From the Department of Jumping to Conclusions, Patent Edition

Stephen Pulvirent, opining for Bloomberg Business:

Some people will think the gold is beautiful; the yellow doesn’t photograph well, but looks better in person. (I personally prefer the look of the fake gold on the new Macbook.) There’s also rose gold, and both make the watch much heavier and less practical for daily wear. Compared with the aluminum Apple Watch Sport, it feels like a brick. Sure, you’re not running a marathon with the thing, a la Christy Turlington, but you don’t want your wrist to tire before the battery.

Apple is careful to point out that the 18k gold used is a proprietary alloy that’s between two and four times harder than typical gold. According to a patent filed last June, this special gold is created by impregnating a gold matrix with ceramic particles for added toughness. In the same patent, Apple also alludes to future cases made of silver and platinum, so this might not be the only Apple Watch Edition we see.

Yes, Apple Watch Edition is made from a custom 18-karat gold alloy. Yes, Apple filed that patent last year. But it does not follow that the gold in Apple Watch Edition is the gold described in that patent. If you watch the “Gold film” on Apple’s Edition page, Jony Ive says, “It begins at the molecular level, where precise adjustments in the amount of silver, copper, and palladium in the alloy result in very specific hues of yellow and rose gold.” Those metals are the only ingredients Apple has talked about. Maybe there is ceramic mixed in there, too, but maybe not. We don’t know.

Apple, like all major tech companies, files patents on everything that they think is patentable, whether they plan to use it in actual products or not.

I’ve also seen comments from the peanut gallery alleging that Apple Watch Edition doesn’t contain much actual gold, based on this same patent filing and the typical peanut gallery conspiratorial fever dreams. If it’s heavier than the stainless steel models — and it is — that means it contains a significant amount of actual gold.

Thursday, 12 March 2015