There’s no denying it: Apple loves to build beautiful things. Ever since the dawn of the iMac, Steve Jobs and the engineers at Cupertino have kept design, aesthetics, and form factor at the forefront of their gadgets, capturing a sense of minimalism and modern art. According to an IGN report, Apple has recently filed a patent that depicts an iPhone that is “manufactured from a single sheet of metal” as well as being ‘lighter and thinner than previous Apple devices.’”
Before we continue, it’s important noting that the patent itself bears no information that show it to be authored by anyone at Apple. Further to that, Apple usually levies its patents in the U.S. first, since Cupertino is where all of its engineers are currently stationed. This caveat in mind, let’s suspend disbelief and imagine for a moment that the patent in question is truly an Apple patent.
The metal body would feature an incredibly curvy, contemporary design, with “the bottom wall having a curved bottom surface, the side walls being rounded such that they form a curved side surface . . .”
You can take a look at the entire patent here.
The IGN article slates this new patent for use on the iPhone 5, but chances are, this patent is too new to be seen on thew 2011 iPhone. There is, however, the distinct possibility that we could see it implemented on the iPhone 6.
Apple has a track record for loving both metal and devices made from a single piece of anything. We know for a fact that Apple has partnered with LiquidMetal, who has developed an amorphous metal alloy that can be molded much in the same way that plastic is molded. While it seems unlikely that LiquidMetal will be used throughout the iPhone 5, it could very well debut with the iPhone 6. In addition, Apple’s unibody iMac design also proves that Apple likes the notion of a single, unibody chassis.
Adding to the seamless nature of this possible metal unibody iPhone 6 design is the lack of any any bezel. In section 007 of the patent, “The handheld electronic device includes at least a single single housing having a front opening and cover disposed within the front opening and housing without a bezel.” It would stand to reason that Apple would have to employ cutting-edge OLED technology to feature a screen that intersects the chassis with no bezel.
Apple would also have to overcome other design complexities if they were going to implement this single piece of metal design on the iPhone 6. For example, the need to add heat sinks and opening for external speakers could be daunting. However, the patent does make provisions for the speaker function: “an acoustic seal having a plurality of acoustic seal gaps that work in cooperation with the piezoelectric speaker to direct the sound produced by the piezoelectric speaker to a desired location in the small form factor portable hand held device, and an acoustic barrier arranged to prevent audible sounds leaking to undesired locations in the small form factor electronic device.”
A unibody iPhone 6 could also pave the way for wireless charging, wireless data transfer, and even bluetooth earbuds, so that the device would remain completely sealed. It may not even feature a home button.
Thanks to Mark from the iPhone 5 News Blog for the great tip. You’re the man!
What do you think? Can you imagine an iPhone 6 crafted by a single piece of beautiful metal, with no buttons, no ports, and everything wireless?
By Michael Nace