updated 11:45 am EDT, Tue March 30, 2010
Tech essential to look, damage resistance
Apple has won one of its USPTO patent claims for the iPhone, specifically covering the device's iconic steel bezel. While appearing superficial, Apple claims that the bezel is actually essential to impact resistance, and innovative in part because it merges utility with aesthetics. The part is flush with an iPhone's housing, inserted into a brace and held with a spring. It is also manufactured with cold worked steel, said to better accommodate design limits while reducing the need for machining.
The patent is credited to Stephen P. Zadesky, Philip M. Hobson and Tang Yew Tan. It remains to be seen if the current bezel design will carry over to the fourth-generation iPhone, as reports have emerged of several physical differences. Should the device be taller, for instance, its bezel would have to be stretched out and reinforced.