Apple’s patent-pending 18k gold: Harder, more scratch-resistant, and ‘less gold’

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
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For piggie :)

http://leancrew.com/all-this/2015/03/apple-gold/

How can this be? It’s because Apple’s gold is a metal matrix composite, not a standard alloy. Instead of mixing the gold with silver, copper, or other metals to make it harder, Apple is mixing it with low-density ceramic particles. The ceramic makes Apple’s gold harder and more scratch-resistant—which Tim Cook touted during the September announcement—and it also makes it less dense overall.
Apple's patent application: http://pdfaiw.uspto.gov/.aiw?PageNum=0&docid=20140361670&IDKey=A9058DEAFBAB&HomeUrl=http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1%26Sect2=HITOFF%26d=PG01%26p=1%26u=/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.html%26r=1%26f=G%26l=50%26s1=20140361670.PGNR.%26OS=%26RS=
 

cleirac

macrumors 6502
May 7, 2014
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"Less gold" would be inaccurate. It's still 18K gold but mixed differently.
Yeah, so I immediately thought it will be cheaper! Haha. Seriously, at the end of the day, 18K gold, but would it be cheaper or more expensive?

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It's still 75% gold by mass, but if the total mass is lower, then it is "less gold."
OMG. My brain hurts. How reliable is this report / new findings / ?, Rogifan? Is this being discussed over at ARS?
 

KPOM

macrumors G5
Oct 23, 2010
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If it's half an ounce of gold, it still has over $600 of gold in it, plus there are R&D costs to recoup, as well as the finishing process. It could make the $4,500 FT estimate a lot more feasible.
 

Gav2k

macrumors G3
Jul 24, 2009
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See I said this in another thread and the nay Sayers jumped me!
 

KPOM

macrumors G5
Oct 23, 2010
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OMG. My brain hurts. How reliable is this report / new findings / ?, Rogifan? Is this being discussed over at ARS?
Yes, there is a link to a patent filing at the Ars article. It was filed in June and granted in December 2014. Rogifan links to it in her post above.
 

cleirac

macrumors 6502
May 7, 2014
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Yes, there is a link to a patent filing at the Ars article. It was filed in June and granted in December 2014. Rogifan links to it in her post above.
Yeah, I know about the patent. But this 'less gold' thing, how sure?

Wait, that is in the patent itself.
 

Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
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"Less gold" would be inaccurate. It's still 18K gold but mixed differently.
It's still 75% gold by mass, but if the total mass is lower, then it is "less gold."
Put it this way. That friend of Gruber who supposedly knows watches saw (and I believe held) the gold Apple watch, and judged it to be similar quality to $10k gold watches. Assuming that he did hold the watch, then the watch was probably similar in weight to comparable size gold watches. So if the legal definition of 18k gold is 75% gold by mass, then the Apple watch must have the same amount of gold, by mass, as other $10k gold watches.

Is this correct, or am I missing something?
 

betabeta

macrumors 6502a
Jun 28, 2013
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1 ounce of 18k gold is "only":p going for 876.00 as we speak.

So the watch cold have 1.2 ounces and it would be 1050 cost for apple.

Remember the quotes we hear about gold are for 24k.
 

Julien

macrumors G4
Jun 30, 2007
11,126
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Atlanta
You must still use copper and silver to color the gold. You can't have rose gold without adding more copper less silver to the alloy since rose is NOT the color of gold (more copper tints it to the red/rose color). I'm betting that the percentage of ceramic is very small and probably only 1% or so of the total alloy. Also it won't have any appreciable effect on the volume to specific mass ratio of the final alloy.
 

troop231

macrumors 603
Jan 20, 2010
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I'm not a fan of the yellow or rose gold colors. I wish Apple would've done Edition models in platinum or white gold at least! :)
 

cleirac

macrumors 6502
May 7, 2014
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1 ounce of 18k gold is "only":p going for 876.00 as we speak.

So the watch cold have 1.2 ounces and it would be 1050 cost for apple.

Remember the quotes we hear about gold are for 24k.
If you are right with the cost + Apple (New Gold) Premium + Luxury Premium of the Market + AW technology is so not equal to $2.5k you are hoping for.

It might be at least $4.5k. FT hits the sweet spot. It could be more or a little less.

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I'm not a fan of the yellow or rose gold colors. I wish Apple would've done Edition models in platinum or white gold at least! :)
Love it but we will soon find out if there are more surprise options to anything.
 

gr8tfly

macrumors 603
Oct 29, 2006
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~119W 34N
So the density is still the same.
No. And thus the volume can be less, requiring less gold. The percentage in mass stays the same at 75% for 18K. This is because the ceramic is lighter, so more – by mass – is used in the same volume. (whew – I think I got that right... ;) )
 

KPOM

macrumors G5
Oct 23, 2010
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If you are right with the cost + Apple (New Gold) Premium + Luxury Premium of the Market + AW technology is so not equal to $2.5k you are hoping for.

It might be at least $4.5k. FT hits the sweet spot. It could be more or a little less.

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Love it but we will soon find out if there are more surprise options to anything.
I find it interesting that Apple came out (through back door channels) to correct the original FT article that erroneously stated that the stainless steel watch would be $349 like the aluminum watch, but did not correct the $4,500 estimate. The FT article now says "unconfirmed" for the stainless steel, and "unconfirmed of about $4,500" for the Edition. If it were massively off, Apple might have told the FT to remove the $4,500 reference. It isn't as if readers of How to Spend It aren't used to seeing $20,000 watches in the magazine. There are usually at least half a dozen ads for watches like Patek Philippe in an issue.

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Put it this way. That friend of Gruber who supposedly knows watches saw (and I believe held) the gold Apple watch, and judged it to be similar quality to $10k gold watches. Assuming that he did hold the watch, then the watch was probably similar in weight to comparable size gold watches. So if the legal definition of 18k gold is 75% gold by mass, then the Apple watch must have the same amount of gold, by mass, as other $10k gold watches.

Is this correct, or am I missing something?
It may be difficult to tell from mere sight or even holding. Apple could do other things to increase the weight of the device, and it could still be significantly heavier than steel, which is mostly carbon and iron (much lighter than gold).

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I'm not a fan of the yellow or rose gold colors. I wish Apple would've done Edition models in platinum or white gold at least! :)
Rose gold is fashionable these days, particularly with women. Yellow gold is popular in China and has made a comeback in the West in recent years.
 

cleirac

macrumors 6502
May 7, 2014
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Love what, the current colors or my proposed in addition to the current ones colors?
Both*.


*Really meant the current colors, but I am for adding more colors and as many combinations as possible (not just for AWE).
 

JayLenochiniMac

macrumors G5
Nov 7, 2007
12,815
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New Sanfrakota
No. And thus the volume can be less, requiring less gold. The percentage in mass stays the same at 75% for 18K. This is because the ceramic is lighter, so more – by mass – is used in the same volume. (whew – I think I got that right... ;) )
First let's define density. I take it you're using mass density, which is mass per volume. Using that definition the density is higher. But wouldn't the volume of the case be fixed?
 

cleirac

macrumors 6502
May 7, 2014
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KPOM,

My gut feeling is telling me now that it will be a little less than $4.5k. It is going to change after another "interesting reveal". Haha.
 

gr8tfly

macrumors 603
Oct 29, 2006
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First let's define density. I take it you're using mass density, which is mass per volume. Using that definition the density is higher. But wouldn't the volume of the case be fixed?
No. If they can make a stronger type of 18K gold, it would allow them to make the case thinner – having less volume, and use less material (less gold per case).

And, I certainly could have stated it in a different twisty maze of words all similar. ;)

afterthought: The density would be lower because the amount of lighter weight ceramic used to make up the other 25% by mass takes up more volume. And because this is now a stronger material than a metal alloy 18K gold, they can use less material, which would contain less gold relative to a structure of the same strength made of traditional 18K gold.

Since I might be getting myself twisted up in the wording, take a look at the first link by the OP – it has a very good explanation.
 
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