The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 44 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover Apple's granted patent relating to glass enclosures and more importantly for a glass enclosure that relates to a possible future iPhone design.
Apple Granted a Patent for Glass Enclosures
Apple has been granted a patent today for their invention generally relating to portable computing devices. More particularly, the present embodiments relate to enclosures of portable computing devices and methods of assembling portable computing devices. More specifically, Apple's granted patent covers at least portions if not all of the enclosure being made with glass. The glass enclosure, according to Apple, could be fully transparent or partially transparent or translucent.
Apple notes that their patent FIG. 24 is a perspective view illustrating a method of sealing of the interior of a glass enclosure to achieve a thicker surface layer in compression in a chemical strengthening process.
While Apple's patent is generally about iPod embodiments, late in the patent we see this oblong shape that's close to the iPod nano's fourth and fifth generation designs. However, Apple notes that these designs have a polished anodized aluminum finish, not glass.
More interesting is that buried deep in this granted patent we see that the design was never limited to iPods as it covers cellular technology as noted here:
"Although not shown, the internal components may also include components for processing, transmitting and receiving wireless signals (e.g., transmitter, receiver, antenna, etc.) through the glass enclosure 54. By way of example, the device may include components for supporting FM, RF, Bluetooth, 802.11, and the like.
In one embodiment, the device can include functionality for supporting cellular or mobile phone usage. In this embodiment, the device includes processors, transmitters, receivers, and antennas for supporting RF, and more particularly GSM, DCS and/or PCS wireless communications in the range of about 850 to about 1900 MHz."
This patent shows us that Apple had been researching ways to make this iDevice embodiment with a glass enclosure for a new kind of iPhone going all the way back to 2011. What makes this interesting is that this initial research and patent filing was later enhanced and refocused as a possible future iPhone design as noted below.
The evolutionary process once again progressed nine months later where Apple made the leap to using glass such as Sapphire for future iPhone designs and beyond.
Apple credits Christopher Prest and Emery Sanford as the inventors of granted patent 8,824,140 which was originally filed in Q3 2011 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
A Note for Tech Sites Covering our Report: We ask tech sites covering our report to kindly limit the use of our graphics to one image. Thanking you in advance for your cooperation.
Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of granted patents with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any Granted Patent should be read in its entirety for full details. About Making Comments on our Site: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit any comments. Comments are reviewed daily from 4am to 8pm MST and sporadically on the weekend.