New Apple Patents Reveal a Manufacturing Process for creating 3D Liquid Metal Glass Device Housings and more
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to techniques for making glass components for electronic devices. More particularly, the present embodiments relate to techniques in which a fluid such as a liquid metal or a molten salt is used to shape a glass workpiece. Devices made this way could include a HomePod, Home Control device, an iMac, MacBook, iPad or iPhone.
Apple’s patent includes techniques that can be used to shape a glass workpiece to produce a three-dimensional glass component. By the way of example, the three-dimensional glass component may be a glass cover member or a glass housing.
In some examples, the shape of the glass workpiece is modified using a forming technique in which a portion of the glass workpiece is molded between a mold tool and a heated fluid such as a liquid metal or a molten salt. The resulting molded glass workpiece may then be finished to produce the glass component.
Apple’s patent FIG. 6 below schematically shows a laser system #680 and an operation of scanning a beam #682 produced by the laser system. The laser system, which includes a processing head #681, is simplified for purposes of illustration in FIG. 6. The processing head and the transparent substrate #601 move relative to each other to scan the beam #682 along a path #661 on a front surface #602 of the transparent substrate.
Apple’s patent FIGS. 1A-B are just two simple device examples of three-dimensional glass components that may be a glass cover member or a glass housing.
Apple’s invention is extensively covered over two patents: (#1: 20220193825) “Laser-Based Cutting of Transparent Components for an Electronic Device,” and (#2: 20220194841) “Fluid Forming a Glass Component for a Portable Electronic Device.”
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Apple Pencil Patent covering ‘Scribble”
For those that are interested, the US Patent Office also published Apple’s patent application 20220197493 titled “Handwriting Entry on an Electronic Device,” which covers Scribble, the Apple Pencil feature.
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