Apple invents process of manufacturing a unified, seamless device housing

A post on Patently Apple enumerates the manufacturing process of a new seamless, unitary design for electronics housings. Apple may use this future process to create devices that appear as a single, undivided piece.

A post on Patently Apple enumerates the manufacturing process of a new seamless, unitary design for electronics housings. Apple may use this future process to create devices that appear as a single, undivided piece.

Today, March 17th, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple, concerning the manufacturing a seamless product housing. 

 Apple invents process of manufacturing a unified, seamless device housing

Every electronic has openings, seams, cracks, and other indicators that the device is not a single component. Even the comparatively sleek iPhone is divided into two parts, the upper and lower case. This can be seen on the seam surrounding the device screen.

But Apple wants to change that. Using ultrasonic welding – a process already used by Apple to attach internal components – in conjunction with metal foil, Apple has designed a process to create a completely seamless electronic case.

The process involves the ultrasonic welding of housing components with internal components, finished with a layer of ultrasonically bonded metal foil layers which cover the outside. This creates a unified and singular piece, with no visible seams, cracks, or anything to indicate that it was ever in multiple pieces.

The result is a smooth, rounded product that will probably look like something out of science fiction, once a good artist gets his hands on it. The design is in stark contrast with the boxy, angular iPhone 4. If Apple wants a good way to rejuvenate its mobile product line, this is probably the way to go. Nobody on the market has anything like this. Even the smoothest smartphones and electronic devices are not as aesthetically flawless as a device with no seams whatsoever.

 Apple invents process of manufacturing a unified, seamless device housing

While this should delight the lay consumer, others are likely to be highly disappointed if such a product is released. Apple is notorious for their difficult-to-open electronic devices, making it hard to perform self-repairs. A seamless design would make such repairs virtually impossible, and if they could be done, they would certainly destroy the look.

But hackers and do-it-your-selfers do not constitute the mobile market. The iPhone is a part of culture. Practically everyone can recognize one, and plenty of smartphone buyers will go for it, probably even more so in the case of such a radical design overhaul.

In any case, the kind of product that Apple could produce using this new process would look, in the simple words of its late founder and CEO Steve Jobs, "truly magical".

Source: Patently Apple