This week, patent No. 8,773, 848 for the revolutionary Apple glass electronic devices was approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office. According to AppleInsider, the 29-page application contained several drawings; some of them representing not only the shape of an iPhone, but also the shape of external hard drives as well. Basically any Apple device should be provided with such an appealing glass shell.
For instance Apple presented a sketch of a media player with an all-glass housing, provided with either a colored or a transparent rear surface. “An electronic device [which] may have a glass housing structures. The glass housing structures may be used to cover a display and other internal electronic device components. The glass housing structure may have multiple glass pieces that are joined using a glass fusing process,” as explained in the patent.
What to expect from the upcoming Apple glass electronic devices
These shapes for Apple glass electronic devices are designed to be lightweight, yet very resistant. The fabrication process consists of fusing glass pieces together by heating them at high temperatures thus making joint lines almost invisible.
“Multiple planar glass members may be fused together to form a five-sided box in which electronic components may be mounted… Opaque masking material and colored glass may be used to create portions of the glass housing structures that hide internal device components from view.”
The inventors named on the patent are Peter Russell-Clarke, Michael Pilliod, and Apple’s design chief Jonathan Ive. The latter was considered by Steve Jobs to be his “spiritual partner at Apple.” On the other hand, he stated in March 2014 that Jobs was his “closest friend”, a person he finds it “odd and tough to talk about”, probably because “it doesn’t feel that long ago that he died.”
Ive is responsible for designing many of Apple’s products such as MacBook Pro, iMac, MacBook Air, iPod, iPhone, iPad and iOS 7. He has received a lot of recognition for his talent. For example, in1999, Ive was named by the MIT Technology Review one of the top 100 innovators in the world under age 35. In 2004 the BBC named him the “Most Influential Person on British Culture”. In 2003, he was the winner of the first ever Design Museum’s Designer of the Year Award.
This is not the first time Apple has made a play for glass incorporated in their devices. In 1998, the iMac “G3” is still famous for its plastic transparency and color. It was the first desktop that had its components, the monitor and the computer drive incorporated into the same device. “It’s certainly possible that we could see an all-glass iOS or Mac device someday. I wouldn’t rule out anything with Apple. But I wouldn’t expect this type of product any time soon based on a single patent filing,” said analyst Brian Colello.
Nevertheless this is not a particularly unusual thing for Apple. Glass has also been used for both iPhone 4 and 4S. They were provided with glass front and back panels with metallic edges. However this didn’t seem the best idea for them as they gave it up for iPhone 5 and 5s, which were built mostly out of metal with just a few glass panels. Not to mention the 5C with its appealing, yet not so successful plastic shell.
The Cupertino, Calif., company is known for its high-caliber product design and sudden changes of style. For their next iPhone model, that’s expected to be released this fall, it is said Apple will use metal along with an extremely durable screen made out of “sapphire crystal glass.” What’s known for certain, among other things, is the fact that iPhone 6 will be provided with a screen diagonal of 4.7 inches.