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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Apple is researching the use of processed titanium with unique properties for future MacBooks, iPads, and iPhones, according to a newly-granted patent application.


In a filing titled "Titanium parts having a blasted surface texture," granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and spotted by Patently Apple, Apple explains how various devices could adopt titanium casings with a distinctive textured finish.

The patent explains that anodized aluminum, used on current MacBooks and iPads, is not as hard or durable as titanium. However, the hardness of titanium makes it "very difficult to etch," meaning that it can be "aesthetically unattractive." The patent seeks to present a solution to this problem by outlining a blasting, etching, and chemical process to give a titanium enclosure a more attractive appearance.


Apple describes the textured surface as including "peaks separated by valleys," with specific micrometer measurements and gloss units. The process involves various techniques to impart "the blasted and etched titanium part with a fine-scale roughness," which allows it to retain "a high-gloss surface finish."

The "distinctive surface finish" is described as one "that both diffusely and specularly reflects visible light," and this is said to be structurally and aesthetically unlike any other conventional titanium part.


The patent also notes that this textured titanium casing would be appropriate for MacBooks, iPads, iPhones, and Apple Watches. Apple has used titanium cases for a small number of products, such as the PowerBook G4 that was available from 2001 to 2003. Apple's first foray into titanium casings was hampered by issues such as brittleness resulting in breakages, as well as paint that easily flaked off.


Today, the only Apple product to use a titanium casing is the Apple Watch Edition, which appears to be much closer to the unique finish described by the patent than the titanium PowerBook G4.


Devices with titanium enclosures would be considerably more durable, but potentially also lighter if the weight of the metal could be offset by manufacturing stronger, thinner parts.

Last month, Apple was granted a patent for a matte black MacBook Pro finish, as the company continues to research ways to move beyond standard anodized aluminum casings.

Patent applications cannot be taken as proof of what Apple is intending to bring to market and many patented concepts never reach consumer products. Nonetheless, they provide an interesting insight into what Apple is researching and developing behind the scene, and hint at what we could see in the future.

Article Link: Apple Researching High-End Titanium MacBook Casings With Unique Textured Finish


Oct 18, 2020
another patent that will probably will not see the daylight ....only, maybe the apple watches since they already have titanium casing


May 13, 2010
Now we're talking. But considering the prices they want to sell the current computers at, I can only imagine they will price these ones wildly.


macrumors 6502a
Apr 6, 2017
I'd be in favour.

The Titanium Edition Apple Watch (Series 5 and 6) with its brushed finish does look very sleek and unique with how it catches light. It actually looks a little different in every lighting setting which is a very nice touch.

I'd particularly be keen to see a future iPhone (Pro) with a Titanium chassis - its lighter in weight compared to Stainless Steel
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May 13, 2010
Gee, what goes around comes around. Just imagine, a titanium macbook pro. What a novel concept, never saw that before. ;)

Yeah, it'll be like the return of an old friend, couldn't afford the Titanium Powerbook G$ the first time around. Perhaps this time'll be different.

You could be able to afford one this time around owing to your current income, not because they would price it any less. Going by their prices lately they are going to price it insanely greatly.
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macrumors 6502
Jan 23, 2004
New York City
The problem with the original models were that they were stamped, not machined as the aluminum models are. Because of that, the thin sheets of titanium allowed the laptops to twist. They didn’t feel solid, as the aluminum ones do. That was criticized, and I agree. If they do this again, how are they going to do it, and I don’t mean the finish.


macrumors regular
Oct 9, 2008
I couldn't never justify the expense, since I don't even use Macs as my main computers anymore, but dang, I would LOVE to have a titanium MacBook. I was a machinist when I was a kid and titanium is just a really cool material. :cool:
Clever use of double negative - sounds like you've talked yourself into getting one - join the queue...


macrumors regular
Apr 17, 2020
I’d imagine these would even more expensive. I don’t know how Apple’s supply chain works, but I believe the US government still gets first dibs on titanium procurement for national security purposes. That was the reason stated to me when I asked why a particular part of a scientific instrument was ridiculously expensive ($12k in 1999 dollars).


macrumors 6502a
Feb 22, 2007
Titanium is so much harder to machine along with the added material costs over aluminum. I really don’t see any great advantage to switching materials. Is there a great deal of bending aluminum MacBooks out there ?

PBG4 Dude

macrumors 601
Jul 6, 2007
Titanium PBG4 was my first Apple computer. Thing cost more than the car I was driving at the time, but I needed a laptop for school.
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