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.