Apple is rumoured to be swapping aluminum for stainless steel in the iPhone 8

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Tim Cook REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Apple will use stainless steel instead of aluminum for the so-called iPhone 8's metal frame, according to the latest rumour out of the company's East Asia supply chain reported by DigiTimes . (We first spotted it over on Apple Insider )

It would be the first time Apple has used stainless steel since the iPhone 4s, Apple Insider says, and the switch adds credibility to predictions that the iPhone 8 will feature a glass-sandwich design (glass at the front and back of the phone).

DigiTimes hasn't always been correct when it comes to reporting on Apple's future iPhone plans, but KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that stainless steel will be used for high-end models back in September, according to MacRumors.

Kuo said: "As stainless steel has a better look than aluminum and costs more, we expect only high-end new iPhone models to come with a stainless steel frame next year."

The latest rumour from DigiTimes, which cites Taiwanese sources, stems from reports that Apple has changed its supplier, placing orders for stainless steel iPhone casings with manufacturing partner Jabil, instead of its usual supplier Foxconn.

But this contradicts a report from MacRumors , which said Kuo believes that "Foxconn will be the sole supplier of high-end iPhone models next year as the exclusive manufacturer of the new stainless steel frame."

Last month, leaked manufacturing documents appeared to confirm a list of rumours about features of the next iPhone ( which could be named the iPhone 8 or the iPhone 10 ), and revealed that the Cupertino company is has codenamed it "Ferrari" internally.

iPhone 8 Ferrari AppleInsider Leaked images reportedly of Apple's next premium iPhone codenamed "Ferrari."

The rumours claim that Ferrari will feature an "AMOLED" panel - a new kind of OLED (organic light-emitting diode display) screen already used by Samsung - which would allow the phone to have a borderless, all-display front surface. And that the OLED screen would be mounted on plastic , suggesting that it might be curved.

Other rumoured features the documents mention include an "invisible" home button and wireless charging.

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