Apple introduced a breakthrough unibody design for their latest MacBook line-up last fall and proudly produced a video wherein we see Jonathan Ives, Senior Design VP, Dan Riccio, Product Design VP and Bob Mansfield, Senior Mac Hardware VP review the revolutionary manufacturing process and hear their thinking behind it all. The unibody is a seamless enclosure carved from a single piece of aluminum. That’s exactly what Apple describes in one of their latest patent applications revealed today. And while the MacBook is one of the products covered by this patent, it is in fact the iPod that is the design in focus. The thin sharp design, shown below, appears to reflect a future iteration of the iPod Classic – being that it still retains the classic iPod click-wheel. Apple’s patent states that “the sheet metal may be formed in such a way that the final part looks like it was machined down from a large thick slab of material. By utilizing sheet metal, the overall cost of the part can be reduced.” While the new process will apply to a plethora of future devices on the drawing board, Apple’s mention of a television is perhaps the one that we all secretly long for. That’s for another day. For now, it’s the unibody iPod Classic with a very cool aluminized makeover that Apple is focusing on.
Some of the Devices Covered by this Patent
According to Apple’s patent, the term “electronic device” can include, but is not limited to, music players, video players, still image players, game players, other media players, music recorders, video recorders, cameras, other media recorders, radios, medical equipment, domestic appliances, transportation vehicle instruments, calculators, cellular telephones, other wireless communication devices, personal digital assistants, programmable remote controls, pagers, laptop computers, desktop computers, printers, and combinations thereof. In some cases, the electronic device may perform a single function (e.g., a device dedicated to playing music) and, in other cases, the electronic device may perform multiple functions (e.g., a device that plays music, displays video, stores pictures, and receives and transmits telephone calls).
Moreover, in some cases, the electronic device may be any portable, mobile, hand-held, or miniature electronic device having at least one housing component constructed in accordance with the invention so as to allow a user to use the device wherever the user travels. A miniature electronic device may have a form factor that is smaller than that of hand-held electronic devices, such as an iPod. An illustrative miniature electronic device can be integrated into various objects that include, but are not limited to, watches, rings, necklaces, belts, accessories for belts, headsets, accessories for shoes, virtual reality devices, other wearable electronics, accessories for sporting equipment, accessories for fitness equipment, key chains, and combinations thereof. Alternatively, an electronic device that includes at least one housing component of the invention may not be portable at all, but may instead be generally stationary, such as a television or an iMac.
NOTICE: MacNN presents only a brief summary of patents with associated graphic(s) for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application and/or grant is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent applications and/or grants should be read in its entirety for further details.
Jack Purcher, MacNN Senior Patent Editor.
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