Clearly Inspired: Apple Patents Glass Device Housings
When the iPhone first launched a few years ago, its design and the sleek smoothness of its UI’s screen animations made it look like someone had dropped the device off from the future. And it seems that Apple isn’t done importing gadgets from forward in time, as a patent for glass electronics housings that the company filed two years ago could hold interesting potential for future products.
Filed in January 2012, the patent for “fused glass device housings” was published by the USTPO yesterday. The patent’s abstract explains that such a glass housing “may be used to cover a display and other internal electronic device components,” and that it “may have multiple glass pieces that are joined using a glass fusing process.” In short, this is a patent for electronic devices completely surrounded by glass cases.
The applications for technology like this are pretty interesting to consider. It’s not much of a stretch to imagine an iPhone made entirely of glass – like the one pictured in the Iron Man still at the top of this post. Moreover, such technology wouldn’t be out of place in tablets, television sets, or computers, the last of which seemingly a great target for technology like this.
Like all patents that are discovered by the web, there’s nothing about these things that guarantee their implementation in devices in the future. In fact, an all-glass electronic device may be prohibitively expensive to manufacture on a large scale and sell at an affordable cost. As such, this patent may never go beyond this stage. Even still, it’s nice to imagine what Apple would do with this technology. Would you want an all-glass iPhone?