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Apple Seeks Patent on Fused Glass Enclosures for Use on iPhones, iPads, iPods, Displays, and Televisions

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Apple last week filed for a European patent (via Patently Apple) on methods for fusing glass pieces together to create various types of glass enclosures for a number of products. While the patent application specifically addresses the general concept of such devices, examples and drawings included in the application outline how the process could be applied to such products as iPhones, iPads, iPods, displays, and even televisions.

Three independent claims in the application describe Apple's use of fused glass to create housings to cover displays or other components:
1. An electronic device, comprising: a display; and a housing in which the display is mounted, wherein the housing includes glass structures that have a recess that receives at least part of the display, wherein the glass housing structures include a planar glass member fused with a peripheral glass member that extends around at least some peripheral edge portions of the planar glass member to form the recess.

11. An electronic device, comprising: an electronic device housing formed from fused glass members including at least first and second opposing planar glass members that are separated by a gap; and display structures inserted into the gap.

20. A method of forming an electronic device, comprising: polishing a planar glass member; fusing a peripheral glass member to at least part of an edge portion of the planar glass member to thicken the planar glass member at the edge portion; and attaching the planar glass member and fused peripheral glass member to a housing structure.
Example showing an extruded glass enclosure with fused end cap
Further descriptions suggest that while glass display housings could be paired with enclosures made of other materials as on many Apple products, entire enclosures could be also be made of glass.

Of notable interest, Apple design chief Jonathan Ive is named as one of the inventors on the patent, along with Apple designers Peter Russell-Clarke and Mike Pilliod.

Hand-drawn figure from Apple's original U.S. filing showing a display and other components inserted into a fused all-glass enclosure
Interestingly, the European patent application cites as priority a U.S. application filed in January 2012. That application was quietly published on July 25 of this year following the expiration of the 18-month confidentiality period on applications, although the application did not specifically name Apple as the assignee of the rights. That application also included rather crude hand drawings for its figures, drawings that were translated into more professional illustrations for the European filing.

Article Link: Apple Seeks Patent on Fused Glass Enclosures for Use on iPhones, iPads, iPods, Displays, and Televisions
 

DaveN

macrumors 6502a
May 1, 2010
665
338
Ok. I'm a big Apple fan but is fusing glass to make an enclosure really a novel idea?
 
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AngerDanger

macrumors 601
Dec 9, 2008
4,987
24,405
I'm amazed at how little I understand that patent jargon.

After following steps 1, 11, and 20, I've rendered Apple's next hit product:

 
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JohnGrey

macrumors 6502
Apr 21, 2012
298
557
Cincinnati Metro
The iPad/rMBP service philosophy strikes again. At least with the latter two you can get the tools to service them yourself. There would be no way to access the unit without breaking the enclosure. I assume manufacturing defects would be dealt with by simply swapping the unit with a new one. :rolleyes:
 
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techwhiz

macrumors 65816
Feb 22, 2010
1,155
1,503
Northern Ca.
It's an idea, not a process.
The process they use should be patentable, not the idea of fusing glass to make an enclosure.

Should I be able to patent the idea of a laminated wood enclosure for a phone???

Processes, products, algorithms; NOT IDEAS!
 
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jmh600cbr

macrumors 6502a
Feb 14, 2012
967
2,085
I don't think the current technology and production can handle such a patent. Good on apple for being ahead of the game though, and i think this technology could create stronger, longer lasting screens.
 
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JustMartin

macrumors 6502a
Feb 28, 2012
768
247
UK
Am I missing something here or are Apple really patenting a glass box? I'm pretty sure I've seen them before.
 
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cmChimera

macrumors 601
Feb 12, 2010
4,001
2,892
Unibody Glass? Awesome.

----------

It's an idea, not a process.
The process they use should be patentable, not the idea of fusing glass to make an enclosure.

Should I be able to patent the idea of a laminated wood enclosure for a phone???

Processes, products, algorithms; NOT IDEAS!

No it's an invention.
 
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Techtimate

macrumors newbie
Aug 6, 2013
12
0
I have to agree, one look at this and all I'll see is another unserviceable product.
 
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bbeagle

macrumors 68040
Oct 19, 2010
3,419
2,684
Buffalo, NY
apple is worse than monsanto when it comes to patents..

All the companies patent.... for example, here's a new one of Google's...

Google patents the launching of apps when you unlock your screen! Draw a triangle, launch the camera app - draw a square, launch the phone app. So much different than clicking icons, huh?

http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-patents-functionality-to-launch-apps-through-pattern-unlock-on-android/49728.html

Tell me that this is a novel idea, and 'worthy' of a patent unlike the Apple patents.

The thing is - we just hear of Apple patents on here, not other company patents.
 
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BigBeast

macrumors 6502a
Mar 6, 2009
643
39
I assume manufacturing defects would be dealt with by simply swapping the unit with a new one. :rolleyes:

Which is how many of Apple's lineup are already "fixed." If you know before you buy the device, that it's not user reparable, why complain? Buy the incredibly good investment of Apple care, and save yourself some money.

i.e. iPhone 5 screens are still $150 when bought from third parties. You'd still have to replace the display, and you'd still have a screwed up phone (externally). If you bought $99 Applecare however, the $49 deductible for a new iPhone would put you at the same $150 spent on a replacement display, except that now you got a new (refurb) device. And you still have one $49 damage replacement in the bank. Pretty good deal to me. Plus the telephone support for iOS, airport, Apple TV, and Apple apps, which is included in an Applecare plan, I'd say it's probably less expensive to just buy Applecare and forget about fixing stuff yourself. This come from a man who used to fix Macs. It just seems to be cheaper and easier to get the Apple care, than to do things the old way.
 
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