Apple patent award could lead to all-glass iPhone

Is Apple planning to introduce a new all glass version of the iPhone? A patent that the tech titan has received from the USPTO, covers an all-glass casing. To be precise, the new patent is titled Fused glass device housings. Lo and behold, Apple's design chief, Jony Ive, is one of the applicants of the patent.

Diagram from Apple's patent award

Diagram from Apple's patent award

Considering that more than one out of every four iPhone units experiences a cracked screen within two years, an all-glass Apple iPhone would seem like one of those ideas bound to be ridiculed in the future. But Apple apparently does have something up its sleeve: sapphire glass. We've seen videos and have heard all of the speculation that Apple will use a sapphire glass screen for the Apple iPhone 6, which could be the first step.

Using sapphire glass to produce an all-glass handset, makes sense in light of the investment Apple has made to produce the material. Not only is sapphire glass harder than Corning's Gorilla Glass, Apple already uses the stuff for the Touch ID fingerprint scanner embedded inside the home button of the Apple iPhone 5s. It is also used for the camera lens on iPhone units.

While Apple has the patent to produce an all glass iPhone, the question is whether or not it will follow through with such a project. Sapphire glass is not cheap, and a phone constructed entirely of a sapphire glass casing is bound to hit the consumer where it hurts the most, squarely in the wallet or pocketbook. Certainly the pricing of the material will start to come down, and it helps Apple that it will be producing its own sapphire glass. In other words, it will probably be quite a few years before an all-glass Apple iPhone sees the light of day.

source: USPTO via AppleInsider

FEATURED VIDEO

43 Comments

1. darkkjedii

Posts: 30781; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

That would rock, we're talking a b e a utiful device, (in my Bruce Almighty voice).

3. engineer-1701d unregistered

not sure people would want it u have no privacy

9. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Dude, he likes anything with the APPLE logo on it...lol

12. NokiaFTW

Posts: 2072; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

And you like anything that has a 'I HATE APPLE' logo on it.

14. darkkjedii

Posts: 30781; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Nahhh, I like females...lol

17. Vexify

Posts: 570; Member since: Jun 16, 2014

Who doesn't? (Besides his self who

20. Vexify

Posts: 570; Member since: Jun 16, 2014

Oops, dropped my phone on the floor and it cracked =( Ironic I was on PA when this happened...

21. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

That's what you get when you are troll. :D :D :D

22. Vexify

Posts: 570; Member since: Jun 16, 2014

Poor Nexus =( And, if thats how it works, Im assuming all your phones are broken? LOL

28. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Be careful or you may drop your phone again. :D

24. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

"Who doesn't?" Tim Cook :D

23. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

"Nahhh, I like females...lol" So you no more like Steve Jobs ? :D

26. darkkjedii

Posts: 30781; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

That was stupid dude. :D

29. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

I know, but still funny. :D

36. Topcat488

Posts: 1411; Member since: Sep 29, 2012

Not sure that Apple Fans would want to see all the "Samsung" parts that make up the iphone... That "Apple" Logo might get obscured, with so many "Samsung" names inside a glass iphone. O.o

40. steedsofwar unregistered

Are you joking? Glass doesn't have to mean transparent dude. It would be opaque, like the bezel around the glass on all phones today! Sheesh...

39. steedsofwar unregistered

Are you joking? Glass doesn't have to mean transparent dude. It would be opaque, like the bezel around the glass on all phones today! Sheesh...

10. buccob

Posts: 2948; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

That would be great, so that no other manufacturer tries to do this dumb idea... (In an utopic world this would be interesting like Corning's video about a world of glass, but in current tech this is just unpractical)

11. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

I wonder how a sapphire case would hold up to the inevitable bumps, scrapes and drops that a smartphone is subjected to? Harder materials are still at risk of cracking (diamonds for example, are not impervious to cracking). Separately, darkkj, are you willing to put down $500 (or worse yet, $1,000) for an all sapphire iToy? As the article says, it won't be cheap.

38. Penny

Posts: 1844; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

Aesthetically, great. However, I don't think even Sapphire glass can prevent an entirely glass phone from cracking (or breaking) if dropped from normally used heights. I would not go with an all glass phone unless they engineered some way to use like nano aluminum particles or something embedded in the glass to lend greater durability while maintaining see-through visibility.

41. steedsofwar unregistered

Tell you the truth, I have sapphire on my inexpensive wristwatch. In the last two years, I have ZERO SCRATCHES or scuff marks, hand on heart. I was amazed by this because all my phones get scratched badly and I really look after my phones as compared to my watch. The metal bezel on the watch is beaten and marked to death but the glass face is impeccable. I can only give kudos to Apple for bringing this to smartphones, frankly, I don't know why it took so long. I always laughed at gorilla glass and their gimmicks. Especially when i would look at my watch for the time. BTW, I only buy Android, but kudos to Apple on this one. Plus, a full glass device would look timelessly classy and beautiful. Apple ought to do it and I might just get my first iPhone.

2. ianneo

Posts: 42; Member since: Dec 15, 2013

everyone will be jumping with joy and loving it until they drop it

6. promise7

Posts: 894; Member since: Jul 03, 2013

If you've seen the video torture tests of the iPhone 5 sapphire glass you would know a simple drop doesn't harm sapphire glass.

19. joseg81

Posts: 204; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

but in real life there's no such thing as a "simple drop". alot of my friends have iphones and i can count only 2 that have an intact screen :( and i've yet to have my question answered. don't the broken screens cut up your fingers? cuz if mine were broken my fingers would be slashed with all the swyping i do.

33. promise7

Posts: 894; Member since: Jul 03, 2013

I understand that, but those iPhones didn't have sapphire glass which Apple is implementing in the iPhone 6 and beyond which is the whole point of being able to make an all glass phone.

32. vincelongman

Posts: 5601; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Those torture tests had impressive flexibility tests, but there was no drop test with the rest of the iPhone 6 So right now we don't know if its more or less likely to shatter compared to other glass, which is the really question since most people's phones get shattered not scratched Also since sapphire is typically more brittle compared to glass (i.e. usually more likely to shatter)

34. promise7

Posts: 894; Member since: Jul 03, 2013

The only thing that was able to shatter the sapphire glass in those tests was a car driving over it. I see no _realistic_ real world situation that would lead to that happening. I don't see how the force of a phone dropping from waist or face height is more than a car driving over it so I wouldn't expect it to shatter from a drop.

37. vincelongman

Posts: 5601; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

I agree with that car test being quite silly The only drop test they did was with just the sapphire glass, so it survived since its very light and hit the ground with very little force It probably would have shattered if they had dropped it with the rest of the iPhone 6

35. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

two patents in one month. aren't they greedy enough?

4. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1337; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Didn't LG about ten years ago demo and release a completely transparent feature phone made of gorilla glass or some sort of plastic? I can't remember if it was just the keyboard or the entire thing. Anyway this will be some thing to see. will it be totally transparent or will it be translucent?

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.