If you’re the kind of person who looks at smartphone concept designs for fun you’ve probably seen at least one video depicting an all-glass iPhone. There’s little reason to believe Apple will ditch its aluminum casing for an all-glass design anytime soon, but a patent awarded to the company today makes it clear that it is at least considering mixing things up.
The patent, which was filed back in January 2012 and awarded to Apple today, describes what the company calls “Fused glass device housings.” Essentially, it details a technique for creating all-glass shells for future devices including a media player, smartphone or tablet. The seamless design would feature rounded edges, and could be made from either clear glass or an opaque colored glass to hide the internal components underneath.
Apple has included a huge batch of sketches with the patent. There’s one that looks a lot like the curved iPad Nano, while others looks more like futuristic smartphones and tablets. Of course, Cupertino has thousands of unused patents under its belt, and there’s no guarantee this design will ever become a reality. Then again, with Apple design chief Jony Ive listed as one of the patent’s inventors an all-glass iPhone may not be too far out of reach.