Along with Apple filing a patent for a reconfigurable solid-state MacBook keyboard today, the company has seen a host of other patents approved. One of the most interesting means future iPhones (and any other Apple device) could be made using the Mac Pro’s 3D cheese grater design.
Apple was granted a total of 77 new patents today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. For this interesting iPhone structural patent, here’s how Apple describes it (via Patently Apple):
A structure can include a body having a first surface and a second opposing surface. The three-dimensional structure can include the body defining a first pattern of first cavities extending into the body from the first surface and the body defining a second pattern of second cavities extending into the body from the second surface. One or more first cavities can eccentrically intersect with one or more second cavities to define a pattern of apertures in the body.
That’s the complex way to describe what Apple designed with its modern 3D cheese grater Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR.
Apple notes that using this design in future iPhones could help with heat management as well as structural support. That could be important as iPhones become more and more powerful in the years ahead.
The components of an electronic device, for example a housing of an electronic device, may include three-dimensional structures having features tailored to the specific purposes for which they are employed. The components of an electronic device may be configured to provide physical support or protection to other components of the electronic device, provide for thermal transmission, provide for airflow through or around the electronic device, or provide for one or more various other purposes. Additionally, the components of the electronic device may be designed to provide a unique and pleasing look and feel for a user.
The patent includes images of how the Mac Pro cheese grater design could be used on both the iPhone exterior and interior:
But of course, it’s important to keep in mind that Apple has patents successfully filed all the time with many of them never landing in its products.
It would be interesting to see how Apple might implement something like this while maintaining a water and dustproof design.
Another interesting part of the patent is an image that shows what an updated trash can Mac Pro would look like with the 3D structural design.
Apple also notes that the patent could be applied to any of its devices:
FIG. 1 shows an example electronic device 100 that can have a housing or other components including regions of the three-dimensional structure detailed herein. The electronic device 100 shown in FIG. 1 is a display or monitor, for example, as used with a computer. This is, however, merely one representative example of a device that can be used in conjunction with the ideas disclosed herein. The electronic device 100 can, for example, correspond to a portable media player, a media storage device, a portable digital assistant (“PDA”), a tablet computer, a computer, a mobile communication device, a GPS unit, a remote-control device, and the like. The electronic device 100 can be referred to as an electronic device, or a consumer device. As shown, the electronic device 100 can include any number of input devices such as a keyboard 110, a mouse 120, a track pad, a stylus, a microphone, or any combination of known input devices. Further detail of the electronic device 100 is illustrated in FIG. 2.