Apple Patents the iPhone X Glass Back with Metal Backer
On Thursday the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple relating to iPhone X and specifically to the makeup of the glass back panel that accommodates wireless charging.
Apple's invention covers an electronic device / iPhone X which includes an enclosure that includes a front enclosure piece (e.g., a cover glass) and a back enclosure piece. The back enclosure piece is formed from a frame component that may be formed from metal and an outer cover that may be formed from glass.
Below is combination of Apple patent figures and an iFixit Photo of the back panel that shows us a glass back with a metal underbelly to support the glass backer.
Apple notes that the metal layer can define one or more windows. For example, as shown in patent FIG. 6 below, a back enclosure piece #600 has an outer cover #602 onto which a metal layer #604 is formed. The metal layer defines a window #606 which can be formed in any suitable shape; as illustrated, the window is circular, but this is not required.
The window can be formed through the metal layer to support, without limitation: wireless communication systems, inductive power transfer systems, resonant power transfer systems, wireless payment communication systems, biometric authentication systems, camera or imaging systems, capacitive sensing systems, display systems, electric field communication systems, sensor systems, touch or force input systems, and so on.
As shown in patent FIG. 7A above, a window defined by the metal layer can be shaped to accommodate an inductive coil (e.g., inductor) of a wireless power transfer system. In the illustrated embodiment, a back enclosure piece #700 has an outer cover 7#02 (or layer) onto which a metal layer #704 is formed using techniques, or combinations thereof, such as described herein. In addition, in this embodiment, the back enclosure piece #700 includes a primer layer with a pigment that provides a specific color to the back enclosure piece #700.
Below is an iFixit iPhone X teardown photo showing us the wireless coil removed from the metal frame which is the inside of the glass back cover.
Apple notes that the outer cover #702 can be formed from glass, but this may not be required. The metal layer #704 defines a window #706 that is sized larger than an inductive coil #708. The inductive coil #708 can be used to transmit or receive power and may be operated in an inductive mode or a resonant mode.
Apple's patent application was filed back in Q2 2017. This is now a patent fulfilled.
Some of the Inventors /Engineers at Apple
Mr. Misra: Senior Manager, Product Design Materials. Worked on the Surgical-grade Apple designed stainless steel on iPhone X; Mr. Hill: Manager, iPhone Product Design; Ms. Zhang: Product Design Engineer who came to Apple via MIT Biometric Robotic Lab; Mr. Graham: Product Design Manager came to Apple via Nikon; and Mr. Larsson: Product Design Engineer came to Apple via BlackBerry.
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