2006 Apple Patent Filing for Ceramic Enclosures

In my research regarding Engadget’s purported photos of a next-gen iPhone, the factor that pushed me over the edge to believe that it’s authentic is the glass back. I know the trend for Apple of late has been toward unibody aluminum enclosures (exhibits A and B: MacBook Pros, iPad), but I think that works poorly for a phone, because the radios can’t get a strong signal. Multiple sources familiar with the next iPhone have confirmed to me that the back is made out of some sort of fancy glass — and looks pretty much exactly like what’s pictured at Engadget. That’s not the only reason I believe Engadget’s unit is legit, but it’s one.

Now, the thing I’ve been curious about ever since hearing about this “glass” back is durability. Everyone knows that dropping your iPhone is like dropping a piece of buttered toast — there’s a good side and a bad side it can land on. Put a glass back on these things and, in terms of drop survivability, it’d be like a piece of toast with butter on both sides, as it were.

But, reader Antoine Hebert emailed with this 2006 Apple patent application, for high-durability ceramic enclosures. Glass-like appearance and feel but far stronger and more scratch resistant. And: radio transparent.

Sunday, 18 April 2010