Apple’s latest granted patent could be one of several steps towards an all-glass enclosure iPhone, Apple Watch, and octagonal prism-shaped Mac Pro. Say wat?
First spotted by Patently Apple, a publication who’s spotted other major Apple granted patents, the latest Apple granted patent is titled “Electronic device with glass enclosure” and focuses on electronic devices “with glass enclosures ranging from an iPhone to a Pro tower to an Apple Watch.”
Apple’s latest innovation envelops an electronic device that looks to be an iPhone with a six-sided glass enclosure that integuments the entire device.
“An electronic device includes a six-sided glass enclosure defining an interior volume and comprising a first glass member and a second glass member. The first glass member defines at least a portion of a first major side of the six-sided glass enclosure, at least a portion of a peripheral side of the six-sided glass enclosure, a first region along the peripheral side and having a first thickness, and a second region along the peripheral side and having a second thickness different from the first thickness. The second glass member is attached to the first glass member and defines at least a portion of a second major side of the six-sided glass enclosure. The electronic device further includes a touchscreen display within the interior volume and positioned adjacent at least a portion of each of the six sides of the six-sided glass enclosure.”– Apple’s latest granted patent 11,175,769 via Patently Apple
Don’t be fooled by fancy illustrations and figures numbered in ways that basically say, it’s a glass fu*kin box. The level of Apple’s eloquence and passion for a glass box here is beyond me.
The abstract also touches on the display and how it’s enclosed “within the interior volume and positioned adjacent at least a portion of each of the six sides of the six-sided glass enclosure,” with the display being flexible enough for the curves of the enclosure so that it can provide supplementary touch input surface area.
As far as the front and back display imagery, Patently Apple goes on to explain that an enclosure through multiple glass sides and displays that are visible within said multiple glass sides would “be used to erase or blend the distinctions between the various surfaces of the device.”
“This may allow icons to move across multiple surfaces when swiped, and may even allow icons or other graphical outputs to appear as a ribbon-like user interface that wraps around the device.”
“For example, a user interface may be continuously scrollable in a left-right direction such that an icon or other graphical output may be scrolled off of a front side, over a peripheral side and on to a back side.”
– Patently Apple breaking down Apple patent 11,175,769
“If the user interface is further scrolled, the icon or other graphical output may be scrolled over another peripheral side to return to the front side. Similar scrolling effects may be realized in other directions as well (e.g., up-down, diagonally, etc.), producing a continuous scroll phenomenon around the entire device.”
“Continuous scroll” on an all-glass iPhone? Ummm… yes please! Along with this application of an all-glass electronic device, Apple similarly illustrates in their patent the potential application of an all-glass device on a Mac and Apple Watch. Fig. 4E shows “Mac Pro Tower concept #460 having an enclosure #462 in the shape of an octagonal prism.”
Furthermore, Apple’s abstract includes an illustration in fig. 57 of “a possible future Apple Watch #5700 that includes an enclosure #5701 formed entirely or substantially entirely of glass.” Wait?! Is that the same square designed Apple Watch Jon Prosser leaked all over us? Sure is. Too bad that’s definitely not what we got this year.
Finally, as noted by Patently Apple, the patent also covers the strength of future glass:
“Electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablet computers, and other small and/or handheld devices, may be subject to impacts, drops, and other potentially damaging events. Accordingly, the enclosures described herein may be configured with variable thickness walls to help increase the strength, durability, crack resistance, or other physical properties, in certain areas of the enclosures. The variable thickness walls may also be used to produce different regions that have different flexibilities or stiffnesses for user-interface purposes.”– Apple’s latest granted patent 11,175,769 via Patently Apple
Concept artist everywhere have long been conceptualizing all-glass devices from Apple, including their very own former Apple Chief Designer, Jony Ive.
Could this be the future of Apple? Hard to say. It’s important to keep in mind the number of patents Apple gets granted yearly in comparison to what actually materializes. Although that number is significantly smoller in comparison to the number of granted patents, they always accurately reveal Apple’s significant areas of R&D.