Apple has patented a method for building devices with all-glass outer casings (via AppleInsider), by fusing pieces together for a completely seamless final look. The all-glass device casings could be used to hold the internals of an iOS device or to house a TV or monitor, too.
The all-glass structures are designed for maximum durability but also weight savings, with designs that fuse pieces together to avoid having to use a single heavy block of material, and internal structures like fused-on ribs and reinforcement points, also made of glass, placed at key points where structural integrity could be weaker.
Unlike the iPhone 4, which featured front and back glass panels, the patent would allow Apple to build completely glass-encased gadgets, which would allow for a completely different aesthetic versus other gadget-maker’s designs. An all-glass Retina Cinema Display would certainly stand out from the crowd in terms of monitors, and an all-glass iPhone would definitely draw even more headlines than usual.
Of course, glass is still subject to impact damage and other potential pitfalls. And as with many of its other patents, Apple may simply have experimented with the tech but then moved on to something else (like sapphire glass construction, for instance), but the patent does cite Apple SVP Jony Ive as one of its main inventors. Flat glass slabs are a staple of sci-fi TV and movies, after all, so maybe Apple wants to help usher that future into production.
Image from this all-glass iPhone 6 concept video