Apple continues to work on possible future devices with Glass Housings and an Optical-Fingerprint Detection System
While Apple files dozens of continuation patents per month, we rarely cover them unless the inventions continue to hold some potential. Two of those were published last week by the US Patent & Trademark Office. One covers the possibility of Apple introducing glass housings for future devices such as an iMac, iPhone, iPad, a TV, monitor and more. The second patent covers an under display optical Fingerprint detection system.
Glass Device Housings
Apple's continuation patent published last week relates to the possible use of glass for device housings that Apple lists as a future Apple TV and/or a future iMac which would abandon their long standing love affair with aluminum. The fused glass designs may also extend to a future iPhone, iPad or monitor. In 2021, a Bloomberg rumor report claimed that a future iPad would have a glass back. So this invention may be in the works at some level.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 presents a device with a glass housing. The patent points to this device possibly being a desktop (iMac - a monitor with an integrated computer), a standalone monitor or television; FIG. 23 is a diagram showing how glass housing structures formed from a five-sided box of fused glass members may be provided with internal components; FIG. 27 is a flow chart of illustrative steps involved in forming glass housing structures.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 above illustrates an iPad with a glass back and FIG. 4 illustrates an iPhone with a glass back.
Many of Apple's big hit products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Apple Vision Pro took over a decade of patents to finally come to market. This particular project of creating glass housing for devices dates back to 2012. They've updated the invention 7 times to keep it up to date.
Last week the U.S. Patent Office published Apple's continuation patent 20230226659 for "Glass Device Housings" and added another 20 new patent claims that you could review here. Apple emphasizes using curved glass 4 times and adds that the design could contain "non-clear glass."
In context, Patently Apple posted a granted patent report in July 2022 titled "Apple has won a Patent for an Exciting Futuristic iMac with a Cool Glass Form Factor." An image from that patent report is presented below.
It's great to see that Apple continually working on a glass iMac and possible other devices. Today's iMac is a nice clean design, but it's changed little over time. It would definitely be refreshing to see a truly innovative glass form factor with curved dark glass emerge to spark a little excitement back into their Mac desktop. Will we ever see Apple shake things up for iMac? Only time will tell. If you have an opinion on this, be sure to use our comment segment below or send it in to our Twitter feed.
Optical Fingerprint Detection System
Apple has been working on bringing Touch ID back to the iPhone for some time now and we've covered a series of patent related to that here: 01, 02, 03. The technology behind an optical fingerprint system is to reside under the display. While many love Face ID for Memoji, I'd love to see Apple bring back Touch ID. In my humble opinion, it was far more accurate when opening an iPhone in darker rooms or at night.
Apple's continuation patent presents 20 new patent claims with 7 of them emphasizing the use of "An analog front-end (AFE) circuit in an optical-fingerprint detection system." For more details, check out continuous patent application 20230230414. This particular patent is more technical that those of the past.
At present, it appears that Apple is focusing more on an under display camera system for Face ID as we reported on this morning. Though it wouldn't hurt to add optical based Touch ID as a backup.
Would you like to see Touch ID return to the iPhone? Send in your comments below or to our Twitter feed.