Apple Patents Nearly Invisible 'Microslot Antennas' Allowing for Smaller Devices

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot



    Apple has been awarded a patent (via AppleInsider) for 'microslot antenna' technology, which could enable 'invisible' radio antennas to be embedded into the housing of a Mac, iPhone or iPad to save space inside and allow for more compact devices.

    Notebook computer with integrated wireless antenna (20) on device housing
    The antennas would use microscopic slots in the housing, with widths of just a few microns, making them almost invisible to the naked eye. The patent shows a variety of possible locations for the antennas on a laptop, though the same approach would likely be taken with iPhones and iPads also.

    Top view of microslot antenna design supporting multiple frequencies
    Current devices may contain antennas for GSM, 3G/LTE, GPS, wifi and Bluetooth, though some of these may be combined. The iPhone 5, for example, uses just two antennas for the five functions, using rapid frequency switching to enable one antenna to do two jobs. Eliminating the need for internal antenna space altogether would, though, allow for slimmer and smaller devices.

    As TechCrunch observes, this could also create the possibility of an all-aluminum case. Apple has previously had to have a small area of glass or plastic to provide radio windows for the internal antennas. Microslot antennas would eliminate this need, perhaps leading to more Mac-like iPhones and iPads in future.

    Apple's interest in the possibility of implementing microslot antennas dates back to at least 2007 when the patent was filed, meaning that the concept may be requiring significant refinement before arriving in a shipping product or may have been scrapped entirely by this point. Still, it is clear that Apple is continuing to look for ways to handle the increasing complexity of wireless communications while maintaining its design goals for size and aesthetics.

    Article Link: Apple Patents Nearly Invisible 'Microslot Antennas' Allowing for Smaller Devices
  2. macrumors regular


    I'm always simultaneously fascinated & hopeful when I see patents come through like this. Really makes me curious and optimistic as to the continued and infinite possibilities in technology.
  3. macrumors 68040

    Dr McKay

    I read that as "Apple Patents Microsoft" for a brief second there. :eek:
  4. macrumors member

    Bring 4G LTE to Mac! :)


    Lol. Same here. :D
  5. macrumors 601


    Let Samsung try to copy that patent :D.
  6. macrumors regular


    You weren't the only one.. :p
  7. macrumors 6502a


    go apple! iphones are too thick and heavy. i want it to be lighter be few grams and thinner by few mms
  8. macrumors regular


    Good, I've been wondering when they were going to make the iPhone 5 thinner. That sucker is way too thick for me!

  9. macrumors 6502a

    So if this patent was filed in 2007

    then that means it's not going to be seen in a product.

    Something like this would have arrived in a product by 2010. Seeing that it's 2013 already, it's not going to happen. There was something fundamentally wrong with the implementation.
  10. macrumors regular

    Even though I understood the need for glass for the antennas in the iPhone, I always thought it made it a little bit of the odd one out compared to the iPad and Mac. I guess Apple is getting around this, too. Always love hearing about patents and what innovation could be in the works.

    EDIT: Although, as the person above me pointed out, if this dates back to 2007 maybe there's nothing to see here.

    ...I'll bet it would make Safari snappier though. Had to say it.
  11. macrumors 68040

    Mad Mac Maniac

    Haha, I know what you mean. What I'd be more excited about is the ability to make it all aluminum and to move away from the current antenna design. I don't like it being so boxy. It's more difficult to pick up.

    I would LOVE the iPad mini design/form factor on the iPhone.
  12. macrumors 68030


    Or they were waiting to be granted the patent before using the technology and/or still perfecting upon it.
  13. macrumors 65816


    Are we talking about holes like the size of those on the front of the Unibody MacBook Pro housings; which are nearly invisible to pick out, but still let the sleep light through when the lid is closed? I think this is a fantastic, innovative idea.
  14. macrumors newbie

    Yeah, but will it work on 40m?

    Seriously, if someone were to challenge this patent, I think Apple may come up against prior art. Slot antennas are nothing new—they've been mentioned in the ARRL Handbook for years now—and I'm not sure just making them very small is enough to be patentable.
  15. macrumors 68030


    Apparently it is. The US Patent office is a mess, but they aren't granting patents that would be so obviously similar to something that has been patented previously.
  16. macrumors 68020


    It seems like one minute Apple is working on bendable glass products and the next minute they're working on aluminum products. They've evidently got lots of irons in the fire. Who know which one will make it into production?

    But this microslot technology might be good for the iPhone design-wise, not to make it thinner but to make it seamless, so they don't need those bands at the top and bottom.
  17. macrumors 6502


    not to argue but i think ipad mini and ipod touch is more slippery than the iphone 5. that does not mean that i would not love an iphone with the exact form factor as ipod touch :) superslim and i dont mind the color variations either :)

  18. macrumors 68020

    This is great news. It proves that Apple took Antennagate seriously & decided to learn to build high quality functional antennas. I wonder how long it will take for them to implement the new design.
  19. macrumors 65816

    So what happens when you drop your phone and damage the external slots?
  20. macrumors 68030


    If you read the article, it says that Apple had been investigating this back in 2007. Way before "atennagate"
  21. macrumors 68020

    I agree. The current external antenna is hideous looking.


    They weren't serious otherwise Antennagate would not have occurred.
  22. macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Or as
    “Apple Patents Nearly Invisible 'Microsoft'”
  23. macrumors 65816


    Microscopic slots = dust magnet.
  24. macrumors regular

    I don't see how this is original. It looks like an aperture coupled microstrip antenna. The slots are in an array, but still, not anything special. Maybe because they're integrating it into the metalic body of the computer? Is that the patent? "To use the computer body as an antenna."
  25. macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    So that you do not need your MBA/MBP AND your iPhone!? Tim Cook says: Nooooooooo!


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