Has Apple patented a way to make all-glass iPhones? 30/01/2015
Apple patents method for all glass iPhones, iPads, and more.
Has Apple patented a way to make all-glass iPhones?

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.

Beyond iPhones, the new patent refers to a wider range of “electronic devices” with images indicating the glass technology could be applied to devices such as the iPod, iPad and more, using either a coloured or transparent rear surface (remember the iMac G3 with its translucent and brightly coloured plastic back - imagine a sleek laptop or desktop in glass).

As for timing of a glass encased product launch, from the iPhone 6 features we’ve read about it’s unlikely that this will be the model to herald a new era in smartphone aesthetics. However, with the hype around Apple’s new patent, it’s fair to say they’ll be busy at Apple HQ bringing the patent to life and yet another ground-breaking product to market.

In the meantime, look no further than Sprout if you're in the market for fun, innovative and funky products for your favourite Apple, Samsung, HTC and other devices, including iPhone 6 cases, which will be available from Sprout on the day the iPhone 6 launches in Australasia.

Sprout is an Australian brand that can be found in over 300 retail locations. Head to our store locator to see where you can find and purchase Sprout products near you or shop online.

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