Apple improves scratch resistance of upcoming iPhones with new patent: A breakdown of the process

Users of the upcoming iPhones may not need phone covers anymore. Apple has been conducting research to enhance the durability of iPhone chassis. The tech giant based in Cupertino has obtained a patent for “Spatial Composites,” which allows Apple to embed metal or ceramic in the iPhone’s chassis to make it more resistant to scratches. The company acknowledges that different materials used in an iPhone chassis have their own advantages and disadvantages.
The Significance of Scratch-Proof iPhones
According to Apple, devices like mobile phones, watches, and tablets are frequently exposed to various surfaces that can cause surface damage or abrasion. The existing housing materials of such devices possess different properties such as strength, appearance, abrasion resistance, electromagnetic shielding, and more.
Pros and Cons of Different iPhone Materials
Apple explains that metal housings are highly resistant to dents, scratches, or breakage but can interfere with radio signals. Ceramic housings are scratch-resistant and transparent to radio signals but may be brittle. Plastic housings are transparent to radio signals and relatively sturdy but susceptible to scratches and dents.
Apple’s Solution to Overcome the Issue
The proposed solution in the patent is for Apple to use multiple materials for the chassis. Implementing this approach poses a challenge for the company, and the patent discusses the suitable materials to achieve the desired outcome.
Apple stated in the patent that the chassis of an electronic device should have abrasion-resistant members partly embedded in the substrate (chassis material) and extending beyond the external surface. These abrasion-resistant members can be made from metal or ceramic and are harder than the moldable matrix of the substrate.
The patent includes drawings demonstrating the different shapes of the abrasion-resistant members. Each material offers various benefits while aligning with the overall goal. Another drawing shows these members arranged throughout the back of an iPhone, with a spacing between each member ranging from 10 to 100 microns.
The patent credits the research of three inventors, including Christopher D. Preset, who has previously worked on utilizing glass-ceramic components in a MagSafe system for data and power transmission.

 

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