|Has Apple patented a way to make all-glass iPhones?||30/01/2015|
|Apple patents method for all glass iPhones, iPads, and more.|
Bolstering its position in the smartphone patent wars, Apple has added to its arsenal with a new patent that's caught the market by surprise.
Apple's US patent refers to a “glass housing structure that may have multiple glass pieces that are joined using a glass fusing process”. In laymen’s terms, this means that Apple could encase its devices entirely in glass.
Why has this surprised the market?
1. Experience shows that the Gorilla glass currently used for iPhone screens has been an ongoing irritation for users. These screens are vulnerable to cracking when dropped or as a result of other impact. In fact, research indicates that over a quarter of iPhone screens crack within 2 years of purchase.
2. The glass front and back panels of the iPhone 4 have received so many complaints around breakage that Apple reverted to metal for the iPhone 5.
3. Common sense suggests that glass would make the device heavy and cumbersome in contrast to the lighter metals currently in use. Showing that it’s given some thought to this, Apple states in its patent application that multiple glass pieces joined using a fusing process would ensure the device is light and robust.
Whilst the use of glass (as we know it) in casing may have caused surprise, using it in a bigger way is supported by iPhone 6 rumours that the screen on the iPhone 6, that was released on 9 September, will be made from sapphire glass. This material has a hard, scratch-resistant, durable finish and Apple currently uses it for small parts such as the camera lens and home button of the iPhone 5S. Add to the picture Apple’s recent deal with a major supplier of sapphire glass, combined with its existing patents for sapphire lamination and fusion technology - it’s plausible that an entirely glass case is in the pipeline.