Last year there was a rumor from JP Morgan Chase and covered by MacRumors claiming that the iPhone 14 Pro is expected to use a new titanium alloy chassis design. Apple's engineers have been working on the use of titanium in future Apple devices for some time. In fact, the first patent that we covered on the use of titanium goes back to 2017 in a report titled "Apple explores the use of Titanium, Titanium Alloys and Hybrid Plastics for Future Devices." Since that time we've posted an additional six patent reports (01, 02, 03, 04, 05 & 06).
Textured Surface for Titanium Parts
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to techniques for etching a surface of a titanium substrate. More particularly, the described embodiments relate to systems and methods for achieving a matte surface finish for the titanium substrate that could apply to Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad and Macs.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 presented below simply clarifies the scope of products where matte titanium could apply someday; FIG. 6C illustrates a coated titanium part. According to some examples, the coated titanium part is processed by blasting a titanium part, and subsequently coating an external surface of the blasted titanium part with a physical vapor deposition (PVD) coating.
Apple's patent FIG. 6D above illustrates a texturized titanium part. According to some examples, the texturized titanium part is processed by forming a metal oxide layer over a titanium part via an electrochemical oxidation process, and subsequently removing the metal oxide layer.
Apple's patent FIG. 13 above illustrates a flowchart of a method for forming a metal part.
For greater details, review Apple's granted patent 11,340,652.