Xbox One X inside

The latest Microsoft 2017 home game console, the Xbox One X, which features major hardware upgrades focused on enabling games to be rendered at 4K resolution, it’s really impressive, with a SoC of 6 Tflops power from AMD, 12GB GDDR5 and 1TB of inner storage.

Microsoft_Xbox_One_X_000

Really paves the future for the coming years, and faces face to face with its next and closest competitor, Sony’s PS4 Pro (with 4.2 Tflops).

Their acclaimed game controller, due its ergonomy and good response, can be also color tailored, and this Volcano Shadow Special Edition really looks pretty good:

Microsoft_Xbox_One_X_Volcano_controller

And for curiosity, you take a take a close look inside:

Xbox One X Console Explode Dark Gray

And there, you can easily identify the big efforts in RF shielding, Thermal management and board size optimization.

Apple iPhone X Design Evo

This year, and after ten years of iterations, Apple exceptionally released at same time two new devices: iPhone 8 and iPhone X (three if we count the 8 Plus variant).

iPhoneX_iPhone8_iPhone8Plus.jpg

We can really identify an evolution and a polish of their industrial design in the current most iconic product line as it is the ‘iPhone’.

Sir Jony Ive made several movements in material selection along the years:

  • iPhone 2G (soft Aluminium) [2007]
  • iPhone 3G (Polycarbonate) [2008]
  • iPhone 4 (Steel frame with back glass)  [2010]
  • iPhone 5 (Alum Series 6000)  [2012]
  • iPhone 6s (Alum Series 7000)  [2015]
  • iPhone 8 (Alum 7000 frame with back glass strengthened [but not shatterproof])
  • iPhone X (Steel frame with back glass strengthened [but not shatterproof]) [2017]

The iPhone 4 made the first milestone, introducing a precious design based solely on noble materials such as Glass and Steel:

iPhone4S

The users have seen the polishing of the original iPhone industrial design, making it Better, more simple, robust and elegant along the last years.

One step further, Apple introduced a fully unibody alum case making the device (iPhone 5) even more robust against falls and over time, and reaching the maximum expression of inner specs and nice design with the still available iPhone SE (2016). And still pretty loved small and handy 4″ screen iPhone for single hand usage.

iPhoneSE_Flying

But I would say this was until 2014 with the iPhone 6 introduction. It became slimmer and rounded but the introduction of the Back Camera Turret destroyed the beautiful job done until the iPhone 5s. I can understand the engineering trade-off’s and Apple’s eagerness to continuously improve its photographic system; but that doesn’t mean that the final solution was pretty inconvenient in terms of simply ID.

iPhone6s_flying

And in 2014 year, also the iPhone 6s Plus (the bigger iPhone made until today) was also presented, which due its size, also explained the fact of making the device thinner and rounded (despite the back turret); to avoid a feeling of having a mastodon in the hands of the end user.

iPhone6s

Personally, I have been a really fan lover of the Plus FHD 5.5″ screen, despite the fact that the overall device size was never as handy as other more compact smartphones with 5,2″ FHD screens. So, I was also always waiting to what happen this year with the iPhone X, a more compact device with a massive screen.

You can see how the 4″ size is not enough anymore nowadays, and how the design of the iPhone X with bigger screen fixed it (compared with also iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models):

iPhoneSE_iPhone7_iPhone8.jpg

But coming back to the desing of the device itself, I would like to remark several things.

I was not a big fan of losing the 3.5″ analog audio jack (although, I think is a good movement to push the market to improve the wireless earbuds developments), but the iPhone 7 (2016) fixed several design holes of the previous generations.

iPhone7

First of all, the black matte color came back and due the new alloy and treatment processes, it was stronger against scratches, just perfect!

Secondly, the back camera turret design was embraced with the whole housing design, making of it something Smoother and Flowing more naturally to the lens, not like a ‘nut’ screwed into the housing. Look at it:

iPhone7Plus.jpg

Third, the plastic lines embedded in the housing for the RF antennas, were delicately re-designed and pushed to the side borders to go undetected. So beautiful and handy engineering trade-off solution, again very well done in both black color variants.

And last, but not less important, the Touch ID mechanical push button was fully removed, but keeping perfectly its functionality! I really love this change. Because it eliminated a mechanical piece, more or less delicate, and with a certain tendency to break with time, even maybe being very careful with it.

This made the most robust, powerful and reliable iPhone device until today.

But unfortunately, the history doesn’t end here, and in 2017 iPhone 8 and X, Apple decided to came back to back glass covers.

iPhone8_iPhoneX_iPhone8Plus.jpg

I understand the reasons behind for this movement: Inductive Charging feature introduction; as the main trend of Apple is to make its iPhone an fully ubiquitous device and fully cable loss dependent.

But this doesn’t mean that this marketing and engineering decision hard a tough impact in the design.

Now, we are again having a ‘nut’ embossed in the glass:

iPhone8.jpg

Which is even worse in the iPhone X, which straight turret is above 1mm height:

iPhoneX_flying.jpg

On top of that, the new “Space Gray” 2017 tone, is not dark/light enough gray, nor black, but some kind of slighly ‘ugly’ and a bit ‘dirty perception‘ gray tone, which makes it lose all the magic to the device. In the photos is not clearly noticeable, but in live it is, and loses many points in its favor; go to a shop and take a look yourself if you have the opportunity.

Another detail is that Apple bring back the frame made in Steell to the iPhone X (to differentiate further from iPhone 8), but I believe that the Alum alloy series 7000 continues being the best approach in terms of Hardness, Durability and Compensated weight for metal usage in smartphones:

iPhone8VSiPhoneX.jpg

And the worse is that the new back cover made in glass, and even reinforced, it is not shatterproof against falls. What, together with the higher back camera turrets, will make the need to use a cover more necessary than ever before, and not due the possible scratches of daily use, but to avoid instability on flat surfaces and possible glass breakages against falls.

Another problem of usability and perception is that the rear glass (despite being less slippery than the metal) is too warm and gives the impression of being cheaper and more bad than it really is; as it gives the feeling of being some kind of plastic material instead of glass, and not a premium material, something that back metal actually transmitted to the end user much perfectly.

iPhone8_Gold.jpg

Nor does it give it a feeling of being a Monolithic device, something that the previous iPhone 7 Jet Black model transmitted much better, despite its inherent problem of being prone to scratches or micro abrasions after some daily usage without any cover.

iPhone7_Jet_Black.jpg

I also personally think that the decission to avoid a black variant in 2017 was to avoid any possible reminiscences with the old iPhone 4 and any kind of annoying comparison with an obsolete device of seven years ago. Although another possibility is that Apple has a silver bullet for next year minor update, and they would introduce the Pure Black in the iPhone 2018 as a variant novelty, we’ll see. As this also happened in the past.

So, as conclusion, even if this year new devices are really great iPhones (I have not any doubt about it) and I know for sure that Apple will make another hit of sales; they didn’t move a step forward with respect pure to Industry Design, but management decided to focus on offering a truly exceptional photographic experience, putting aside the aesthetic details; at least until R&D can find a viable technical solution that puts everything all together: Photography + Wireless + Design

To end, my wish would be that in next years iPhone milestones, Apple solves the engineering issue for the wireless charging (keeping it, of course) but changing the back material to something more robust for daily use and without hiding its great industrial design under a case: Aluminum again, another metal alloy or maybe even any innovative material (a new kind of ceramic?); and also the back camera it becomes again completely flat maintaining all its spectacular functionalities 😉

P.S. By the way ,I did not want to put too much emphasis on the iPhone X’s notch (Face ID), or ‘ears’ as some people call them:

FaceID_TrueDepth-iPhoneX_a

because the idea (True Depth cameras technology) has been implemented in a so sublime way taking into account all the engineering trade-off’s, look by yourself the inners complexity (8 tiny and extremely complex electronic components putted together in a row and perfectly alligned along the millions of units to be made):

FaceID_TrueDepth-iPhoneX_b.jpg

This is again a big step ahead in the consumer electronics in terms of strong seamless security system; and anyone can not, and should not, neglect all the merit behind to bring it to market; because it is another milestone in the smartphone industry, as it was the Touch ID at 2012. And I know that Apple UX team will find the best balance (maybe after few iOS iterations) to use those couple of ears to simply show useful information to the user without making ugly the whole interface always, adapting them depending of the app being used, and without bringing back a useless bottom black band just to simply offer a full symmetrical design, which will again wrongly oversize the device, making it less handy.

Apple HomePod – Breaking Barriers

After sometime waiting something new from the big Apple, they surprised us again with a new product line to compete face-to-face with Google and Amazon.

Apple_HomePod_001

But in this case, it is slightly different. From CPU side, it is so powerful as an iPhone 6, as it uses the Apple A8 as main core. And from sound point of view, its woofer and seven-tweeter array disposed in 360º, will be able to cover perfectly a big room.

One of the cool things, besides Siri interaction is that this “smartspeaker” can be palced anywhere in the room, as it automatically analyzes the acoustics, adjusts the sound based on the speaker’s location, and steers the music in the optimal direction. Whether HomePod is against the wall, on a shelf, or in the middle of the room, everyone gets an immersive listening experience.

And from its inners, we can see again its delicious and exquisite arrangement of components:

Apple_HomePod_003

Something really amazing for what many people will consider only as a speaker:

Apple_HomePod_002

And of course, available in two different colors: Black and White, so finally an awesome and nice smart speaker which  you want to place in any spot of your room so that it looks good, and not to go unnoticed, quite the opposite. 😉

Samsung Gear 360 (Looking inside)

It looks like 2016 will be the year of Virtual Reality explosion phenomenom and general availability for everybody, and not only for consumption of contents (glasses), but also for creation.

Samsung360_Proyect_Beyond_000a

And being a market that nobody wants to neglect, Samsung seems that will present they first product, interballly called as “Proyect Beyond” (started at 2014) but commertially as Samsung Gear 360 (SM-C200) in the next MWC 2016.

Samsung360_Proyect_Beyond_000b

It looks like very promising although the price is still not disclosed.

And we look inside, we can see the level of complexity that this “16 Full-HD + 1 Top camera” implies:

Samsung360_Proyect_Beyond_000c

In the next images you can take a look of how it is build and all its inners parts. It looks like its assembly/dis-assembly will not be easy:

Samsung360_Proyect_Beyond_001

Being though as portable system, Samsung engineer’s had to add up to 3 battery packs at bottom side:

Samsung360_Proyect_Beyond_003

And thermically speaking, a big aluminum plate on top of the PCBA and cameras to dissipate the heat:

Samsung360_Proyect_Beyond_004

We can also see the Ultra Wide-Angle Optics, composed by several lens, in each of the cameras:

Samsung360_Proyect_Beyond_005

Then, after last year first aproach to VR from vendors, proposing their high resolution high-end smartphones screens to main screens for the VR glasses, this year, many user will be able to create their own VR videos and share them all over the world.

Ad here a prototype used for first Samsung field tests:

Samsung360_Proyect_Beyond_006

Let’s see how the people surprises us with their inner VR creativity! 🙂

Sega Mega Drive – 25th Anniversary

The electronics evolves by leaps and bounds, but today, 25 years ago, the first 16bits home console reached Europe.

It was the SEGA Mega Drive, a console which stills today have a cool and smooth mechanical design:

Sega_Mega_Drive_16bits_000

But what you can find even more interesting are its internals, look in next photo its inner mother board:

Sega_Mega_Drive_16bits_001

As you can see most of the IC’s were still through-hole devices, being the main CPU and GPU the only ones SMD chips; which were also even designed in-house, and some patch wire-wrapping too! 😀

Those days are already gone, but I still feel somewhat nostalgic when I look at this pre-historic electronics for someones 😉

Smartphones, Premium Materials,… and Cases?

Since the first smartphones with premium materials were released in the market with Glass, Metal, Leather, Wood, … I realized that something was changing, making these devices more personal, more human, and less commodity parts.

But since then, many smartphones models and manufacturers have joined the party, but most of them still have the same problem.

We still need to use (or are adviced to do it) a case or protector in case we can keep our daily devices as new as first day:

Samsung_S6_case

This is something that I really don’t understand and don’t like at all; which is the purpose of adding strengthen Glass front or back panels, Metal frames of even full metal unibody housings if at the end the feeling that I will have in my hands will be the touch of a soft, and common plastic?

Well, the good thing, is that I am not the only one realizing this situation, and some market players, as Apple and Jony Ive team, already began to solve it. But how, simply using more robust materials in their creations, as the latest iPhone 6s, which uses the strongest 7000 Series aluminum alloy for metal body and the strongest cover glass used on any smartphone in the world; using a special dual ion‑exchange process, which makes it stronger at a molecular level and the most durable in the smartphone industry.

iPhone6s

Of course, the research is still not over. I believe that current metal alloy is strong enough to avoid scratches and floor impacts, and even the screen is already strengthen to don’t worry anymore about having your keyrings and iPhone’s in the same pocket. Anyhow, even if I am not fully convinced about the total reliability of the front cover glass against floor fallings, I believe that Cupertino guys are going in the right direction and next iPhone generations (as the next iPhone 7 – 2016) and next ones, will be even more roboust enough to avoid using no more cases neither screen protectors at all in normal user cases.

But, of course, not only Apple is working in that direction, also Moto by Lenovo did it with their first Moto X Force with Shattershield display:

moto_x_force_0

And Motorola is so proud and convinced about it that the company will offer 4 years warranty on the screen of the device, and claimed they have spent 3 years developing this shatterproof screen; which has five layers to ensure its durability and are designed to absorb shock and protect the display from breaking:

moto_x_force_1

Basically, the first layer is an exterior protective glass which Moto says comes with a proprietary hard coat designed to guard against dents and abrasion, followed by an interior glass in the second layer to provide a clear protective shield. Then, there is a dual touch layer, which ensures that in case of an impact where the primary touch sensitive layer is damaged, the second one takes over to maintain touchscreen performance. The fourth layer is the AMOLED display, which Moto says can absorb shocks. And finally the fifth layer is the aluminum chassis, which provides structural integrity and durability.

iPhone6s – One Step Ahead

After my old post (iPhone6s – ‘Dreams & Facts’ – 3 months ahead) where I was trying to predict which would be the new features of this year iPhone release, I think is time to talk about some of the changes and ‘surprises’ that we got.

One of the good changes was the change of aluminum alloy used in the housing, moving from previous 6000 series to stronger 7000 series. This was a very smart movement from Apple, because after introducing it on their Apple Watches, and with a year of experience manufacturing it, the iPhone user got a stronger housing which dissipates any trace of last year ‘Bendgate’ (which I personally think from my own experience was vastly exaggerated); and not only that, harder against tiny scratches.

This will be very interesting for all those users who like to enjoy the feeling of the raw metal in their hands without any case in between; but also who don’t want to care if they leave their expensive devices on any surface. Anyhow, due the inconvenient protrude camera, I’ll continue using a case, to have a fully flat back side.

A part of slighly heavier feeling (few grams due newer 3D Touch screen and Taptip Engine added), and few tens of millimeters increase in size, the users will not see any difference between the iPhone6 and newer iPhone6s housing.

For the most curious of the inners parts, we can see here a full exploid view of iPhone6s Plus:

iPhone_6s_Plus_Exploid_View

On top of that, Apple also renewed their SoC with a newer A9, faster and even more powerful that last year 64-bit A8.

It is never mentioned, but Apple also increased the inner RAM embedded inside the SoC up to 2GB (LPDDR4 type), something that most users were long time waiting for.

This upgrade finally aligns the whole mobile devices product line since last year first iPad Air 2 with 2GB:

  • iPhone6s / 6sPlus (2015): 2GB RAM
  • iPad mini 4 (2015): 2GB RAM
  • iPad Air 2 (2014): 2GB RAM
  • iPad Pro 1 (2015): 4GB RAM

The drawback of this change is that Apple made a turning point; and as they normally optimize the iOS and apps for current devices specs, all old models before 2014 could become obsolete (‘slow and sluggish as a brick’) in only one year cycle (next iOS10). Of course, only Apple has the last word about it; but the reality is that today the iOS9.0.2 becomes slower in (not so old) iPhone6/6Plus devices as many users are reporting.

And again, this is not all, it looks like we will have another ‘gate’ this year, and it will be the “ChipGate“:

iPhone6_A9_chips_Samsung_TSMC

I may understand that for a company as Apple, who sells tens of millions of new iPhone’s every year, to get the right supply chain alliances must be quite difficult; so this year Apple splitted the production of the newer A9 between TSMC and Samsung. This should not be an issue if they would use the same lithographic processes, but that was not the case (TSMC 16nm FinFET Plus, Samsung 14nm LPP (low-power plus) 2nd gen FinFET); which is one of the reasons of difference in silicon size of the above picture.

So, today we may find 4 types of “non-declared/selectable” iPhones on the shops:

  • N66mAP: iPhone 6s Plus with A9 chip manufactured by TSMC.
  • N66AP: iPhone 6s Plus with A9 chip manufactured by Samsung.
  • N71mAP: iPhone 6s with A9 chip manufactured by TSMC.
  • N71AP: iPhone 6s with A9 chip manufactured by Samsung.

Of course, the user cannot choose, neither select them, and after some intensive tests made, looks like the TSMC variant can provide around 25% more battery lifetime compared with Samsung variant; and even lower internal temperature rise.

After the whole debate created, Apple had to officially acknowledged it; but they argued that those huge differences are only in extreme test cases, not typical daily user cases:

“Our testing and customer data show the actual battery life of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, even taking into account variable component differences, vary within just 2-3% of each other.”

I am not fully agree with that as Different lithographic process are directed related to power consumption.

Today the iPhone6s/6sPlus is a extremely powerful machine (even already compared with Macbook Air’s performance), and Apple also promotes it as a portable video editing computer (to make and edit even 4K videos); then, I don’t find fair that for a so expensive product (up to $1000 for the full highest iPhone6sPlus 128GB model) some buyers will have to “play to lotto” to see if they get a Samsung or TSMC A9 inside.

Besides of that, I would share with your a couple of cool X-Ray pictures of the two models 😉 , there you’ll see below the battery big ‘block’ the new Taptic engines introduced this year; which reduced battery size with respect last year; but not battery expected lifetime due other systems improvements.

This is the iPhone 6s:

iPhone6s_xRay

And the iPhone 6s Plus:

iPhone6sPlus_xRay

As final though, regarding the iPhone 6s ChipGate of 2015, I only hope that Apple rectifies and for next year iPhone 7 (2016), they use a single SoC foundry or exactly the same lithographic process for all products made with coming A10 (and some sources already pointed to TSMC as main and only A10 source due their capability to offer a better power consumption and yield lithographic process).

Apple Watch – The difference lies in the Materials

Couple days ago was officially announced the Apple Watch, the first iteration in a radical new Apple Product line: Watch(es) (From Sport ($349) up to Luxury items ($17.000))

There were many doubts finally clarified, but for me, the most important item which makes a difference against all the current smart-watches available in the market is not its inner electronics or OS ecosystem, but the materials development behind the curtains.
(Note that Apple doesn’t want to refer it as a “smartwatch” but simple as a “Watch”).

I will go one-by-one through them explaining what makes them so special:

ALUMINUM

Alum2
The Watch Sport will be made of an aluminum alloy, but not a regular Aluminum alloy. It is a new 60% stronger aluminum alloy (but just as light as regular 6000 series) doped with magnesium and zinc to increase its strength. It is a in-house customized version of the 7000 series aluminum alloy, which has highest strengths of any aluminum alloy. We don’t know the exact elements composition of this Apple Watch 7xxx alloy neither its temper grade, but probably Apple collaborated with some specialized metallurgic company to develop it. These 7xxx series are used in aerospace structures and some of them gets the term aircraft aluminum or aerospace aluminum. It is also used in high performance sports products, particularly snowboards and skis.
For instance, one 7xxx alloy variant called Titanal (composed by Aluminum, Zinc, Magnesium, Copper, Zirconium), and developed by AMAG – (Austria Metall AG) is also used in Consumer Electronics due its excellent properties. But this is not the only one, there are many others as the Alloy 7075.

The only issue with 7000 series alloy is that the corrosion grade is higher than 6000 series, to overcome it Apple applies a critical final step anodizing the entire design, sealing it against with a clear coat. In addition to protecting against corrosion, that coat acts as a barrier to scratches.
Now, you can see as Apple is again one step ahead in Aluminum Alloys usage compared for instance with newest Samsung Galaxy S6 metal phone (take a look to my previous post where I talked about it).

STAINLESS STEEL

Steel2
The Watch will be made of stainless steel, but again not ordinary Steel. This new Apple steel alloy is 80% harder, and less susceptible to nicks and scratches; it is the alloy 316L (for instance Rolex uses steel alloy type 940L in their watches). Apple started with a steel alloy known for its durability and corrosion resistance, but after metallurgic research and development they made it even stronger. So, through a specialized cold-forging process, it becomes up to 80 percent harder.

BlackSteel

Moreover the space black version gets also a “diamond-like carbon layer“. In this case we have not so much technical details and we will have to wait for the first units to be tested by the end users.

GOLD

Gold2
For the most luxury version of the Watch, Watch Edition, Apple invented an entirely new form of gold just for it because gold is a soft metal, susceptible to nicks and scratches. Then, Apple metallurgists engineered an entirely new gold composite (molecules in Apple Gold alloy are closer together, using a novel compression process) that’s up to twice as hard as standard 18-karat gold.
In fact, Apple was granted the 20140361670 USPA patent in December 2014 for creating a “method and apparatus for forming a gold metal matrix composite.” This metal matrix composites allow manufacturers to create complex components, similar to 3-D printing, so Apple could be using this approach to make its special gold:

A metal matrix composite using as one of the components a precious metal is described. In one embodiment, the precious metal takes the form of gold and the metal matrix composite has a gold mass fraction in accordance with 18 k. The metal matrix composite can be formed by blending a precious metal (e.g., gold) powder and a ceramic powder, forming a mixture that is then compressed within a die having a near net shape of the metal matrix composite. The compressed mixture in the die is then heated to sinter the precious metal and ceramic powder. Other techniques for forming the precious metal matrix composite using HIP, and a diamond powder are also disclosed.

Then, after the Metals used, we can also briefly talk about the other external materials used in the three Watch case variants:

ZIRCONIA

Zirconia

Used for the back cover of all Watch models, it’s a type of ceramic non-conductive material, so the inner RF antenna’s (remember Apple Watch has also four wireless interfaces: GPS, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi) can perform perfectly without any interference from the top or bottom crystal surfaces. It’s also opaque, which eliminates cross-talk between the components of the heart rate sensor.

As curiosity, its manufacturing process begins by heating the zirconia at 2640 degrees Fahrenheit for over 30 hours. Once it cools, they incorporate the sapphire lenses of the sensor. Then Apple polish the entire back crystal with a grinding stone to an incredibly smooth, precise finish (with a surface roughness of just 3 nanometers) so that it feels comfortable next to the user skin. I find it quite impressive also 😉 .
The element on which this ceramic composite is based is the Zirconium, and the applications from its composites goes from Industrial Metallurgical furnaces, Ceramic Knifes, up to Space and Biomedical applications.

ION-X GLASS

IONX

The Apple Watch Sport will come with an Ion-X front glass, which is lighter than sapphire glass and contributes less to the overall weight of the device. The Ion-X material is an aluminosilicate glass that is “fortified at the molecular level through ion exchange, with smaller ions being replaced by larger ones to create a surface layer far tougher than ordinary glass.” This process creates a material that is resistant to both scratches and impact, which is a major advantage over Sapphire glass (9 Moh). Apple claims it is five times as strong as traditional soda glass, which is mostly silicon oxide (SiO2).

In fact, ionized glass is generally produced by Corning Inc. under the trade-name “Gorilla Glass” as you maybe already known as its typical used nowadays in most of high-end smartphones front/back panel glasses (on the Moh’s hardness scale Gorilla Glass is only around 6 to 6.5).

In the case of Gorilla Glass, this base material is doped by aluminum. It then undergoes potassium enrichment via a hot salt bath during manufacturing process.

SAPPHIRE GLASS

Sapphire

The Apple Watch and Watch Edition will come with sapphire glass. Sapphire is hardest, second only (9 Moh) to diamond (10 Moh) on the Moh’s hardness scale, and is extremely resistant to scratches. But sapphire’s Achilles heel is its brittleness, which makes it prone to fracturing on impact. This impact sensitivity is why Apple likely included sapphire in the most expensive Watch models that people will wear for fashion, and not for fitness as the Sport version.

Samsung Galaxy S6 will use different Aluminum 6XXX series alloy than iPhone6

After few weeks of iPhone 6 market release some users highlighted what was called as “Bending gate” case, basically they claimed that iPhone 6/6Plus were weak enough to blend easily in their pockets, and after so much fuss, Apple showed couple of videos of their internal Testing & Qualifying housing process (also against ‘bendings’) and made the following official statement:

Our iPhones are designed, engineered and manufactured to be both beautiful and sturdy. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus feature a precision engineered unibody enclosure constructed from machining a custom grade of 6000 series anodized aluminum, which is tempered for extra strength. They also feature stainless steel and titanium inserts to reinforce high stress locations and use the strongest glass in the smartphone industry. We chose these high-quality materials and construction very carefully for their strength and durability. We also perform rigorous tests throughout the entire development cycle including 3-point bending, pressure point cycling, sit, torsion, and user studies. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus meet or exceed all of our high quality standards to endure every day, real life use. With normal use a bend in iPhone is extremely rare and through our first six days of sale, a total of nine customers have contacted Apple with a bent iPhone 6 Plus. As with any Apple product, if you have questions please contact Apple.

I will not open the iPhone 6 ‘Bending’ housing debate again here, as I want to talk more about the new aluminum alloy that Samsung will use in their newer Galaxy S6 series high-end metal unibody smartphones:

Galaxy_S6_Frame

Samsung will use the Aluminum 6013 alloy, which as the other aluminum alloy 6XXX series is an alloy of Aluminum-Magnesium-Silicon. Moreover, the second number (a “zero”) denotes that the alloy purity is maximum without any kind of the change on it.

SiMgAl

Samsung claims this aluminum alloy is sturdier than the regular used in automotive industry and most of current days smartphones, also they say “that is an alloy used in aircraft industry”, but I want to highlight that 6013 alloy is not used in the inner structural parts of an airplane but in the external and visible parts.

Moreover, Samsung Mobile officially assured that “this alloy will not bend” (making an obvious nod to Apple), (at minute 1:18 of next YouTube video):

Which is something we need wait to test/see until first units are market released and some users begin playing with them and uploading videos in YouTube of their experiments.

I will also mention that even it is not officially stated in Apple iPhone 6 specifications, we think Apple used Aluminum 6003 alloy (at least in the beginning iPhone 6 batches of last year).

In Wikipedia, these alloys are not detailed described, but you can find some technical data of both these two alloys here:

  1. Aluminum 6003 Alloy
  2. Aluminum 6013 Alloy

Where if you look in the Applications section of each one, you will notice that 6013 alloy is used in harshest environment products than 6003 version.

I don’t know why Apple exactly selected 6003 iso 6013 (or other from 6XXX series), but they should have their good reasons: Technical limitations, Manufacturability issues (DFM), Costs or Production capability from their vendors?

Only Apple knows, but looking the figures, it seems that 6013 is an sturdier alloy than 6003, so probably Samsung is right using 6013 in their newest high-end smartphones.

Anyhow, I am pretty sure that Apple will improve the strength of their current/coming iPhones doesn’t matter the way:

  1. Maybe also moving to 6013 alloy without letting us know (and if the change is impossible to be noticed by end user, maybe it is already done in latest iPhone6 batches without being officially announced; if not maybe reserved for coming iPhone 6s as new feature).
  2. Maybe keeping 6003 alloy but changing the Temper grade used (we also don’t know which one is currently used by Apple housing manufacturing process).
  3. Or simply strengthening the weak area where the housing was blending (near the volume buttons housing hole) with more/bigger/thicker steel/titanium insertions, as it is already done in other sides of the housing to keep it slim, lightweight and robust as Apple stated.

I.e. You can see below where are those inner metal inserts located inside iPhone 6 Plus (first 2014Q4 batch) in these photos:

iPhone6_Inserts1

(The blue highlight is the Volume area where even having an insert, it seemed to be the weakest against pressure exerted)

iphone6_inserts21b

You can see those inserts are basically steel/titanium flat metal pieces directly screwed in the housing of iPhone 6/6Plus.

In any case, this time I am sure of the good & high housing quality of both products: Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6.