Will Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) future laptops become even thinner? A recently published patent application reveals that Apple has developed a method “for creating a flexible structure from a rigid material,” reports Patently Apple. This method could be used to “create an enclosure, a cover for an electronic device, one or more hinges, or the like,” which should allow Apple to reduce the overall width of its hinged devices.
In the patent titled “Interlocking Flexible Segments Formed From a Rigid Material,” Apple noted that this hinged structure can be made out of a variety of materials since the method is based on a particular design rather than the composition of the material itself. The Cupertino-based company noted that the structure can be made from “metals, alloys, hard plastics,” and many other materials.
The particular geometric pattern that is cut into the material determines how far the hinge will bend. This allows the structure to be used as an enclosure for electronic components without compromising the components inside by flexing past their breaking point.
Besides reducing the overall size of hinged electronic devices like MacBooks, Apple’s invention also has the added benefit of reducing manufacturing costs. In the patent background information, Apple noted the size constraints and production costs associated with traditional electronic device hinges.
“[L]aptop enclosures may include two separate rigid components interconnected together by one or more hinges that allow the two components to move relative to each other. These additional components, such as hinges, may increase the size of the enclosures and thus the size of the electronic devices or peripheral devices, as well as increase manufacturing costs as additional components may need to be assembled together,” noted Apple.
Apple’s MacBooks are not the only devices that could be equipped with this invention. In the patent, Apple noted that “the method may be used to create a housing or a portion of a housing for headphones.”
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