Apple products seem to be getting lighter and shinier all the time — remember when the old iMac with its huge see-through plastic body used to be considered streamlined and modern? However, the iPhone body has stayed roughly the same over time, with only small tweaks here and there.
However, the tech world is abuzz with rumors that the next iteration of the iPhone will feature something a significant manufacturing change — the possibility of an all-aluminum body. What makes this possible? A new patent filed by Apple that eliminates the need for glass radio transmissions. From AppAdvice:
A new U.S. patent granted to Apple may give us a glimpse of future iPhone design. First spotted by AppleInsider, the so-called “microslot antenna” technology allows an antenna to be embedded directly into the case of a portable device, making it impossible to see with the naked eye.
Currently, like in the pictured iPhone 5, the glass bands on the top and bottom of the handset allow radio waves to pass through freely. And on LTE-enabled iPads, the black bar accomplishes the same feat.
TechCrunch takes this a step further and speculates on the impact for the iPhone’s body:
If you’ve been paying attention to Apple over the past decade or so, then you can probably tell that the company likes a certain design ethic (all-aluminum case construction) that it hasn’t been able to achieve with the iPhone. From plastic backing, to glass with an antenna built into a strip along the outside of the phone, to glass “windows” top and bottom, the iPhone has always been an exception to this preferred design aesthetic, owing to the need for radio communications to flow freely.
Don’t expect Apple to say anything publicly for a while — they like their secrets neatly tucked under their turtlenecks. But there’s a good chance that iPhone fans will be carrying a little more aluminum in their pockets over the next few years.