Apple patents an all-glass iPhone

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apple patents an all-glass iPhone

Last week, Apple patented one of the most unique-looking device ideas yet: an iPhone that’s fully encased in glass. The detailed concept features six display areas; essentially, it can display imagery on each one of its six flat surfaces.

The oddity, whose patent was already approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, has been dubbed an “Electronic device with glass enclosure” by Apple.

By all intents and purposes, the sketches show the “device” to be some iteration of an iPhone, displaying an array of apps along with the status icons overtop. The pictures also show instances where the display is able to wrap around the iPhone, giving the illusion of a seamless infinite display across the whole device, rather than clear-cut surfaces.

Apple has even presented some ideas of how the glass iPhone could be both assembled and disassembled for repair. The handset would potentially be taken apart by removing a so-called “cap” (as it’s labeled in the patent) off the top or bottom of the iPhone, allowing the device components to slide out.

It’s certainly difficult to imagine holding an iPhone made entirely out of glass. Even if the massive logistical challenges of component placement and repair could be bypassed, there remain plenty of reasons why such a phone would be extremely difficult to bring into the mainstream. 

The first concern would likely its slipperiness. You wouldn’t really want to cover any part of the six-way display with a case, and as one MacRumors commenter stated, it will probably “have the ergonomics of a bar of soap.” Another commenter added that even with top-of-the-line Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, that phone would still be as fragile as anything—making the slightest fumble potentially fatal. 

Another concern would be the weight, as all-around glass would be decidedly heavier than aluminum, further increasing the likelihood for the device to be dropped.

This glass phone conception actually isn’t a first for Apple, not by a long shot. In fact, as mentioned by Patently Apple, the company has been patenting glass concepts of various devices for eight years already. However, it’s always interesting to explore their most interesting iteration of a fully glass smartphone, and wonder if such a contrivance could actually make its way into the market one day in the future.

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