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Unibody concept migrating into iPods?

updated 03:15 pm EDT, Thu April 9, 2009

Unibody iPods in works?

Apple may be exploring the concept of a unibody iPod, a freshly-exposed patent application implies. Apple began incorporating unibody designs into its products in October of last year, with the introduction of new MacBooks and MacBook Pros. The production technology is said to make hardware lighter, thinner and sturdier, as a result of using tougher material and fewer parts.

While Apple's unibody designs have so far been limited to computers, the proposed patent covers not only MacBook construction but a plan for iPods. Depicted in drawings is an iPod classic, little changed visually but built in such a way that "the final part looks like it was machined down from a large thick slab of material," according to Apple. Current Classics use separate aluminum and stainless steel layers.

The suggested design would in fact rely on sheet metal for its casing, which Apple notes would have the advantage of reducing cost. The process could in theory be applied to other Apple handhelds, but these are not disclosed in the patent filing.

by MacNN Staff



  1. malax

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I read this article and the one linked from here, and I have no idea what the patent application was for. Surely you can't patent "making an electronic device out of one piece of metal."

  1. jeebus

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "Apple began incorporating unibody designs into its products in October of last year, with the introduction of new MacBooks and MacBook Pros."

    Actually they began incorporating unibody designs into their products in January of last year, with the Macbook Air. Steve said so himself during the keynote.

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This is hard for me to

    believe that iPods would end up being constructed like their unibody laptops. A tablet, maybe, but an iPod seems to be just too small to spend the extra effort of machining from an aluminum block. Even an iPod Touch wouldn't seem to benefit from extra stiffening. I'm not much up on watches, but are some of the more expensive ones machined out of solid blocks of metal?

    So, unless the process of machining can somehow eliminate the need for presses and assembly-line labor and thereby lower overall cost it really doesn't make sense to me. Are unibody laptops less expensive than previous models? Of course, that has nothing to do with what it costs Apple to build them.

    I look at my old 30 GB iPod Video player and I don't think they could be made any better than that.

  1. Schnuffelhase

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What is that here?

    Making new News out of old ones? The iPod Nano already is an Unibody. So what want ipodnn tell us next? There will come Macs with Intel Processors? Oh yes really can't wait that they'll come.. oh wait there are already here... uhm Okay maby will Apple one day produce an Cellphone not really realistic but maybe someday.

  1. Avon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    monopolistic patents

    How you can one even think of patenting a CNC machined electronic enclosure? This is certainly not new. Making an electronic devices smaller by using precision CNC machined components rather than stampings or moldings is as old as the CNC machine itself.

    This patent is designed to stifle technological progress via unscrupulous lawsuits.

    I am a longtime Apple user (1987) and customer (1992) that is now both disappointed and disgusted at these worthless patents.

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