Apple's new patent exposure is about titanium iPhone, iPad and MacBook again

An Apple patent last year showed that the company is exploring the possibility of creating titanium alloy iPhones, iPads and MacBooks, and today Apple has another related patent granted.

Specifically, today's patent grant describes a process for creating a textured surface on titanium alloys, with an illustration depicting the Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.

Apple currently offers the titanium Apple Watch, and it has offered a titanium laptop in the past : the PowerBook G4. This product was sold from 2001 to 2003 and was later replaced by an aluminum model.

In its raw state, the finish of titanium alloys is not attractive, and Apple has explored different ways to make the material look more attractive.

Back in January 2021, the company was awarded a patent for a method for giving titanium a semi-gloss finish. The patent is a technical patent covering the process of combining sandblasting and etching with a chemical anodizing process to achieve the desired surface finish. Apple says the former better hides flaws in metal, while the latter offers better protection.

Titanium is heavier than aluminum, but much stronger, and thinner materials can be used to achieve the same strength and hardness. The end result is that a titanium case will be lighter than an aluminum case.

The today's patent begins by describing the challenges posed by titanium alloy casings. Portable electronic devices may include various operational components (eg, display screens, processors, antennas, etc.). The enclosures of these portable electronic devices can be formed from various metals such as anodized aluminum, etc., with high strength and hardness to protect these operating parts. Furthermore, it is desirable to machine these shells to give them an attractive finish. However, certain types of metals, despite their high strength and stiffness, are also difficult to machine with attractive surface finishes. Therefore, it is necessary to implement techniques for processing these specific types of metals.

The patent goes on to describe different ways of creating an interesting textured surface, which, confusingly, describes it as a matte finish (titanium is matte in its natural state and is often polished).

Of course, Apple has a ton of patents, only a fraction of which can actually be used in commercial products. And Patently Apple points out that this is already the eighth patent related to this material.

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