Who Wants to Buy an All-Glass iPhone?

Source: Getty images

Source: Getty images

Forget about a silver or gold iPhone. How about a glass one? Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) latest patent suggests that the electronics maker is interesting in putting out iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, and other devices encased in glass casing. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded Apple the patent for “Fused Glass Device Housings.” Apple originally filed for the patent in July 2012.

As the technical-sounding name suggests, Apple’s glass will comprise sheets and pieces of glass joined together via “a fusing process” that will bind the glass together to create a seamless look and to strengthen the glass, reported AppleInsider. This glass may be clear or opaque, the patent covers both stylistic variants, meaning that an all-glass iPhone may be completely clear or vividly colored in the style of the iPhone 5c and 5s models. Or it may look nothing like them at all.

Apple is a brand that likes to mix things up. The modern MacBook Pro and MacBook Air bear little resemblance to the iBook computers, the Clamshell Mac, of 14 years ago. Getting this patent may be Apple’s first step towards a new design aesthetic for the next generation of products. Glass may replace the metallic outer shells of the iPhone and iPad to make the next generation cool and hip by redesigning them. After all, Apple did make some hires from the fashion world, suggesting a stylish redesign may be in the cards for future Apple products. The question is how tough will these glass-clad devices actually be.

The glass is traditionally the weak point of many a smartphone and tablet. A large portion of third-party iPhone and iPad accessories include screen protectors and phone cases for this reason. Some repair shops even make light of the fragility of the iPhone with names like iCracked. Apple is working to improve this feature in upcoming models.

Apple recently purchased a large quantity of sapphire, a type of glass that is supposed to be even tougher than the Gorilla Glass that has graced the iPhone. A recent Forbes column shows the supposed durability of the new glass expected to adorn the front of the upcoming iPhone 6, which will likely be released this fall if Apple follows its usual release schedule. If this glass is as sturdy as rumored, perhaps it will be used in the construction of an all-glass iPhone. The patent mentions chemically strengthening the glass shell, which would also help make the glass even more durable, plus for a device that lives in the pockets, purses, and book bags of its owners.

While the iPhone 6 will be the usual combination of metal and glass, an all-glass iPhone will probably be the source of iRumors for later models.

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