumors don't say which iPhone 14 models, but you have to assume it'll be the Pro models. That means Apple wants to switch from stainless steel to titanium. But why?
That's a very good question. Apart from titanium just being super cool, and Apple already using it on Apple Card and Apple Watch Series 6, what does it offer? Well, it's more expensive — but that's not really a benefit, is it?
The main reason I can imagine the switch taking place is simply the weight savings Apple could benefit from by doing so. My limited knowledge of titanium is that it's super strong, but also super light. It benefits from offering similar strength and rigidity to stainless steel but without the heft associated with Apple's current iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Another potential reason for the move could be for Apple to make thinner chassis thanks to the rigidity I just mentioned. More internal space means more room for batteries, chips, and the fairy dust that makes Apple's A-series chips so damned fast. Could Apple simply be trying to keep its iPhones from bending while still allowing for as much internal space as possible? Maybe — we'll probably need to wait for an iPhone 14 teardown to be sure.
My hunch is still that it's about the strength-to-weight ratio that something like titanium offers. There are downsides, sure. Cost is probably one of those and I'm crossing my fingers that we don't see a price hike because of that. I'm also quietly hoping that we'll see titanium return to the rest of Apple's products as well — imagine a titanium MacBook Pro and tell me people wouldn't quite literally throw money at Apple for that thing!
We have, of course, already seen titanium phones ship. The ill-fated RED Hydrogen One came in a titanium chassis and it looked stunning. Fingers, toes, and everything else crossed that Apple has some big plans for next year. But allow me to temper expectations somewhat — remember, titanium or not, the front and back of iPhone 14 will very likely still be glass. It'll still shatter when a piece of sidewalk so much as looks at it sideways.
Whether or not Apple decides to go with titanium next year, we can be pretty sure iPhone 14 will be the best iPhone ever!
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.
So why the stainless steel edges on the current pro iPhones make them a little less slippery (they still are VERY slippery imho), replacing these with titanium worries me.
I'm still dreaming of Apple spending more effort on finding other materials that work technically, look cool and are not slippery - so that I could dare to carry them 'naked'. But this would probably cannibalize case sales and the repair business.