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iPhone patent hints at iPod mini shape

updated 10:35 am EST, Thu November 30, 2006

iPod mini Phone Patent

Apple is in the later stages of finalizing its cellphone design, according to a U.S. patent granted to the company this morning. The patent, which was filed on August 7th of this year, refers to a "handheld computing device" cellphone and media player combination with a radio-transparent shell that reflects a handset near the end of its development cycle, according to Electronista. The filing appears to confirm key aspects of the company's anticipated iPhone design, and greatly resembles the iPod mini or second-generation iPod nano with its construction from a "seamless tube" of ceramic materials such as aluminum that house internal components for both media playback and RF wireless communication.

Although the included illustrations present a device nearly identical to the now discontinued iPod mini, Apple emphasizes in its claim that the control scheme is not limited to the company's distinctive clickwheel. The company provides examples of alternate input devices such as a cellphone keypad, a trackball similar to that of the BlackBerry Pearl, or other mechanisms that may suit the phone's requirements. Questions also remain about key software functions such as the predicted iChat-style messaging and the particulars of the user interface.

by MacNN Staff





  1. chadpengar

    Joined: Dec 1969


    aluminum != ceramic

    First, Aluminum is not a ceramic.

    Second, totally "amazing" that MacNN thinks that quoting its own "sister" publication is substantiation of their comments... Electronista is not news, guys.

  1. kirktalon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Smoke Screen

    Wouldn't it be cool if the illustrations of the patentable items were all shown in the known style of the mini and new Nano and apple came out with something that was completely different style wise?

  1. Monde

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Likely to be different

    Over the years, I've seen many of these patent diagrams. More often than not the final product is profoundly different from the images used in the filing.

    That said, a mini iPod form factor wouldn't be a deal killer in terms of getting one-if it has the functionality Apple usually puts into it's products. At last a phone that syncs trouble free with everything on my Mac.

    No doubt it will be a thoughtful, functional design. I do wonder though, if it is produced in a ipod-esque form factor, would they do the same thing with the battery? I've got a couple of batteries for my cell so they can be swapped out when I've forgot to charge one. One thing is for sure-it will be a departure from today's conventional phones.

  1. zac4mac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Ya what Chad said..

    Bingo on both counts.

    A good deal of the patent refers to a seamless, possibly extruded case made of aluminum or ceramic, such as zirconia or alumina.

    Please MacNN, when you post a link to another article or product, LINK TO IT not electronista.

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